The Shaping Of An Effective Leader by Gayle Beebe

Gayle Beebe correctly says there is a leadership crisis in America today. Beebe’s book is an attempt to put under the microscope WHY there is a crisis in leadership and what can be done to change this.

The book is based around 8 principles: 1. the necessity of character, 2. The importance of competence, 3. The advantage of team chemistry, 4. The interplay of culture and context, 5. The strength of compatibility and coherence, 6. The guidance of convictions, 7. The significance of maintaining our connections, 8. The opportunity to make an ultimate contribution.

Much of the book comes from Peter Drucker’s philosophy (Beebe was a student under Drucker) and there are many quotes and pointers to Drucker’s thinking. As a former banker I can see much in this book that would be helpful for those within the cut and thrust of the business world. The eight principles are, generally, useful and Beebe’s comment that character in a person is often not enough to succeed is true in business. But I read this book through the eyes of a Church leader – a pastor. And from this perspective, I did not find a lot to help me. The eight principles are interesting, but they are presented without any spiritual dimension and therefore as a Christian they alone cannot be foundational.

Also, there is almost no mention of God or of any biblical principles that I noticed (I may have missed them). This is important because the Apostle Paul – one of the greatest leaders ever says that we must never lead from or through the wisdom of the world, but through the wisdom of God (1 Cor 2) – and that the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom. Paul effectively says do not apply the world’s wisdom into leadership. The probability is that Paul’s resume in 1 Cor 2 would mean he would not be hired by any corporation or business as their leader.

Beebe quotes Plato, Aristotle and Drucker – but not Christ, Paul or the Bible.

If the book is directed only for those in the corporate / business world, Beebe has given some interesting thoughts for Executives and CEO’s. But for the Christian and the Church pastor there are better, and more useful books on leadership.

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