Archive for January 2015

Week of January 19, 2015

What Do You Think . . . is the best book on leadership you’ve read in the last year?

There are plenty of books on leadership, and I personally take an approach of looking for what I can learn each time I read one.  However, I’m certain that there are some that have had a greater impact on you than others.  The list of books that you find valuable may change over time, as you read new books and develop in your leadership, so I’m curious:  what has been the best book you’ve read on leadership in the last year, and why did you find it so valuable?  Post your answer in the comment box.



Leadership: Theory and Practice, by Peter Northouse

Leadership - Theory & Practice, Northouse, coverWith most subjects, if you are going to grow in your knowledge, understanding, and application, you should begin with some background knowledge of its history and basic theory.  A study of leadership is no exception, and Peter Northouse’s Leadership: Theory & Practice is a good place to start.

The first chapter sets the stage with a particular definition and approach to leadership.  Northouse takes a process approach – “ Leadership is a process whereby an individual influences a group of individuals to achieve a common goal” (p. 5) – rather than a trait approach.  The implication is that leadership is something that can be observed and learned, as opposed to simply a set of inborn or innate set of traits and characteristics.  He differentiates between leadership as a position and emergent leadership, or leadership that emerges and develops throughout the process, and also differentiates between leadership and power, coercion, and management.

The next ten chapters each highlight a specific and notable theory of leadership from the last century, progressing from the earliest (Trait Theory) to the most recent (Authentic Leadership Theory).  Between these two are chapters on Skills Theory, Style Theory, Situational Theory, Contingency Theory, Path-Goal Theory, Leader-Member Exchange Theory, Transactional and Transformational Leadership Theories, and Servant Leadership Theory.  These chapters provide a brief summary and explanation of the history and main ideas, and therefore give a basic background of these predominant and influential theories of leadership.  They also provide illustrations and examples to assist in showing what they look like in practice.

The last five chapters address leadership issues and applications.  These include chapters on team leadership, personality traits and their relationship to leadership, women and leadership, culture and leadership, and leadership ethics.  These chapters describe leadership issues in relation to current organizational and social factors, explore those issues, and discuss their effect on leader behavior and development.

This book is not a single-topic leadership book, or a specific leadership “new idea” book.  It is a textbook on leadership theories, with a broad overview and perspective on leadership approaches, and their application to leadership in practice.  As such, it is a great resource to have on your bookshelf as a go-to guide to give you a basic knowledge base.  I personally have referenced it numerous times, and it has helped with my internal framework understanding of leadership as I read other leadership books.

Northouse, Pete3 (2012). Leadership: Theory and Practice (6th Edition). Sage Publications: Los Angeles, CA.

Week of January 12, 2015

Get a free digital copy of “Three Keys for Forming a Good Team”

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→ You can get a free digital copy of “Three Keys for Forming a Good Team” by signing up for email notices! On the Common Sense Leaders home page, enter your email address and first name (and I guarantee your information will not be shared with anyone else), and I will send you a free digital copy, containing three important factors to keep in mind when putting a team together.



Would yoPlease and Thank You graphicu please help spread the word?  My advertising budget pays for the cost of the free use of social media and nothing more; therefore I am relying entirely on “word of mouth” to make people aware of the contents of this blog and the availability of my recently published book.  If you find either or these resources to be helpful or valuable, would you help spread the word?



Finding Purpose cover→ My book, “Finding Purpose at the Intersection of Passion, Ability, and Opportunity” is available on Amazon (also available for Kindle). Click here to order a copy.

What is God’s purpose for you? What are you supposed to do with your life? These are difficult questions that we all wrestle with, often causing frustration, anxiety, or indecision. Using the concepts of passion, ability, and opportunity, Dr. Jeff McMaster presents a road map for identifying your individual purpose, and finding fulfillment in it. Based on principles from the Bible, these simple ideas can help you gain a better understanding of what God made you to do, and find fulfillment in it.2) You can get a free digital copy of my “Three Keys for Forming a Good Team” by signing up for email notices! On the Common Sense Leaders home page, enter your email address and first name (and I guarantee your information will not be shared with anyone else), and I will send you a free digital copy, containing three important factors to keep in mind when putting a team together.


→ I am now available for professional consulting services! E.L.M. Consulting Services can provide professional services for analyzing and assessing your Educational organization, your Leadership, and/or your Ministry; for teaching and training those within your organization through workshops and seminars; and for assisting you in creating and communicating a plan and prescription for future growth, change, and development.

My experience and expertise in these areas, combined with my ability to make connections between an organization’s past, present, and future in a way that makes sense to people, can help you to identify, understand, and implement changes that will benefit the employees, the constituents, and the organization itself. Available services include:

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Plan and Prescribe: Developing purpose by working with your leadership team to define, strategize, organize, connect, and communicate a vision and plan for growth and development


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Quotable (Rev. Jack McMaster, on the importance of reading)

There are many different things that you can learn to do well, if that is all you study; but if you can read well and you read often, you can learn to do anything well.” 

Rev. Jack C. McMaster