The Undefended Leader may be seen as a philosophical book that uses metaphor, case studies and religion, especially Christianity, to discuss the importance of a morally healthy leadership. The trilogy begins by examining how leaders defend themselves (try to ‘protect’ their weaknesses) through hypocrisy, abuse of power and control. It then identifies various dimensions of ego, such as over-confidence, driven-ness, anxiety and suspicion, as the roots of how leaders defend themselves. Finally, Walker suggests that the secret to undefended (transparent and truly effective) leadership is in being free: to fail, give, play, grow in moral authority.
Walker’s chief argument is that the “leaders who leave the finest legacies in history”are those who engage in sacrifice. Indeed, as the case studies that Walker promotes suggest, it is imperative for leaders to sacrifice their reputation, appearance of strength, comforts, rights and privileges.
Drawing from several case studies, Walker supports his proposition by the examples of the Lord Jesus, Gandhi, Mother Teresa and other respected leaders. This is important to me because Africa is desperately in need of the type of leaders Walker describes. Yet very few seem to even attempt undefended leadership. Nelson Mandela is one of those. He sacrificed the opportunity to be in exile like many of his fellow South African freedom fighters, choosing rather to remain at home. This cost him 27 long years as a political prisoner in the notorious Robben Island during the dark years of Apartheid. By giving up his freedom, family life, and whatever other short-term privileges he had, Mandela rose to become a globally respected leader and Nobel prize winner. Today, I live about two hours away from Mandela’s ancestral home, Qunu; and there’s no time I pass by that I am not awed by Mandela’s great example of undefended leadership. Agreeing with the need for sacrifice in leadership, John Maxwell observes that a leader must “give up to go up”. Similarly, Jim Collins suggests that a “level-5 leader [not simply an effective manager or capable individual] displays a paradoxical blend of personal humility and professional will.”
In the year 2000, I had a moment of reflection on the fall from grace of my native country, Nigeria. About only three decades earlier, the Nigerian economy was doing so well that our local currency was stronger than the US dollar. Unfortunately, we were overtaken by leadership (at all levels) that were more concerned with self-gratification than by sacrifice. Needless to say, our moral degeneration resulted in a sharp decline in the economy and quality of life. We yearn for change, and Walker provides a very appropriate answer.
Arguably, nobody demonstrates or describes this concept of sacrifice and undefended leadership better than the Lord Jesus. In John 12:24, speaking metaphorically, He declares that “unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it abides alone.” In other words, for the abundant life or shalom that the scriptures promise to thrive, our egos, pretenses and false appearances must be sacrificed on the altar of truth. As Jim Collins points out, every leader who wishes to journey from good to great must confront the brutal facts about their current reality. It is my prayer that, like the examples Walker provides in this book, I too will grow in the journey of discarding any frontstage practices I might have and embrace an undefended leadership.
 Walker, Simon P. Leading out of Who You Are: Discovering the Secret of Undefended Leadership. (Carlisle: Piquant, 2007), p.203.
 Maxwell, John C. The Maxwell Leadership Bible. (Thomas Nelson: Nashville, 2007), p1337.
 Collins, Jim. Good to Great and the Social Sectors. (Random House: London, 2006), p34.
 Collins, Jim. Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don’t. (Harper Collins: New York, 2001), p88.