Doctor of Leadership in Global Perspectives: Crafting Ministry in an Interconnected World

It’s a Long Process

Written by: on November 29, 2023

In prepping for this blog post I asked Chatgpt to write a critique of Peter Northouse’s book, Leadership: Theory and Practice in the voice of the Reverend Kally Elliott. What follows is the introductory paragraph:

Greetings, dear readers, and blessings upon your journey! Today, let us embark on a reflective journey into the realms of leadership theory, guided by the pages of Peter Northouse’s insightful tome, “Leadership: Theory and Practice.” As I delve into the depths of this work, I find myself navigating the ebbs and flows of wisdom, grappling with questions that echo through the corridors of my reverent soul.

I’m not sure what Reverend Kally Elliott Chatgpt was mimicking but it was definitely not me! Obviously I have not spent enough time “training” Chatgpt in my voice and perhaps this is yet another example of how taking a shortcut does not make for the most authentic result.

Northouse’s book offers a comprehensive exploration of leadership theories and practical training, with each chapter offering another theory, it’s benefits, drawbacks, and application. As I engaged with the various theories or types of leadership, I found myself trying to find my own leadership style as well as the styles of other leaders with whom I regularly interact. As I (listened) to theories such as the Path Goal theory, I wondered if perhaps, my supervisor might do well to use this kind of leadership with me from time to time! But then I’d engage with the next chapter and think, “Oh, no, actually, I probably need some of that *that* kind of leadership in my life!” Meaning, I need someone to lead me in that way AND I need to incorporate it into my own leadership.


Shortcuts are only sometimes and usually minimally helpful

Going back to Chatgpt, what I am taking away from this particular engagement with this book – is that while shortcuts can sometimes be beneficial – in leadership they are mostly not helpful. I did not fully read Northouse’s book, instead, I listened to a professor from Azusa Pacific teach about each chapter.[1] I actually found this very helpful but also know that I did not absorb enough of the material to make much of a difference in my own leadership. It was a shortcut that was helpful because it exposed me to Northouse’s theories and caused me to want to delve more deeply into his book, but for the time being, it didn’t do much to transform how I lead.


Leadership is a process…a long process

Northouse’s definition of leadership is: “a process whereby an individual influences a group of individuals to achieve a common goal.”[2] This definition has made me think about when, how, or even, if, I have done such a thing. The reason I wonder “if” I have influenced a group to achieve a common goal is because I either tend to bore easily or get derailed by second guessing the goal. Both, the boredom and the second guessing, are due to the fact that influencing a group of individuals to a common goal is a process, and usually a LONG process. Leadership is a process. There is not a shortcut that will get a group of individuals to a common goal. It takes time, planning, prodding, AND because it is a process, it will take a combination, if not all, of the different kinds of leadership that Northouse discusses in his book. Leadership is such a process that my 85 year old church secretary (she refused to be called an administrator) would remind me “Kally, you need to bring everyone along with you.” That is now a mantra I use in my leadership…bring them along with you. It requires communication, checking in, and going slowly. It’s a long process but as I’ve learned the hard way, it also works.


Derailment and becoming a better leader

Listening to the teaching on the various styles of leadership I am most curious to delve into the psychodynamic process and how my shadow side derails my leadership. After reading Spell Bound by Daniel Lieberman and learning how our subconscious affects our behavior,[3] often for the worse, and A Failure of Nerve by Edwin Friedman, about the non-anxious leader,[4] I am beginning to realize how I’ve let my own insecurities derail me, how I have used projection to blame another for my own difficult feelings.

In his book, The Sound of Leadership, Jules Glanzer, writes, “Leadership is being that results in doing. Who you are determines how you lead. How you lead flows from who you are.”[5] Of course, there are the theories and practical applications Northouse suggests, but if leadership is something we can learn as he also suggests, and if it flows from who we are, I wonder if the process for us is in more deeply learning who we are and Whose we are. I know, I know, I say this in almost every post about leadership but as I consider the subconscious and conscious thoughts and behaviors that derail me, continuing the process of learning who I am and Whose I am seems to be THE thing that will make me the leader I believe God is calling me to be.

[1] David Dunaetz, Leadership: Theory and Practice Northouse, 2015, https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLx-uqKoW1C5n2PdLpug2kFaw_1YjWESFW

[2] Peter G. Northouse, Leadership: Theory and Practice (London: Sage Publications, 2010) 3.

[3] Lieberman, Daniel Z.. Spellbound: Modern Science, Ancient Magic, and the Hidden Potential of the Unconscious Mind, BenBella Books. Kindle Edition.

[4] Edwin Friedman, A Failure of Nerve, Leadership in the Age of the Quick Fix, Church Publishing Incorporated, 2017.

[5] Jules Glazner, The Sound of Leadership, Invite Press (2023), 101, (Scribd).

About the Author

Kally Elliott

Mom of four. Wanna-be Broadway star. PC(USA) pastor. Wife. Friend. Sometimes a hot mess. Sometimes somewhat together. Is this supposed to be a professional bio?

8 responses to “It’s a Long Process”

  1. mm Tim Clark says:


    This: “learning who I am and Whose I am seems to be THE thing that will make me the leader I believe God is calling me to be.”

    I couldn’t agree with you more. I really believe this is key to godly leadership.

    I also appreciated what your church “secretary” says. I learned long ago that if you think you are leading but nobody can keep up, you’re just out for a walk.


  2. Jennifer Vernam says:

    It certainly is a long process! I love how you also brought out the concept of shortcuts; when they are and are not productive, Something in your post made me think about how our experiences are really helping to define the who and Whose I am for us. Do you agree? If so, should we add on to Glanzer- its not just “Leadership is being that results in doing” but also that doing results in leadership?

    • Kally Elliott says:

      Oh yes! Both and. Our being results in doing but also our doing results in being (and leadership.) our experiences shape us and bring us (hopefully) into a greater awareness of who we are and Whose we are.

  3. mm Russell Chun says:

    Hi Kally,

    There is a temptation for find myself in each of the different chapters. After a while I got confused and felt like a leader with multiple personality disorder!

    But you ground me when you quote, “Leadership is being that results in doing. Who you are determines how you lead. How you lead flows from who you are.”

    Who am I? Ah I am a work in progress. And each leadership situation sees me drawing on what worked before and modifying my behavior to respond to the now. Like I said a work in progress.


  4. mm Jana Dluehosh says:

    “Who I am and Whose I am ” sounds like a great cornerstone for Leadership! This will carry you all the way to the end! As long as you don’t define yourself by what you do and stick to Whose you are!

    Lovely words Kally.

  5. Dear Reverend Kally Elliott,

    I love how you embarked on a reflective journey through Peter Northouse’s “Leadership: Theory and Practice.” Your sharing that shortcuts in leadership don’t often work and that leadership is a long process was such a helpful reminder when in the middle of this grind.

    That you highlighted the importance of bringing everyone along and addressing one’s shadow side to become a better leader was also great.

    And as you rightfully point out, ultimately, leadership flows from who we are and whose we are, emphasizing the significance of self-awareness and faith.

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