Lead From the Inside Out: 5 Books to Transform The Leader Within You

Recently a colleague asked me what my favorite leadership books were. I have so many favorite leadership books that i couldn’t answer right away!

Today I thought I’d start with my top 5 favorites that deal with the inner world of the leader. These books will help you transform your mindset, heart and soul!

strenghtening soul of leadershipStrengthening The Soul of your Leadership: Seeking God in the Crucible of Ministry by Ruth Haley Barton

Ruth Haley Barton challenges us to “pay attention to … the inner realities and questions that they raise” and not ignore them…continuing the charade…” Let’s face it, too many leaders hide behind the role and resist being real. She will help you to become a more “soulful” leader.



leadership from inside outLeadership from the Inside Out: Becoming a Leader for Life by Kevin Cashman

I took Cashman’s book with me on a personal retreat almost ten years ago and have come back to it time and again. A corporate leadership guru, Cashman names the seven masteries you’ll need to lead from a place of strength. That strength is found within you. He provides a helpful leadership growth plan at the end of each chapter.

leaders journeyThe Leader’s Journey: Accepting the Call to Personal and Congregational Transformation by Jim Herrington, Robert Creech and Trisha L. Taylor

The authors give my absolute favorite definition of transformation: “Change in an individual, a church or a community that alters both the mental model one uses to view the world and one’s behavior in the world.” Isn’t that good? And it applies to any system you’re part of.

let your life speakLet Your Life Speak: Listening to the Voice of Vocation by Parker Palmer

Everybody quotes Parker Palmer and this book has to be the most quoted on leadership. There are so many good nuggets in this book. Here’s one of my favorites: “A leader is someone with the power to project either shadow or light onto some part of the world and onto the lives of the people who dwell there…A good leader is intensely aware of the interplay of inner shadow and light, lest the act of leadership do more harm than good.” Hey, you’ve got to be real about both light and shadows within.

emotionally healthy leadershipThe Emotionally Healthy Leader: How Transforming your Inner Life will Deeply Transform your Church, Team and the World by Peter Scazzero

Pete Scazzero and his wife Geri are leading a transformational movement. Leaders, you must pay attention to what’s going on inside. What’s more, Pete will help you explore the impact of your inner life (your shadows, your relational status, your pace, or rhythm of life) on your outer life (how you plan, make decisions, build teams, use power, negotiate endings, and start new beginnings). He provides an assessment for each chapter and very practical tools.

There you have it! These books have been transformational for me. I also use each of them as primary or secondary texts in the leadership class I teach each fall at McCormick Seminary. They will be of help to you no matter where you lead.

These five have not only helped transform the way I lead but also helped me to do the inner work necessary to help others lead.

Lead from the inside out and transform your world.

(c) 2016 Dr. Jeanne

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