Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2014, 176 pp., $15.47
From the pen of a man who has led as a pastor, president of MBI and professor, Joseph Stowell brings his experience to this book that focuses on the character of leadership. He opens the book reflecting on a question he often is asked about the greatest challenge in leadership, to which he always responds “Me!” Filled with biblical support and practical principals, Redefining Leadership breaks down this redefinition into three parts. Part one redefines the priority of character-based over outcomes-based leadership. As one who hikes the summit of the Rockies in my home state of Colorado, I resonated with the use of Cairns as an icon for the cover as well as each chapter. The implication is that outcomes will be more stable if the foundational stone is solid character. Part two redefines the identity of the leader. Stowell says that “who we think we are drives how we lead” (p. 57). He focuses on three elements in leader identityz: shepherd, follower and humility. The last part redefines leadership. In this final section, Stowell suggests three core competencies for Character-Driven-Shepherds: reliant/repentant, meek/righteous, and merciful/pure. If you enjoy formulaic lists that help the reader gain a handle on practical implementation, this book offers three transforming dynamics of followers, five choices of Character-Driven-Shepherds, five essentials of Timothy’s commissioning, three temptations of power, and three delusions of outcome-focused-leaders. Stowell’s section on definitions of success and expectation are worth the price of the book.