No More Books on Leadership, Please!

Beside my desk is a total of about 10 linear feet of bookshelf real estate occupied by books on Leadership. They are squatters there actually; most of them have no idea how close they are to one giant shove into the recycle bin.

It’s not that the collection of books has not impacted my life; they have significantly. I probably owe some of the shape of who I am and what I do to their influence. It’s just that as I skim back through them now or scan through the new books I have not yet read –much of what they are saying sounds remarkably similar, like the same ideas warmed up again only slightly nuanced by the latest big name author. I get the strong feeling that most of them really should have been an article rather than a book deserving only about a foot of my precious bookshelf space.

Here is my sad religious contention: most of us who are in leadership roles don’t need any more books on leadership. We have allowed ourselves to believe that if we could just read the right book on leadership or get the book with the right answers entitled, “The Six Easy Steps to …whatever.” we would find the direction we are looking for.

The truth is, we are mining for ore on the wrong continent. The answer to how God is calling you to lead right now in your present situation is inside you. It is not in a book written by someone else, it is in the jumble of notes, wadded up papers, scribbles and post-it notes compiled by what you have experienced and what you already know, piled up inside you somewhere.

Leadership coaching is helping a leader sort through that vast pile of what you already know to find the gold and to piece together the path forward. Coaching is archeology of the soul.

I would be honored if you would read my latest book on leadership. Here it is: what you really need to know, you already know…trusting your gut and the Holy Spirit to decide what God-sized things need to happen…develop a concrete step-by-step measurable plan to help those things emerge…and find an accountability partner to walk there with you.

What I have just described is the role I am privileged to play as a coach in the lives of leaders who are organically figuring out how to lead congregations, districts and conferences.

Colleagues, we have read enough books! It’s time for courageous, hope-filled action drawn from deep within.


Author: Chris Holmes