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Two Months Off to Think
And now I'm ready to write again . . . about what's wrong with leadership.
After a two-month break, I’m back. Part of my writing break here is because I’ve been writing elsewhere, at places like Sola Ecclesia about Elijah Craig and at Ligonier on the sin of sloth. And it doesn’t look like my writing pace will ease up any time soon.1 But another reason I’ve been quiet here is that I’ve been doing some significant reading (Ellul, Burnham, Aristotle, Plato, Livy) and thinking about the current state of leadership.
I’m finally convinced that “leadership”—a term that is incredibly difficult to define—and “leadership training” are, in many critical ways, fundamentally broken. Honestly, this has been a nagging thought I’ve had for a while, but hadn’t figured out why. Before I started writing about it, I wanted to find some answers and come to some preliminary solutions. As far as I can tell, I’m ready to start writing about it. And I look forward to doing it here so that you can help me hone my thinking through feedback (comment replies, emails, etc.). Some topics I plan on developing are:
How our technical way of thinking has led to an overdependence on tools (especially digital tools) and best-practice-based solutions.
How algorithmic ways of assessing people (think: personality tests and social science assessments) end up dehumanizing us and reducing our ability to do meaningful work.
How much of what we call leadership is really just managerial skill—which is a very, very new way (and myopic way) of defining a key need of society: mature, virtuous leaders.
How much of the current leadership renewal is centered on classical philosophy (not a bad thing) but relatively anemic when it comes to drawing from the wealth of the Christian tradition.
How our digital tools continue to shape us in ways that both increase our efficiency and decrease the quality of work and lives.2
Along this line of thinking, I’d be curious if you have any themes or ideas about leadership that you’d like me to develop. If so, drop them in the comments. And, as always, I’m grateful for you as a reader. I continue to be encouraged by the number of people who actually read what I write here (and respond).
I’m currently working on a longe-ish article on how “leadership training” has undermined the office of elder and deacon in the church.
A result of this is that I’m unplugging as much as possible from digital reading and writing. Whenever possible, I’m writing the first drafts of whatever I publish longhand first.