Review: The Self-Aware Leader by Terry Linhart

My work as a youth pastor requires me to lead. Together with my colleagues, we provide leadership for our entire congregation. More specifically, I lead teams of adult and student leaders. Together, we lead our congregation's youth ministry.

Knowing that my work requires me to lead well, I take leadership development seriously. One way that I pursue leadership development is by reading books like Terry Linhart's The Self-Aware Leader: Discovering Your Blind Spots to Reach Your Ministry Potential.

Self Aware Leader

The Self-Aware Leader addresses several key areas of leadership, including a leader's past, temptations, emotions, pressures, conflicts, and margins. Terry's writing is engaging and includes personal anecdotes, scripture, and time-tested principles designed to help leaders see and address their blind spots in order to lead more effectively. 

One thing that I appreciated about The Self-Aware Leader is that it starts with an examination of self in which Terry walks readers through exploring how they're dissatisfied, competitive, and insecure. He then offers practical solutions for how to address these blindspots, including taking an “imaginary reaction selfie” in order to monitor your reactions and better understand what causes the “deep down internal reactions that no one else sees.”

Terry's insights on Seeing Your Conflicts are also particularly profound. Here, his experience as a professor, consultant, and pastor are particularly evident. It's clear his advice comes from someone who hasn't just studied conflict in an academic setting, but has lived it and worked hard to resolve it (and helped others do the same.) Among other things, in this chapter, Terry reminds leaders of the importance of discussing issues with many voices, but leaving with one voice. In his words, “Unity is a demonstration that the issue has been truly resolved.”

The Self-Aware Leader will be my new “go-to” leadership book to put in the hands of other leaders. It's short, accessible, and relevant for both young leaders as well as veteran leaders. The discussion questions included throughout The Self-Aware Leader make it ideal for a group of leaders to discuss together or with a mentor. Whether it's read individually or in community with others, The Self-Aware Leader will help leaders become stronger leaders who are more aware of their own weaknesses and strengths as well as how to harness them for effective ministry.

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Disclosure: I received a free copy of The Self-Aware Leader in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Jen Bradbury on Youth Ministry

Jen serves as the director of youth ministry at Faith Lutheran Church in Glen Ellyn, Illinois. A veteran youth worker, Jen holds an MA in Youth Ministry Leadership from Huntington University. Jen is the author of The Jesus Gap: What Teens Actually Believe about Jesus (The Youth Cartel). Her writing has also appeared in YouthWorker Journal, Immerse, and The Christian Century. When not doing ministry, she and her husband Doug can be found hiking, backpacking, and traveling.

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