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The Soul of a Leader: Finding Your Path to Fulfillment and Success

Author(s): Margaret Benefiel

ISBN13: 9780824524807

ISBN10: 0824524802


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  • Demonstrating the principle that soulfulness at work is a way of being and doing, this guide provides new perspectives on the qualities of leadership. Three main sections elaborate on the themes of choosing the path, staying on track, and persevering to the end. Drawing from interviews with outstanding leaders - including Tom and Kate Chappell, the founders of Toms of Maine; Bob Glassman, co-chairman of Wainwright Bank & Trust; Desmond Tutu; and, The Edge of rock band U2 - and supported with guided questions in each section, this book is an essential addition to the bookshelf of anyone who wants to lead with soul. In an environment where leaders are rewarded for their drive, decisiveness, productivity, and long work hours, the spiritual well-being of a leader may get short shrift, and harm can come to both the leader and the organisation this individual serves. Challenging the assumptions that effective leaders must sell their souls, cut corners, cook the books, and let go of their vision, a new model of spiritual leadership is offered. Teachers, parents, committee chair leaders, and other individuals in organisations of any size are exhorted to aim higher and lead with soul in any sphere, large or small.
  • Margaret Benefiel

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    According to Benefiel, theology teacher and CEO of, the Western ideal of leadership demands that modern leaders adopt a Lone Ranger mentality; emphasizes the bottom line; and rewards drive, decisiveness, productivity and long work hours - while paying scant attention to inner and spiritual development. Benefiel outlines her principles of soul formation for leaders through true-life stories, such as those of Tom and Kate Chappell of Toms of Maine, and the U2 guitarist The Edge, who worked with musicians in post-Katrina New Orleans. Benefiel also writes about lesser-known leaders who have concentrated in the development of their moral grounding as well as their account books. Speaking both to individual and organizational spiritual transformation, she highlights the importance of following ones heart and daring to dream through a program of practicing gratitude, perseverance and seeking out spiritual guidance. The authors inspiring message and endorsement from Desmond Tutu will likely earn her book a receptive audience, but the repetitive, sometimes saccharine execution may deter all but the choir to whom she is already preaching.

    - Publishers Weekly

    "Todays global community desperately needs leaders with soul. Margaret Benefiels groundbreaking book meets that need beautifully, by teaching principles of soulful leadership, illustrated with stories of real leaders who practice them. Required reading."

    - Archbishop Desmond Tutu, winner, Nobel Peace Prize

    "Breaks the mold of leadership books. Benefiel helps me to dare to dream, battle for my soul, and break through the barriers that keep me from succeeding."

    - David Batstone, professor and author, Saving the Corporate Soul and Not For Sale

    "The authors deep organizational and spiritual background provides a realistic yet visionary ground for attending the inner life of leaders and the workers of their organizations."

    - The Reverend Dr. Tilden Edwards, founder and senior fellow, Shalem Institute for Spiritual Formation

    "Stories are woven together to provide inspiring lessons for all of us who seek to build depth and spirit at work."

    - Lee Bolman, author, Leading With Soul

    "Margaret gives you real-life examples and practical steps to take in your own setting and create the kind of organization you envision!"

    - Charlotte Roberts, co-author, the million-selling The Fifth Discipline Fieldbook


The Soul of a Leader: Finding Your Path to Fulfillment and Success