Leadership Approaches – Courageous Leadership, Bill Hybels

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Part of the follow ministry resources: Christian Leadership, Empowerment, Transformational Leadership


Some books in the leadership genre are written by students and scholars of leadership. This should not discredit their work, as some coach better than they play, and coach better than the players would if they coached. But it highlights the distinction between books by observers and those by practitioners. Books by practitioners indeed glean from the best literature, but they do so through the lens of the their experience. That does not necessarily make their books better than those from the scholars, as many factors can skew a practitioner’s perspective about their craft. A few, however, have both experience and a vast knowledge of the literature on leadership. Bill Hybels was one of those.

Resources by Bill Hybels

For many years, Hybels was one of the most significant leaders in evangelicalism as he pastored Willow Creek Community Church in suburban Chicago and equipped thousands of churches in the Willow Creek Association. Hybels was a prolific author. In the latter years of his ministry, he penned a few books on leadership to reflect on his decades of experience and capture his essential philosophy. While the impact of Hybels’ ministry was rightly diminished due to his indiscretions, several of his books remain as good repositories of leadership wisdom. A few of the best volumes are listed below.

Hybels was not a leadership theorist, but as his approach relates to theory, it is Transformational. The advice in the books listed above echo the importance of one of the four key competencies of transformative leadership, that leaders stimulate their followers’ efforts to be innovative and creative by questioning assumptions, reframing problems, and approaching old situations in new ways. (see Bass, Transformational Leadership)

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Resources by Other Authors

Certainly Hybels was not the only author who wrote about the courageous spirit. Two other texts convey the same theme:

A similar idea is found in the research on Empowering Leadership as articulated by Max De Pree, Warren Bennis, Burt Nanus, James Kouzes, Barry Pozner, and others. De Pree calls this “defining reality” toward “organizational renewal.” Bennis and Nanus list among their main emphases such things as “creating social architecture,” “strong determination,” and “enrolling people in a vision.” Kouzes and Posner call this “challenging the process by confronting and changing the status quo.”

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