Leading with Heart, Soul, Mind, and Strength
A review of The 4 Dimensions of Leadership by Jenni Catron
Jesus was once asked, "Of all the commandments, which is the most important?" (Mark 12:28). His answer, known as the Great Commandment, was twofold: "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength" and "Love your neighbor as yourself" (12:30, 31).
Jenni Catron uses the four dimensions of the Great Commandment to illuminate the nature of leadership and show how ordinary leaders can become extraordinary ones. "[W]hen I consider my life as a leader," she writes, "it means leading with all of who I am for the benefit of God and others. Leadership requires all of me-my heart, my soul, my mind, and my strength. To not give all of me would be to shortchange God and others of what God has given me."
She uses the four dimensions to define extraordinary leadership:
Extraordinary leadership is found in a leader who has searched to discover his or her authentic self and from that place influences others to accomplish great dreams through intentional relationships (heart), spiritual awareness (soul), wise counsel (mind), and relentless vision (strength).
Catron recognizes that most leaders operate naturally and best in one dimension more than the others. For example, relationships come more naturally to them than spirituality, counsel, or vision. What comes best to them lends authenticity to their leadership. There is a dark side to this, however. Pushed to an extreme, relationally oriented leaders ignore problems or delay taking action when they must operate out of the other three dimensions, which do not come to them naturally. (The same might be said of leaders for whom spirituality, counsel, and vision come naturally and best.)
Extraordinary leaders strive to grow in all four dimensions of leadership. Leadership, Catron reminds us, is a matter of both nature and nurture, both inherent gift and developed talent. Her book outlines how leaders can grow in each of the four dimensions and thus exercise a more holistic form of leadership.
Jenni Catron is part of the central leadership team at Menlo Park Presbyterian Church in Menlo Park, California. Given her professional expertise and the relative shortness of the book, The 4 Dimensions of Leadership is a good resource for leadership development in the local church, whether at the level of pastoral staff or lay leadership. Each chapter concludes with discussion questions, and the book includes a personal leadership assessment to help readers identify their most natural leadership dimension.