In my career in ministry and in large scale commercial construction, I have been exposed to many types of leadership styles. Some of these lessons inspired me, some of these lessons cautioned me greatly. Leadership styles and a leader will vary in times of war and peace. At times of war, leaders rely heavily on System 1 thinking from Daniel Kahneman’s book Thinking Fast and Slow. Kahneman points out that leadership can vary in system 2 thinking which I refer in times of peace. We can gather that both leadership styles are needed.
Foundation For My Post (Doctrine)
Throughout Simon Walker’s book, Leading with Nothing to Lose, he points out many different leaders who led through times of war and peace. Combined with Taleb’s book Antifragile we can learn to examine what that leader faced and how they responded to it. This is where Taleb and Francis Fukuyama Identity The Demand For Dignity And The Politics of Resentment make an important point. These three books parallel at times that different social pressures are going to bring out different responses in each leader and culture.
From the Bible
Most leadership from the Bible and pastoral leadership is focused on servant leadership (Mark 10:42-45) but the Bible also teaches that leaders have authority. This authority comes from God and it is for the benefit of the church and local community. Romans 13:1 says “Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.
Churchill is a great example that brings significant weight to Walker’s findings in Leading with Nothing to Lose. Walker sees the value of Chamberlin’s leadership in a time of peace. However because of the threat of Hitler and war, Churchill was desperately needed. We see the contrast of the leader in times of war and times of peace. Not only in Walker’s book, but also in Antifragile, and Identity. Churchill who was considered a brute, got the job done. In times of war, Churchill was a hero and the leader England needed. He was the leader God needed. However in times of peace, Churchill caused some problems to the status quo.
From Robert Friedman’s book Failure of Nerve we see the correlation between Friedman and Walker that it is critical that a leader have a sense of identity. The result of a leader or person knowing their identity reduces anxiety and making poor non anxious decisions. After all, is that not what leaders do? They make the best decision for the people in their care.
I have found I am a little more like Churchill than Chamberlin in my leadership style. Since an early child I have always been the captain of the team. A carpenter foreman at a young age. The money was never important to me, but the challenge was everything. To overcome and have victory is everything to me. How to build a 60 story building as fast as possible, or work on a resort (Suncadia) on top of a mountain with high winds and many dangers. I thrive in System 1 thinking (war) and seem to fall apart in System 2 thinking (peace). How does an aging warrior find balance in peace? I believe this can only be attained through the practice of Sabbath.
More is Needed on This Subject
How do warriors live in peace? Simon Walker points out that often when leaders such as Churchill rise to meet the crises are often rejected after the crises. My wife and I went and saw the movie Oppenheimer. In this movie, we see the worlds response to fear of Nazi Germany. At the time it looked as Hitler could take over the world. Governments, military, scientists did everything possible to meet this threat and overcome. Unfortunately, we see after World War II ended, Oppenheimer faced great rejection and ridicule even from our own government.
Walkers book has helped many leaders become more aware of leadership styles and the impact of environment on leadership. I have found that I am struggling after the Covid Pandemic and recognizing personal struggles after crises. How do different leadership styles come together in unity, rather than have people choose sides and cause division.
I believe Dr. Clarks quote in Cape Town stands to be true, “A mature leader knows where they begin and end.” It is important as leaders to know your strengths and weaknesses. Most importantly to yield to other peoples strengths in areas we are weak in. The result will be harmony, instead of division. We can become Antifragile and be a light in a dark time.
 Kahneman, Daniel, 1934- author. Thinking, Fast and Slow. New York :Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2011.
 Simon P. Walker, Leading with Nothing to Lose: Training in the Exercise of Power, Carlisle: Piquant Editions, 2007.
Identity : Contemporary Identity Politics and the Struggle for recognition. London: Profile Books, 2018.
 Edwin Friedman, A Failure of Nerve: Leadership in the Age of the Quick Fix (10th Anniversary, Revised Edition) (Church Publishing, Inc. 2017).
 Taleb, Nassim Nicholas. Antifragile. Penguin Books, 2013.