At the age of 70 years old, my father-in-law Bob Rhoden published a book entitled Four Faces of a Leader. My father-in-law has spent his life in full-time ministry. The bulk of his ministry was in the local church setting. However, after pastoring a large church in the area for the better part 25 years, he took a position of leadership within our denomination. It is from that position that he “retired” in his early 60s. I put the word retired in quotes because he is far from spending lazy days on the golf course in his retirement. Instead, he has been intentional about helping leaders to develop. This role of developing leaders has varied from teaching at the collegiate level to serving as an interim pastor for several different congregations to sitting on the governing boards of our denomination.
As I read the Bill George book entitled True North, I thought of my father-in-law. In the first chapter of his book, “The Journey to Authentic Leadership,” George outlines the journey. The journey according to George is not a straight line to leadership. Instead, it is a meandering line of ups and downs representing 3 phases: Preparing for Leadership, Leading, and Giving Back. Each phase represents about 30 years of life. In his early 60s, my father-in-law entered Phase 3 of his journey to leadership: generativity: wisdom and giving back. The publication of his book marks a “giving back” of what he has learned in regard to leadership.
In his book, he outlines his life story and how it has contributed to his leadership. Rhoden contends that leaders have many roles or faces. Depending on the circumstance, a leader utilizes a different face or role. In his text, he outlines four faces of a leader: the shepherd, the servant, the steward, and the seer.
While the book Four Faces of a Leader is written from the perspective of the local church, I believe the concepts transcend. I believe that leadership qualities can be generalized into many different areas. As educational leaders, I believe we have different “faces” depending on the situations we encounter. As leaders, we must learn to “read” the situations we find ourselves in and respond with the most appropriate face.