Leading Out of Who You Are by Simon P. Walker is a must-read for leaders. As a clergyman himself, Walker’s advice is noticeably grounded in his faith, however, his insights are powerful and valuable for anyone in a leadership role. Dr. Walker brilliantly identifies characteristics of leadership from a variety of perspectives and personality types that unlocked a new state of “leadership-consciousness” for me. Leading Out of Who You Are paints a picture of the ideal leader through enlightening and inspiring examples. He expands his argument through references and case studies, but more importantly, his words offer hope for change to the reader with a desire to improve. Overall, this book contains enormous value and wisdom that can immediately be put into practice.
Self-reflection is inevitable while reading leadership expositions of any kind. This was naturally the case in my journey through Walker’s book, and the timing was impeccable. I was dialed into my preparation for an important workshop I was hosting this past Thursday night. Walker’s book provided motivation and confidence for me as I led a group of leaders in a scholarly discussion. In the weeks leading up to this important event, I was excited and anxious. The workshop theme and ministry model I was presenting includes leadership principles, alternative perspectives, and a deep biblical philosophy that I believe many Christians miss in their walk of faith. I knew that my presentation must be engaging and delivered with confidence to receive beneficial feedback and “buy-in” from my stakeholders.
Walker’s explanation of “undefendedness” was a release for me and eliminated any fear looming in my psyche. He reminded me of the trust required to lead others to the unknown. How to model leadership through action, guidance, and influence. And how sacrifice is common when leading by example. I particularly enjoyed the recurring theme of the book, “leadership is about who you are, not what you know or what skills you have.” I have used a variation of this line in staff meetings for years, prior to reading this book. I can teach anyone how to use a computer or show them where the broom goes in the closet, but I can not make you a good person, a good communicator, or an inspiration to others unless you already have that in you. This book reiterated this fact I strongly believe in. The apostle Paul provides his take on the leadership philosophy in Titus 1:7-9, “for an overseer, as God’s steward, must be above reproach. He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain, but hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined.” 
I invited leaders from the community and spiritual leaders from local congregations to my event and intentionally set the stage for a huge success or massive letdown. I tend to overprepare in these situations which can occasionally negatively impact my goal or the audience’s takeaways. I truly believe the Holy Spirit reminded me of this while leading the opening prayer. My call to Jesus helped me set the tone for the entire evening. I invited the Spirit to join us and open the eyes of our hearts. I also recall declaring His glory and power to move mightily through the workshop activities. I know it was confirmed in Jesus’ name, and that is where my story would end if I had not recapped the evening with my wife and mother after the event was complete. I did not finish that prayer in the same mental state as I started. I was speaking in the Spirit and can hardly remember the details, although I know it could not have flowed any better. God answered that prayer for me and was present in that room and in the hearts of those who attended. I never looked at a note and spoke for hours like I never had before. As Walker would define it, my “front stage” leadership and “personality power” was engaged and the “emotional state of the audience” was palpable. I realized after the fact that I omitted approximately 40% of my slide deck. I feel very blessed to have been led to stay focused on the people and their feedback. I accomplished more than I anticipated with less of my agenda. “Leadership is not about titles, positions, or flowcharts. It is about one life influencing another.” 
The endorphins from the event have not ceased despite the never-ending tasks that continue to haunt my daily schedule. Walker’s words inspired me to lead my stakeholders to the unknown with assurance. The experience was a success, but the art and style of the execution moved my soul.
 The Holy Bible, ESV. Titus 1:7-9
 Walker, Simon P. Leading out of Who You Are : Discovering the Secret of Undefended Leadership. Carlisle: Piquant, 2007.
 Maxwell, John C. The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership. 1998. Reprint, Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2007.