“Leadership is a process whereby an individual influences a group of individuals to achieve a common goal.” 
This simple definition of leadership is how Northouse introduces his book by the same name, yet as this book proves, effective leadership is anything but simple. Leadership by Northouse is a comprehensive exploration of the theory and practice of leadership. It covers various leadership styles and models, such as transformational, situational, and servant leadership. Northouse emphasizes the importance of understanding the context in which leadership occurs and adapting one’s leadership style to fit the situation. He also emphasizes the importance of ethical leadership and the role of leaders in creating positive organizational culture.
In the context of Christian leadership, Northouse’s principles and practices align well with the teachings of Jesus, who demonstrated servant leadership by prioritizing the needs of others and leading by example. Christian leaders are called to serve others and to be ethical in their leadership practices, treating others with respect, compassion, and justice. Northouse’s focus on creating a positive organizational culture aligns with the Christian concept of community, where the needs of the group are prioritized over individual desires.
Additionally, Northouse’s emphasis on situational leadership aligns with the Christian concept of discernment, where leaders are called to discern the needs of their followers and adapt their leadership style to meet those needs. This requires a deep understanding of the context in which leadership occurs and a willingness to be flexible in one’s approach to leadership.
A Personal Take
While this book is filled with practical information, I found that it reads more as a text book than anything else. I appreciated the thorough summary of how leadership has developed as a discipline over the past 60 years and the questions/resources included at the end of each chapter. I absolutely believe that anyone with a leadership role should have this book on their bookshelf, but I suspect I will reach for it in more academic situations than day-to-day leadership practice.
Impact of Leadership on “Quiet Quitting”
Interestingly, as I was skimming the online news headlines this morning (knowing I was going to write this blog later in the day), I saw an article at the top of my list emphasizing why effective leadership is so important in today’s world. The article was on CNN.com and titled, “Low employee engagement? Managers can help turn it around with this one habit” by Jeanne Sahadi. The author focuses on a common problem in today’s culture—poor employee engagement. Since COVID, a phenomenon called “quiet quitting” has emerged, especially among the younger generation. Gallup found that quiet quitters make up at least 50% of the U.S. workforce—probably more. In their study, Gallup defined quiet quitting as “ being “not engaged” at work — people who do the minimum required and are psychologically detached from their job.”  The idea that this describes more than half of the U.S. workforce is alarming.
Not surprisingly, much of the cause of quiet quitting is attributed to the quality of leadership that workers experience. In today’s news article, the author attributes this lack of leadership to lack of effective training, estimating that 99% of employers do not train their leaders adequately. And the training that is deemed most important to warding off quiet quitting is not rocket science. It’s the simple practice of listening and caring. A 15-30 minute conversation with each direct report, one time each week has been found to be the most effective way to make someone feel connected and needed in an organization. Unsurprisingly, the more connected and integral to the mission an employee feels, the more engaged and responsive they will be in their role.
This importance of awareness, relational focus, and motivation is a critical component of Northouse’s book on Leadership and also sounds a lot like the way Jesus treated people. By emphasizing the importance of servant leadership, ethical leadership, and creating positive organizational culture, Northouse’s principles align with the teachings of Jesus and provide a framework for Christian leaders to follow. The old adage that there is nothing new under the sun appears to apply to leadership, too. A bit of listening and love go a long way.
 Peter Guy Northouse, “Leadership: Theory and Practice” (Los Angeles: SAGE, 2022), 6.
 Jeanne Sahadi, “Low Employee Engagement? Managers Can Help Turn It around with This One Habit | CNN Business,” CNN, April 24, 2023, https://www.cnn.com/2023/04/24/success/managers-employee-engagement-trust/index.html.
 Gallup Inc, “Is Quiet Quitting Real?,” Gallup.com, September 6, 2022, https://www.gallup.com/workplace/398306/quiet-quitting-real.aspx.
 Gallup Inc.