Scazzero, Peter. The Emotionally Healthy Leader. Downers Grove: IVP, 2015.
This is the third book Scazzero has written about an emotionally healthy something. His previous best sellers include The Emotionally Healthy Church and Emotionally Healthy Spirituality. Because the field of leadership is often focused on skillset and competency, a book on the emotional health of leaders offers a much needed and appropriate balance.
The author has been a pastor for decades and writes from his deep pastoral experience and practitioner heart. It is rich with case studies and engaging anecdotes. This book was written out of what the author calls his “Fourth conversion: From skimming to integrity in leadership” (Conversion 1: From agnosticism to zealous Christian, 2: From emotional blindness to emotional health, 3: From busy activity to slowed-down spirituality). Although his multi-cultural ministry context in New York City is unique, he is very transparent and vulnerable as he writes about his own leadership struggles.
The book is divided into two parts (Inner Life and Outer Life). He uses a rich metaphor to illustrate the principles of the emotionally healthy leader. When a skyscraper is built, the foundation includes “piles” that are driven deep into the ground until they engage solid rock. Without these unseen piles, the skyscraper will fall. The four “piles” of the inner life of the leader include face your shadows, lead out of your marriage or singleness, slow down for loving union and practice Sabbath delight. Building on the rock-solid foundation of an emotionally healthy leader, Scazzero uses the branches and fruit of a tree to illustrate the result of the outer life. These branches and fruit include planning and decision-making (this chapter is worth the price of the book), culture and team building, power and wise boundaries and endings/new beginnings. The book is filled with assessment instruments to allow the reader to self-evaluate emotional health, personal genogram, shadows, culture and team building, power and boundaries, decision-making, and Sabbath.
The concept and practice of “statio” (chapter 6) was especially challenging for me. Statio acknowledges the significance of transition, pause and the in-between times. The practice of statio is to center us and make us conscious of what we’re about to do—to do consciously what we might otherwise do mechanically. Statio is the virtue of presence. Statio is one small yet profound aspect of the emotionally healthy leader.