Rare Leadership: 4 Uncommon Habits For Increasing Trust, Joy, and Engagement in the People You Lead

Rare Leadership: 4 Uncommon Habits For Increasing Trust, Joy, and Engagement in the People You Lead

by Marcus Warner, Jim Wilder


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780802414540
Publisher: Moody Publishers
Publication date: 04/05/2016
Pages: 240
Sales rank: 439,735
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

MARCUS WARNER (M.Div., Th.M. and D.Min. Trinity Evangelical Divinity School) is the president of Deeper Walk International. He is a former pastor and college professor who has written several books on topics ranging from how to study the Bible to spiritual warfare, emotional healing, and leadership. Marcus has done training events for organizations such as Navigators, Willow Creek Prison Ministry, and Moody Church. He has traveled the world with Deeper Walk equipping people on the front lines of ministry with practical tools for dealing with root issues that keep people and ministries stuck and unable to go deeper into what God has for them.

JIM WILDER (PhD, Clinical Psychology, and M.A. Theology, Fuller Theological Seminary) has been training leaders and counselors for over 27 years on five continents. He is the author of nine books with a strong focus on maturing and relationship skills for leaders. His coauthored book Living From the Heart Jesus Gave You has sold over 100,000 copies in eleven languages. Wilder has published numerous articles and developed four sets of video and relational leadership training called THRIVE. He is currently executive director of Shepherd's House Inc., a nonprofit working at the intersection of brain science and theology, and founder of Life Model Works that is buidling contagiously healthy Christian communities through equipping existing networks with the skills to thrive. Dr. Wilder has extensive clinical counseling experience and has served as a guest lecturer at Fuller Seminary, Biola, Talbot Seminary, Point Loma University, Montreat College, Tyndale Seminary and elsewhere.

Read an Excerpt

Rare Leadership

4 Uncommon Habits for Increasing Trust, Joy, and Engagement in the People You Lead

By Marcus Warner, Jim Wilder, Elizabeth Cody Newenhuyse

Moody Publishers

Copyright © 2016 Marcus Warner and Jim Wilder
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-8024-9443-6


Leadership at the Speed of Joy

Wisdom from the Bible, discoveries from brain science

IF YOU ARE a student of leadership, you know about the importance of engagement and emotional intelligence. You have also read a wide variety of case studies that tell us what successful leaders do. What you probably don't know is that recent developments in brain science now reveal that leadership skills are learned in a different way and in a different area of the brain than management skills and academic studies. We now know how leaders can train this powerful brain system to produce full engagement in their team and develop a high level of emotional intelligence that keeps them plugged into a renewable, high-octane source of motivation.

In this book, we want to help you in two ways: 1) We want you to understand the fast-track brain mechanism that learns and distributes leadership skills, and 2) we want to help you train the leadership system in your brain using four core habits of effective leaders. These four habits will cause your emotional intelligence to soar. As we saw in the introduction, these habits can be remembered with the word RARE. They are:

Remain Relational

Act Like Yourself

Return to Joy

Endure Hardship Well

Many leaders, business people, pastors, team leaders and influences never receive any training in leadership. This contributes to mistaking management for leadership. Management is the efficient accomplishment of tasks. Leadership is producing and maintaining full engagement from our group in what matters. The RARE leaders we wish to emulate inspire us because they do this well. Now, we will show you how it is done.


Dr. Chris Shaw has over thirty years of experience training leaders and pastors across Latin America. With two devotional books to his credit, his daily devotional is read by over 6,000 website visitors a day. Dr. Shaw edits a leadership magazine for both men and women leaders with a subscription of 185,000 readers.

Chris holds his doctorate in leadership development with a thesis on A Philosophy of Education for Leadership Formation through Theological Studies at Fuller Seminary. His master's degree was in Christian formation and discipleship. He began teaching as full-time staff at the Buenos Aires Bible Institute and this position opened international doors to conferences where Dr. Shaw draws crowds of pastors.

We asked Chris for his observations on leadership. Chris immediately observed the problems caused by mistaking management skills for leadership. He says:

Leadership has become heavily influenced by managerial models, so that the term "lead" has come to mean organizational skills rather than people skills.

What Chris did not learn in his doctorate program (that we now know) is how leadership skills are learned. The brain uses a "fast-track" process for relational leadership skills and a very different "slow-track" process for management skills. The "fast track" operates at speeds above the level of conscious thought and primarily governs relational reality. The "slow track" is what we notice consciously. It monitors results and provides explanations and solutions to problems we face. (These are challenging concepts, we know. We will explain these ideas more fully at the end of this chapter. For now, understand that both learning processes are super-important.)

But the how is less important than the what — the impact on our organizations and on real people. Chris sees the impact on both pastors and churches. He says:

The Kingdom, however, is not about organizations, projects or even ministries. It's about people, and so leadership, in Kingdom terms, would refer to the development of the kind of "people skills" that would help those we have been invited to walk with to achieve their full potential in Christ. This is rare in many church leaders today. Despite the fact that the Church is all about people, I find that many pastors have woefully inadequate people skills, and are often even uncomfortable around others, unless it is within the context of a programmed meeting. Leadership, for many pastors, is exercised from a platform whilst holding onto a microphone.

Dr. Shaw began his journey by becoming an assistant pastor to a church that was actively planting congregations in the slums of Buenos Aires. In this context he began training young leaders — a practice he continues to this day. He began to notice very quickly that lectures, classes, and Bible studies were needed, but that something was missing.

Early on in my pastoral experience I discovered how easy it was to experience painful loneliness whilst being surrounded by a community of believers. The loneliness seemed to point to the fact that many of the congregations that we would describe as communities of faith were really just gatherings of people who happened to meet in the same building at regular times throughout the week. Multiple encounters with Christians who felt used (and sometimes discarded) by their leaders moved me to find another leadership model. There was no real interest in them as individuals, aside from the way they fit into or furthered the leader's personal projects. As a resident chaplain at the Bible Institute, I counseled dozens of disenchanted Christians, and it strengthened my resolve to explore alternative leadership training methods.

I was disappointed as a student (and later as a member of faculty) to notice how uninterested many professors were in the lives of their students. Some couldn't even be bothered to learn the names of their students. All their focus seemed to be on getting through their material. When I began to work as part of the faculty I wanted to be a shepherd to my students, and not just somebody who delivered lectures.

Because I speak at a lot of conferences I guess many people would evaluate my success or failure by the number of people I am able to attract to a given event. Perhaps the most frequent phrase I hear, as I travel around Latin America, is how blessed people feel by what I have shared through a presentation, or in my books. My greatest change has been the crystallizing of a concept that I have worked with for many years: "Leaders influence more through who they are than by what they do." Today I place much greater value on the informal moments at an event than the formal times, because they offer me precious opportunities to interact with people on a personal level.

What is that mysterious thing that happens when people interact at a personal level? How does it work? Who taught you leadership, and did you learn how to develop leadership under you for the teams you lead? How can we become more effective? The RARE leaders whose team we would love to join, and whose style we would like to emulate, lead by some means we cannot quite fully capture. We can see they have built a strong repertoire of positive relational habits that produce trust, joy, and engagement around them. Chris could intuitively tell by his own growth that relationship played an important part. (Actually, intuition is another brain process that runs in the fast track. We call it intuition because our mind figures things out before we are consciously aware that our brain has been figuring.)

For Chris, his leadership development began when he was invited to join a small, home-based congregation. Chris found great inspiration and encouragement to develop leadership in this relational environment. In time, they founded a leadership magazine, traveled and taught pastors, and even ran a small publishing house. I (Jim) began to travel and teach as part of their international training ministry, too. By then the team was reaching over 60,000 pastors who subscribed to their printed leadership magazine.

Then it happened. The organization was devastated by moral failures. The shakeup that followed left behind distrust, low joy, and a disintegrating ministry for Chris to lead. These are the moments when RARE leadership is required. Chris says,

The focus of my work over the next three years became stabilizing the ministry and helping staff to recover from the shock precipitated by this crisis. We began a major process of reorganizing and renewing the focus of the ministry so that it continues to be an effective tool for leadership development in a rapidly changing world.

How could this leadership failure happen? Two observations will help us at this point. First, the team had all the information, education, and experience needed. They had even heard the Life Model taught and explained multiple times by me, the author. However, all the information had been learned on the slow-track brain system we use for management and not on the fast-track system we use for leadership and guidance.

We have observed that leaders often believe that understanding an idea is sufficient to make that idea a reality in their own lives. Many times, our years of success blind us to important flaws. Hidden flaws bring us to our second observation. The common ministry leadership model Chris had learned and distributed through teaching, conferences, counseling advice, and publications gave no importance to joy levels in leaders' lives. Joy is a delight in our relationships with God and others. While faithfulness to God, Scripture, and others seemed important, the loving joy from fellowship and family became an afterthought. Dropping joy levels create risks the way dry conditions affect a forest. Many leadership failures can be traced to declining joy levels in leadership teams, marriages, and families. As joy drops, the "fire danger" reaches critical levels without being noticed. RARE leadership is powered by joy. (We'll explain how to monitor "joy levels" later in the book.)

We have found in our study of Scripture and brain science that joy, that feeling of well-being in the deepest part of our soul, is primarily relational. To the human brain, joy is always relational. Even those times of solitude as we dig in our garden or read an absorbing book are relational experiences. More about this later.

We might say that leadership travels at the speed of joy. Joy levels are important in at least three ways.

1. The fast track in the brain is motivated to learn through joy.

2. People with emotional intelligence and relational skills always create joy around them.

3. Leadership skills do not transfer from one person to another in the absence of joy.

Leadership that neglects joy rapidly becomes management instead of leadership. Most people are moved into leadership because they are effective workers. They do more or better work than others. They often do not distinguish improving work productivity from leadership. As leaders manage increasingly larger workloads and focus energy on better productivity, objectives, and results, they easily miss the decline in joy levels in their lives, families, and work teams.

A discussion of how our joy gets low will have to wait until later in this book when we examine the four RARE habits of great leaders more carefully. You can be sure that low joy involves a failed training strategy in how we learn to deal relationally with unpleasant emotions. Chris now says:

The concepts I have learned through The Life Model have provided some of the answers that I have sought for years. All of the fast-track skills that I have been Learning just make so much sense, in light of the priorities that God seems to have been stressing for my own ministry over these past decades. If the Kingdom is all about people, then learning how to stay in relationships, through thick and thin, has got to be something where we excel and that we teach well. The call to leadership for us, then, would seem to be a call to walk with a group of people, as we strive to make our relationship with God visible in the context of the challenges that each day brings our way.


As we have already seen, the thesis of this book is that there are four uncommon habits developed by high-capacity leaders that distinguish them from "common leaders" whose attention is diverted by problem-solving and driving toward results. These four habits all relate to the fast-track system in the brain.

R–REMAIN RELATIONAL. Common leaders tend to be problem focused. They are driven by fear of failing to get results and solve problems. Consequently, they value results and solutions more than relationships. This tends to leave them isolated, overwhelmed, and operating out of a motivational system in the brain that virtually guarantees their pace will not be sustainable. RARE leaders have trained themselves to operate from a completely different brain system that we'll look at in a moment. This alternative brain system and the habits that it cultivates help them keep their relationships bigger than their problems.

A–ACT LIKE YOURSELF. As a leader, when I don't know how to act like myself, people don't know what to expect from me. They never know when I'll be angry or sullen, anxious or upbeat. Thus, they learn to walk around me on eggshells as they wait to see which leader they are going to get. RARE leaders have a consistency of character anchored in a positive core identity that lets people know that whatever emotions I may face, I still know how to act like myself.

R–RETURN TO JOY. Perhaps the single biggest factor in producing sustainable motivation is the leader's ability to return to joy from a variety of negative emotions. Leaders who can experience upsetting emotions such as shame, anger, fear, and despair — yet possess tire skills to recover quickly and help their people recover as well — are rarely overwhelmed by the situations they face. Groups that learn how to face these emotions and recover collectively grow a strength that can face almost any problem.

E–ENDURE HARDSHIP WELL. In some ways, this is the goal of the whole process. Leaders who learn to suffer well are truly rare. Most of us are doing everything we can to avoid suffering. Our capacity to handle hardship can be thought of as infant, child, adult, parent, and elder-level maturity. Just as a parent can handle more hardship than their child, so an emotionally mature leader can deal with more than one who is a functional child (emotionally speaking).


There are two systems in the brain that are often oversimplified as "left brain" and "right brain." The one that is dominant on the left is the slow-track system. By using conscious thought, the slow-track system operates more slowly, but it is, of course, what we notice consciously. The slow track is optimized for management. Its primary job is to monitor results and provide explanations and solutions to the problems we face. The slow track gets most of the attention in leadership development.

But did you know that there is a system in the brain that operates faster than conscious thought? We call it the fast-track or "master" system. People have known for years that there are things happening in the brain we cannot quite catch consciously. While most people have been looking below consciousness for that activity, we are only now discovering there is activity above consciousness. This supra-conscious action does its work faster than we can "keep up" consciously. Its primary job is relational reality. Who am I in my world must be clear before I can think about other things. The fast-track system controls how we regulate our emotions, how we remember who we are, who our people are, and how it is like us to act (that is, acting like the self God gave us). In other words, it is our identity center. It controls functions related to:

• Identity

• Motivation

• Emotional control

• Ability to focus

• Relational skills

• Care for others

• Conscience

• Values


Excerpted from Rare Leadership by Marcus Warner, Jim Wilder, Elizabeth Cody Newenhuyse. Copyright © 2016 Marcus Warner and Jim Wilder. Excerpted by permission of Moody Publishers.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents


1) Leadership at the Speed of Joy

Section 1: Understanding Fast-Track Leadership

2) The Difference Between Good and Bad Leaders

3) The Elevator in Your Brain

4) When the Fast Track Needs Fixing

5) Don’t Take Your Eye Off the Fast Track

Section 2: Building RARE Leadership

6) Where You Start: Imitation, Identity, Immanuel

7) Remain Relational

8) Act Like Yourself

9) Return to Joy

10) Endure Hardship Well

11) Where Do You Go from Here?

A Day in the Life of a RARE Leader
About Life Model Works
About the Authors

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Rare Leadership: 4 Uncommon Habits For Increasing Trust, Joy, and Engagement in the People You Lead 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Since I am now in a position of leadership in my career, I requested Rare Leadership by Marcus Warner and Jim Wilder in order to learn more about leadership. The premise of Rare Leadership is the importance of learning to train and utilize the fast-track of the brain – essentially the part of the brain that works faster than conscious thought. The first part of the book is devoted to this discussion. Unfortunately, this part of the book felt long and difficult to understand. However, readers with similar opinions have the option of beginning in the second part, in lieu of reading the whole book. (Even the authors propose this option.) The second part of Rare Leadership focuses on how to put into practice the components of R.A.R.E – remain relational, act like yourself, return to joy, and endure hardship well. These chapters were much more beneficial for me, although I also wish the authors would have included more specific examples. At times, it felt like the advice was a small taste of what could be obtained through other extensive trainings. The authors included many stories to give real-life examples, but a lot of the subjects attended these referenced trainings. Overall, I think readers can garner helpful guidance from Rare Leadership. The book did not hold everything I anticipated or hoped for, but it certainly wasn’t a waste of time either. I would recommend Rare Leadership to someone who is interested in learning more about leadership, but also is fascinated by brain physiology and rather abstract thinking. Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in order to write an honest, unbiased review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.
R6Mick More than 1 year ago
I received this book from Moody Publishers, in exchange for my honest and unbiased review. This is a book that I read with a pencil in hand for marking and taking notes. Marcus Warner and Jim Wilder co wrote this book and both give excellent advice and insight on how our brain/emotions work and how how to be the best leader we can be. It is written for a Christian audience, congregational leaders or councilors, but the principles can be used in any aspect of life. One thing that really struck me about this book was the emphasize on our emotional side of leadership and use it along with the educated smarts. The First section of the book deals more with describing the 4 Habits of Rare Leadership and the brain science used in RARE leadership: 1 Remain Rational 2 Act Like Yourself 3 Return with Joy 4 Endure Hardships Well The second section breaks these Four Habits down and describes what these habits look, and feel like. Each chapter is filled with real life experience from the authors and people they have worked with through the years. At the end of each chapter, there are discussion questions and exercises that us as readers need to answer and work on. Basically putting into practice in our life what we have just read. I love this book, and even though I have a long way to go it has helped me in my leadership skills in my family and other groups I am part of. Even though the Marcus Warner and Jim Wilder have PhDs and are very educated, they write so the common man/woman, like myself can understand and act on their expertise. Side note: Try to read this when you don't have a bunch of screaming and yelling kids around you. It isn't a hard read but it isn't exactly a breeze through book either, you really do need a quite place to take it all in.