I just read A Failure of Nerve by Edwin H. Friedman. This is one of the best books I’ve ever read on leadership. It’s a slow read, but worth it.
The author was a Jewish counselor who wrote extensively on a counseling philosophy called Bowen Family Systems. The more I read about this way of looking at church leadership through ’systems’ eyes, the more I wish I had understood these principles 25 years ago. It would have saved me a lot of angst.
Friedman lists these 8 principles that leaders should practice when facing a crisis. I’ve paraphrased them here.
- Don’t let the crisis become the axis around which your world revolves.
- Develop a support system outside of your church such as counselors or other pastors.
- Stay focused on long-term goals.
- Practice spiritual disciplines.
- Listen to your body.
- Work out the balance between being responsible for yourself and being seen as difficult and self-centered.
- Use humor.
- It’s time to make decisions when the same question brings no new informati0n.