On a Different Kind of Leadership

In 2015, I was faced with a challenge from my team at work: why were the resources we offered to leaders most connecting with men? Where were the women who lead? I was fairly neck-deep in conversations about ministry to women as Gather Women was being birthed, and this was a really fair question.

The reality was, I wasn’t even reading the books and resources we were offering to leaders, and I was the leader of this whole thing. Yeah. That’s a fairly significant disconnect.

So, I started to consider what I was reading, as a leader. While I do have a good number of “leadership” books on my shelf, at this stage in my journey I’m more drawn to resources that encourage and inspire the heart and soul of my leadership, rather than how to make my workweek shorter (although that wouldn’t hurt.)

For whatever reason, I thought they weren’t “leadership” enough to share with others. That, in some way, my lack of heavy leadership books (which mostly bored me) disqualified me as a leader. I was comparing my feminine leadership to that of male leaders 20 years my senior, and coming up seriously lacking. As my friend Leanne might say, I “lead like a girl” and I had to come to the realization that it was absolutely appropriate for me to do so because I AM A GIRL. Shocking, right? (I can be a bit obtuse sometimes)

On a Different Kind of Leadership Fortunately, my team challenged me on my misconceptions. My current reality means that I’m leading a team, connecting with leaders, making a home, doing school drop-offs and pick-ups, and spending more time reminding a four year-old that she needs to wash her hands after going to the potty than reading “serious” books. Right now, my heart needs care more than my mind needs information because it’s about to burst at the seams.

Seems like others are in the same place as me. I started picking books and inviting women to join me in reading them.  It’s been a challenging discipline for me, but also fun to connect with other leaders in this way. Instead of feeling like I wasn’t a legitimate leader because I actually like fiction, I found my people. Leaders like me who needed soul-nurture.

[bctt tweet=”“No woman is well-served when we transform her into a plaster saint.” – Ruth Tucker” username=”@AcornInsight”]

This month, my pick is an interesting blend of history and compelling narrative. It seems fitting to choose International Women’s Day to announce our brand-new pick. Over the next 6 weeks or so, we’ll be reading Extraordinary Women of Christian History by Ruth A. Tucker. What can I say? I like a party. This book is basically a party of matriarchs, in a religion that has often been criticized as patriarchal. And there are a lot of them in this book, from the obscure Mary of Egypt to the well-known Mother Teresa, and their stories are told with a dash of irreverence, which I love. There’s scandal and sainthood on these pages, and it’s a bit startling.

Extraordinary Women of Christian History by Ruth A. TuckerThis year, perhaps my contribution to the International Women’s Day conversation can be this: let’s stop looking at who we think we should be, as leaders, and embrace our unique makeup. In our own corners of the world, wherever we are, we are those extraordinary women for the next generation.

PS – For my friends who have wanted to read along with our Ellen’s Picks community, I’ll now be sharing our picks with you when they’re released. You can grab your own copy here and check out my recommended resources if you want to catch up on any of the previous titles!

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