DMin, Leadership and Global Perspectives: Crafting Ministry in an Interconnected World

Leadership: Authentic, Christian, and Transformational

Written by: on November 5, 2015

Leadership: Authentic, Christian, and Transformational

Handbook of Leadership Theory and Practice: A Harvard Business School Centennial Colloquium by Nitin Nohria and Rakesh Khurana, Editors.


According to the editors, Nitin Nohria and Rakesh Khurana, leadership research has been neglected for a long time by academia. This left the field wide open for popular authors or self-serving professionals to enrich themselves by making astounding claims to their readers that had no scientific validity. As a corrective to this approach, these editors have published this book with, “the primary purpose of stimulating serious scholarly research on leadership.” [1] In this endeavor they have utilized academic scholarship from a diversity of disciplines to weigh in on exploring and researching outcomes that produce high caliber leaders in this generation and the next.

It seems that the targeted audiences for this book are the academic researchers already engaged in ongoing conversations with one another about specific matters relative to the various disciplines including leadership research. Unlike some of the other books we have been reading of a theoretical nature, this book analyzes the relationship between theory and practice. In this book we are able to look at the dynamics of historical leadership research described with some of the same themes and language as previous reading material such as: borderless world, power and control, cultural perspectives, social and linguistic differences, globalization, and conceptions of self-identity.


This book is the end product of Harvard Business School’s centennial colloquium on “Leadership: Advancing an Intellectual Discipline.” It represents the compilation of the papers submitted to the colloquium by leading scholars from different disciplinary backgrounds addressing an agenda for future leadership research. The book also includes other scholarly papers in order to provide more thorough and comprehensive viewpoints.

The editors’ stated goal in producing this volume is, “to provide a variety of perspectives on different dimensions of leadership, and thereby to convey its multiple meanings, units of analysis, and complexity.” [2] This is especially demonstrated by the categories into which the sections of the book are divided that highlight the contentious nature of the research process. The chapters end with a plethora of references, mostly for academic theorists and scholars, but a few here and there might have some significance for participants in the LGP6 program.


I was impressed with Bruce Avolio’s paper in chapter 25, “Pursuing Authentic Leadership Development,” in which he brings the moral element of leadership into focus. The concept was originally introduced to him in a book by Jim Burns that discussed transformational leadership which Burns characterized as leaders who are “inspiring, morally uplifting, and focused on developing followers into leaders.” [3] Another resource Avolio came across was a book by Mary Parker Follett in which she stated, “Leadership is not defined by the exercise of power but by the capacity to increase the sense of power among those led.” [4] I agree with Avolio that these examples “constitute good leadership.”

Avolio concluded that developing a moral perspective and grounding followers morally were key elements in authentic leadership development for transformational leaders. Putting the fundamentals of his thesis into a Christian moral context, I can see how this information would be of great value to me in my leadership development in the DMINLGP program. I desire to be a Christian transformational leader to marginalized children by inculcating them with moral and ethical principles/ precepts of the Bible and to be instrumental in empowering them to becoming the next generation of authentic leaders who are Christian.

1. Nitin Nohria and Rakesh Khurana, eds., Handbook of Leadership Theory and Practice: A Harvard Business School Centennial Colloquium (Boston: Harvard Business Press, 2010), 3.

2. Ibid., 6.

3. Bruce Avolio, “Pursuing Authentic Leadership Development,” in Handbook of Leadership Theory and Practice: A Harvard Business School Centennial Colloquium. eds. Nitin Nohria and Rakesh Khurana (Boston: Harvard Business Press, 2010) 741.

4. Ibid., 741.


Nohria, Nitin, and Rakesh Khurana.eds. Handbook of Leadership Theory and Practice: A Harvard Business School Centennial Colloquium. Boston: Harvard Business Press, 2010.

About the Author

Claire Appiah

11 responses to “Leadership: Authentic, Christian, and Transformational”

  1. Pablo Morales says:

    Claire, great summary of the book! There was a lot to digest in this massive volume. I’m glad to see how chapter 25 resonated with your desire to minister to the marginalized children. Isn’t interesting how secular research points out to the same truth that we already have in the Bible? I am reminded of the emphasis on character found in the list of biblical requirements for Eldership. The moral fiber of a leader does affect the ability to lead.

    Children do imitate. So, I pray that the Lord will use you to be light to a generation that needs to see and hear godly examples to imitate. May the Lord use you as the transformational leader that you aspire to be. Thanks for a good blog!

    By the way, this Sunday is the international day of prayer for Orphans. It is called “Orphan Sunday” and it is promoted by the Christian Alliance for Orphans ( At Ethnos Bible Church we have invited a couple in the foster care system who has adopted some children, and we will also interview the head of Texas Mentor in Dallas, an organization that works with the state and foster care families. I wish you could join us!

    • Claire Appiah says:

      Thanks for your thoughtful prayer and encouraging words. I certainly wish I could be at Ethnos Bible Church this Sunday for “Orphan Sunday.” I have to maintain contact with you because I will definitely be attending Ethnos Bible Church when I am in the Dallas area.
      I am grateful for the information that you shared with our cohort on facebook about the Christian Alliance for Orphans some time ago. I visit the site periodically to keep up with the current agendas and events. I like the seriousness and commitment with which CAFO approaches the global plight of orphans and children needing protective care. Is the Texas Mentor in Dallas a government or private entity? If it is private, do you know if it has any counterparts or components in Los Angeles?

      • Pablo Morales says:

        Claire, Texas Mentor is a private entity. I know they are in different states, but I’m not sure if they are in LA. I’ll let you know as soon as I find out. CAFO does have a list of private entities and churches that are involved in caring for the orphan. You may find some Christian initiatives there. Texas Mentor is not a Christian ministry, but because they are involved in this area, we thought it would be a good thing to learn from them. We’ve done a Christmas party through them with gifts for the children for two years now. Have a blessed weekend! Pablo

  2. mm Rose Anding says:

    Thanks Claire for a great blog!
    The Pursuing Authentic Leadership Development, which helps a leader to discovered his “authentic self”. That is a profound statement of focus. Learning to understand and trust your own individual style is an essential step in moving ahead as a leader. There are too many leaders imitating someone else; therefore they can never generate the energy, the passion, and the connection that comes from drawing on your own way of understanding and interacting with the world.
    A good leader is a person of character, as see in (1st Timothy 3: 1-7 KJV) Any person who has the desire to work in the house of God, then the desire is for a job that is noble and worthy Leadership is not just about telling people what to do and showing them the way. It is also about portraying oneself as one who has got the integrity to show the people the right path

    Leadership is about principles integrity. The Key Verse: Daniel 1: 8- Daniel made a decision that he was not going to engage in actions that would defile him. God calls all leaders to have principles and integrity which will act as their guide. A leader without principles will not know when they go wrong. A leader who has no principles has no boundaries and anything goes for him. Leaders with integrity will make careful decisions and will decide that they will not follow certain paths. A principled leader will not make any compromises. Instead, he will stick to what they believe in and will not go against it. Principles are important in leadership as they parameters beyond which a leader cannot go.

    God wants a person who is firm their decisions so that they can make well- thought decisions. That is why leaders must Pursuing Authentic Leadership Development to help them become what they are called …servant-hood leader.
    Thanks Claire, I really enjoyed reading your blogs! Rose Maria

    • Claire Appiah says:

      Thanks for replying to my blog and broadening my views on the roles and responsibilities of leaders in leadership development. We can all look to Jesus Christ as the prime transformational leader and role model of all time. He was constantly instructing and equipping His apostles to be the authentic, ethical, wise and prudent leaders they needed to be in order to establish the foundation of the Church. All their life experiences with Him were on the job training sessions in leadership so that He could pass the baton on to them. They had the responsibility of carrying on the work He was no longer available to do on earth.
      I like what the contributors in chapter 21 of the text have to say about leadership. They state, “The leader’s primary task is to create a world to which people want to belong. This kind of world is one in which their individual identity is affirmed (their values and talents) and they are willing to contribute to something larger than themselves because they see themselves as part of a community with common purposes and values . . . .” (624). Food for thought for any leader.

  3. Aaron Cole says:


    Great blog! I agree completely with you about the role and great value of the morality of leadership. Who, person/leader, living today do you think embodies the following: “inspiring, morally uplifting, and focused on developing followers into leaders.” ?


    • Claire Appiah says:

      Aaron C,
      You ask the question what person living today do I think embodies the criteria of a good leader that I referenced in my blog? On the world scene there is a dearth of living leaders who fit this category. The only person who comes to mind at the moment is Rick Warren. His ministry programs advocate and partnership with organizations that encourage believers to be proactive and personally take the initiative to do whatever they can in their context to aid orphans globally. On a personal level, the characterization of a good leader that I alluded to in my blog exactly fits my pastor.

  4. mm Marc Andresen says:


    I was quite taken with the quotation: “Leadership is not defined by the exercise of power but by the capacity to increase the sense of power among those led.”

    You agree with Avolio that these examples “constitute good leadership.” Do you have an example of how someone exercised this good leadership in your life?

    • Claire Appiah says:

      You asked, “Do you have an example of how someone exercised this good leadership in your life? The answer to that question is simple – of course I do. There have been numerous instances of this good leadership exhibited throughout my lifetime by family members, teachers, close friends, employers and church leaders.

  5. mm Garfield Harvey says:

    As a person who desires to be an effective leader, I consistently as myself this one question: can I still empower others? Leaders must always ensure that we do not get to a place that our character cannot keep us. It is pointless to attempt to empower people if we believe we will not be “inspiring, morally uplifting, and focused on developing followers into leaders.” People want to feel empowered when the leave the presence of someone who call themselves a leader. I am intentional to make sure I say something inspirational and uplifting every day. I work with college interns daily so it is always critical to be a leader by example and not just words. Do you believe the great leaders are challenged even more to inspire people because a few flawed leaders or do you believe great leaders have enough influence to quiet the noise?


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