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Ironies Leaders Navigate: What the Science of Power Reveals about the Art of Leadership and the Distinct Art of Church Leadership
Schuyler Totman

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Format: Paperback, 148pp.
ISBN: 9781625645517
Publisher: Wipf & Stock Publishers
Pub. Date: September 15, 2014

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Description and Reviews
From The Publisher:

Leaders constantly rely upon power. In fact, leadership and power have so much in common that their definitions are often functionally identical. Every act of leadership is an act of power. Hence, the better we understand power, the better we understand leadership. What, then, are the consequences if, as scholars argue, different people understand power differently and often fundamentally misunderstand power?

One consequence turns out to be the emergence of a number of ironies. Another consequence is the opportunity to understand leadership settings better through a careful, redeeming, synergistic look at power. To that end, this book first presents roughly sixty studied, power-related dynamics, and then takes a closer look at how these dynamics clarify leadership settings.

Ultimately, this study seeks a better understanding of a particular leadership setting--the local church. Challenges distinct to this setting are explored in marked sections, while the book as a whole offers useful lenses through which to assess the challenges all leaders navigate.


"Focusing on issues of leadership in the church, Schuyler Totman offers us a slim first book that's thick with significance . . . Ironies Leaders Navigate analyzes the many connections between power and leadership, and not only the ironies involved, but the paradoxes and puzzles as well--in the church and in families, business, and politics, too. Don't just read it once!"
—Bruce McNab, author of Finding the Way

"Schuyler Totman bravely analyzes how power works, and all leaders lead, within relationship. Totman simplifies and elevates our awareness of power--as complicated and contextual, as constant and constantly multi-faceted. I especially appreciate his creative description of how leaders often combine vastly different kinds of power, and how different settings, including churches and 'The Church,' affect power dynamics. This book will inspire leaders with integrity."
—Joyce Hocker, co-author with William Wilmot of Interpersonal Conflict

"Power and leadership go hand-in-hand, but are leaders to be trusted with power? Critical to getting leadership right is a proper view of power. In Ironies Leaders Navigate, Schuyler Totman examines the dynamics of power. By identifying a series of ironies inherent in the exercising of leadership, he gives clarity to the issues that should inform our self-awareness and self-regulation of power. Along the way, he delves into unique challenges faced by church leaders and the church's leader, Jesus Christ."
—Michael McKinney, LeadershipNow.com, Pasadena, CA

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About the Author

An occasional leader and a constant student of leadership, Schuyler Totman is the founder of Same Door Resources, an organization that works with leaders and groups to manage conflict by understanding it before it happens. He also helps to prepare expectant fathers to become excellent dads through several hospitals around Denver, CO, where he lives with his patient wife Michelle and their two precocious children.

Table of Contents

1A Redeeming Look at Power • Chapter 1 PDF1
A First Look at...
2Many Definitions of Power9
3Myriad Forms of Power15
4Myriad Purposes of Power26
5Power as Constant and Relational31
A Longer Look at...
7Other People's Power59
9Face and Identity77
10Trust and Distrust96
11Many Forms of Authority109
12The Ironies of Coercive Power122
13The Ironies of Power Imbalance129

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