Barna, George. A Fish Out Of Water. 9 Strategies to Maximize Your God-Given Leadership Potential. Integrity, Nashville. 2002
This resource reflects the author’s many years of experience in research and interviews. His insights about leadership are impressive and well stated with a lot of practical examples. Another valuable Barna tool.
Barna identifies five dimensions of leadership. They are a calling, comprehension, character, competencies, and consequences of leadership.
“Leadership is the process of motivating, mobilizing, resourcing, and directing people to passionately and strategically pursue a vision from God that a group jointly embraces.” (7) Leadership involves continual evaluating and if necessary reformulating the understanding of effective leadership.
There are two types of leaders. Habitual leaders lead by nature. Situational leaders lead because they have to. The later is the most common kind of leadership. It exists in varying forms in all kinds of life experiences. This is a helpful insight and some very practical suggestions are made to help people who find themselves in leadership positions simply because of circumstances.
“Leadership is not a solo sport but a team sport.” (41) There are various leadership aptitudes and no one leader has them all, hence the need for team leadership. Specific strengths of leaders are “directing, strategic, team-building, and operational leaders”. (43-48) Tension and conflict are usually a part of effective team leadership. They will be positive if they are kept constructive. Teams should be used in small as well as large organizations (churches).
“God’s vision is instrumental and irreplaceable for those who wish to be and do all that God intends.” (72) Mission explains the reason for the existence of an organization. Vision has to do with direction and strategy. It is the pursuit of mission. It is important that vision be seen as a God thing. It can be corporate or personal.
Good character is basic to good leadership. Followers of leaders demand it. It is revealed by good relationships. An authentic character can be developed.
Committed followers are the result of good leadership. Leaders invest in the culture of followers and the capacity for followers to fulfill their commitments.
Creating and resolving conflict are valuable tools for a leader. They are effective in bringing about change. “Conflict is a component in a strategic problem-solving approach.” (141) Leaders need to be aware of the risks involved when opting for conflict.
“Leading without an intimate relationship with the Lord becomes toxic.” (156) Leadership is demonstrated in the act of worship, in discipleship, in evangelism, in stewardship, in care-giving, in friendship.
Life has its stages from birth to death. Organizations have similar stages and leaders must deal with the challenge of leading through these changes. To avoid the death stage specific steps must be taken, e.g. “curve jumping”. (182)