The Five Phases of Leadership

The Five Phases of Leadership was written to prepare anyone about to take on a significant leadership responsibility, and to help experienced leaders stand back and see where they are on the leadership journey, recognising where they have come from, and working out where to go next. 

The book sets out the typical lifecycle of leadership in five phases: 
•    establish trust
•    cultivate leaders
•    discern vison
•    implement plans, and 
•    transition out 
with practical examples to illustrate them, mainly from my experience of leading a church in West London, and a theological college in Pittsburgh, USA. It also draws heavily on the Bible and on the many books on leadership that have helped me over the years. Those five phases seem to be the normal pattern of leadership, and it helps any leader to have that framework in mind. Since it includes, ‘implementing plans’ the book also offers an overview of the management of people, money and time that leaders need to know.

When Pieter Kwant, Director of Langham literature, encouraged me to revise and expand the book, which I originally wrote in the USA, he asked me to reframe it for a more global audience, and with a special concern for the majority world. This has been a very enriching experience, involving conversations with Dr Finny Philip, Principal of Filadelphia Bible College, Udaipur, India, and reading literature about leadership from around the world. The hope is that this will make the book a resource suitable for wide usage, and that it will broaden our perspectives on the role of a leader. 

Since these five phases of leadership seem to apply to any leadership role, it is also hoped that the book will not only be read by Christians, but also by leaders who do not share the distinctly Christian vision that the book sets out. It would be a special joy if that means The Five Phases of Leadership helps people see the relevance of the Christian faith to their leadership role, and to seek divine guidance and assistance with the burdens and joys of leadership.

The Five Phases of Leadership is a book written by a practitioner for practitioners, and it is my hope that this book will not only be read, but put to use. The ‘taking it further’ sections are intended to enable leaders to implement lessons for their own practice. There are also indexes for easy reference. So, whether you are new to leadership or have decades of experience, it is my hope that this book will equip you to be a better leader.

 - Rev Dr Justyn Terry is Vice Principal and Academic Dean of Wycliffe Hall


Sample from the Introduction:

‘Leadership matters, and it matters a lot. Everyone is affected by leadership in countless ways, whether in their homes, workplaces, communities or nation. Leaders make things happen. They perceive where an organization is, discern a vision for a better future, and use their influence to develop plans to get there. As leadership mentor John Guest says, “Nothing moves in the right direction without leadership.” So we need lots of leaders, and we need them to lead well. When they do a good job, leaders can make life better for many people; but when they do badly, a lot of people get hurt. So it is important that we all take leadership seriously, and each try to play our part in promoting the growth of numerous strong leaders. We want leaders who use their God-given gifts for the widest possible good. We want them to grow in their leadership, learning lessons that will enable them to lead with ever greater skill and effectiveness. And we want them to be a huge blessing to those they serve, and to bring glory to God. It is in everyone’s interest to see leaders lead well.

‘My own interest in leadership goes back to an early age. I was always fascinated by leaders, whether they were my parents, teachers, pastors, or the many leaders I heard about through the media. I tried to understand them and what they did. When I first took up a leadership role as a teenager in a school Christian Union, I attempted to emulate them. I also started reading books about leadership, such as J. Oswald Sanders’s Spiritual Leadership. I was amazed to see how much good leadership involves. A wide body of knowledge, a large set of skills, and a high quality of character are all required. The reading continued as I moved into other leadership positions, and I came to see increasingly clearly how important and complex leadership is. But as I continued to read about leadership there was one book I could not find: the book that put together the whole leadership life cycle from start to finish. I wanted a sense of where to begin, what comes next, and what happens after that, right through to the finish. I wanted the overall story into which every chapter of leadership fits, if such a book had been written.

‘After six years leading a church in West London, I moved with my family to Trinity School for Ministry in Pittsburgh, USA, to teach theology to students preparing for church leadership. I had visited Trinity on study leave after ten years in ordained ministry in London and found an unusual affinity with it, so I was delighted to have the chance to teach there when a vacancy arose. One of my colleagues there taught on Christian leadership and asked me to speak to his students about what I had learned as leader of St Helen’s Church, North Kensington. It was a fascinating challenge. It made me think back over those fast-moving years and how to describe them for students in a way that would help them prepare for their own leadership roles. But it was surprisingly hard to do. On the one hand, it was a constant series of services and meetings, of emails and events, of praying and preaching, of succeeding and failing, and of slowly getting to grips with what I was supposed to be doing. It all seemed so haphazard. On the other hand, there was a sense of one season leading to another, and then to a third, and so on, until it was time to leave. There were signs of distinctive stages in that rich and exciting time. I was asked to give the lecture again the following year, which gave me the chance to refine the ideas further. They were clarified even more when I gave the lecture a year later. As I continued to get greater insight into the material, and did other teaching on leadership in various contexts, fresh light began to dawn on the subject. I started to discern five major phases of leadership during those years at St Helen’s Church. I then looked at the work of other leaders and saw the same pattern there. I discussed these phases with leaders I knew, including those who find themselves in second-chair leadership positions supporting an overall leader as I now do myself, and found they resonated there too. Perhaps this was the beginning of the book I had been wanting someone to write.’

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To purchase a copy of The Five Phases of Leadership, please visit the publisher's website here.


👇 Rev Dr Liz Hoare, Director of Spiritual Formation and Pastoral Care at Wycliffe Hall, commends The Five Phases of Leadership.