QUICK HIT: The Emotionally Healthy Leader is one of those books that will not be sitting on my shelf—because I’ll be constantly loaning it out to friends and colleagues and anyone else who will listen. Peter Scazzero writes out of his own failures to prevent others from going down the path he found himself on.
Emotional control and focus on the inner life is the only way to deeply transform your church, team and the world. In other words, you have to be on the right road to get others on the right road, and that’s something that Peter Scazzero has learned personally.
I love that The Emotionally Healthy Leader begins with an admittance of failure. These are not lessons that Scazzero learned in seminary now transferred on to you. They are lessons of experience, lessons from having done it wrong. Not that I’m glad Scazzero had it wrong, but glad that he’s honest and transparent enough to not just learn from his mistakes, but actually share that with the world.
After detailing his own past as an unhealthy leader and detailing the general overview of an unhealthy leader, Scazzero turns to the development of a healthy inner life. The inner life is the foundation of the outer life. Focus on others, focus on the outside, and the foundations will crumble and take everything down. Focus on the foundations and you can build up the rest.
The most interesting thing Scazzero notes here is that one can lead out of one’s marriage or one’s singleness. I feel like there’s a lot of books talking about how leaders model leadership in their marriage but, especially in ministry, singles are kind of left out. If you’re a single person (never-married, divorced, widowed, it doesn’t matter), you need this book just for Scazzero’s thoughts here.
Obviously, another key Scazzero mentions is putting one’s own relationship with God first. That’s not a huge secret or anything, but the practical advice and tone he takes is both helpful and forthright.
The outer life is no exception to this tone. He deftly covers planning, decision making, culture and team building, setting boundaries, and beginning and ending well. Of all of these, I think the last is most important, especially in church context. So many churches either cycle through pastors at a fast rate or have first-generation pastors who planted the church. In one, a proper beginning and ending may help a leader stay or pave the way for the next leader’s success. In the other, ending well and transitioning power and authority appropriately is a huge key to church success.
In all, The Emotionally Healthy Leader is one of those books that will not be sitting on my shelf—because I’ll be constantly loaning it out to friends and colleagues and anyone else who will listen.