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Leading with a Limp: Turning Your Struggles into Strengths Hardcover – May 16, 2006

4.5 out of 5 stars 63 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


Praise for Leading with a Limp

“There are good books on leadership, but this one is profound. It is better than a ‘how to do it’ book; this is a ‘how to be it’ book for leaders. Dan Allender offers serious wisdom rather than simple platitudes.”
–Mark Sanborn, speaker, leadership consultant, and best-selling author of The Fred Factor

“Not only is Dan Allender a good friend, he is a great leader. In Leading with a Limp, he has shown us how we can effectively lead those allotted to our charge. Read this book...it will bring a lot of things into perspective for you.”
–Dennis Rainey, president of FamilyLife and coauthor of Moments Together for Couples

“After reading this book, the first two words out of my mouth were ‘At last!’ Amid a deluge of spiritual gifts inventories, at last there is someone who understands how God’s strength is made perfect in our imperfections. At last someone has brought spiritual strengths and spiritual weaknesses into conversation. For Dan Allender, the limp is a limpid way of walking that leads into the very presence of God.”
–Leonard Sweet, author of The Three Hardest Words and Out of the Question…Into the Mystery

Leading with a Limp is not your basic, cafeteria-brand manual on how to ‘do’ leadership. It is a call to openly face your shortcomings as a leader. Dan Allender reminds us that our greatest asset as leaders is not our competence but the courage to name and deal with our frailties and imperfections.”
–Dr. Crawford W. Loritts, Jr., author, speaker, and senior pastor of Fellowship Bible Church in Roswell, Georgia

“Once again Dan Allender has propelled us headlong into the paradoxical wonders of the gospel of God’s grace. Leading with a Limp exposes the thin veneer of respectability we leaders try to stretch over our destructive idols of control and pragmatism. In so doing, Allender invites us to the freeing humility of leading as “the chief sinner” in whatever context God has placed us.”
–Scotty Smith, founding pastor of Christ Community Church in Franklin, Tennessee, and coauthor of Restoring Broken Things

“I often wonder if other people feel the way I do when they read books on leadership. Most of the books are heavy on motivation or strategy or positive thinking. Dan Allender looks at how anyone can move his team–and himself–forward when he is pummeled by circumstances and his heart is fainting. This is real-world stuff, but you’ll have to take off the rose-colored glasses to read it.”
–Bob Lepine, cohost of FamilyLife Today

Leading with a Limp will have a lasting impact on me; it addressed several issues I’m struggling with at this point in my life and leadership. I thank God for this honest and insightful book!”
–Brian McLaren, pastor, author of The Secret Message of Jesus and A New Kind of Christian

About the Author

Dan B. Allender, PhD, is a founder of Mars Hill Graduate School near Seattle, where he serves as president. He also is a professor of counseling, a therapist in private practice, and a popular speaker. He is the author of a number of books, including To Be Told, How Children Raise Parents, The Healing Path, and The Wounded Heart. Dan and his wife, Rebecca, are the parents of three children.


Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: WaterBrook Press; First edition (May 16, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1578569508
  • ISBN-13: 978-1578569502
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 0.8 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (63 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #276,025 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Brief Summary

Allender's purpose in writing Leading with a Limp is to awaken leaders to the simple hard truth...you're in for the battle of your life . His goal is to encourage emerging and established leaders to grow a sense of inner confidence that will enable them to overcome the difficulties and challenges of leadership. His central thesis is that as leaders expose weakness and failure, a common experience for all at one point or another, this actually becomes a wellspring of strength to lead from.

The core assumption upon which everything else in this book is built: to the degree you face and name and deal with your failures as a leader, to that same extent you will create an environment conducive to growing and retaining productive and committed colleagues

A pericope discussing God's requirements in relation to a leader's character, approach and attitude to power, pride and ambition follows to frame up a discussion regarding the need for leaders to develop a humble, self effacing, transparent and authentic reluctant leadership as an exposure of their weakness and a revelation of God's goodness .
Major Features

According to Allender, learning to lead with a limp is the consequence of appropriate, open and effectual disclosures made in the midst of six challenging realities: crisis, complexity, betrayal, loneliness, weariness and glory .

He develops a model by overlaying two lists, one the antithesis of the other, over six challenge realities in an attempt to describe a three dimensional matrix that equates to the multifaceted web of relationships and responses a leader has to negotiate . These positive effectual or negative ineffectual responses equate to possible response to each of the realities.
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Format: Hardcover
If you're a leader, you are in for the battle of your life, says Mars Hill Graduate School founder Dan Allender in LEADING WITH A LIMP. The author of numerous books, including THE INTIMATE MYSTERY and TO BE TOLD, Allender warns that leadership is costly and likely will never bring you riches, fame or praise. Rather, Allender likens leadership to a "long march through a dark valley." Is it worth the cost? The costs of leadership include crisis, complexity, betrayal, loneliness, weariness, and interestingly enough, glory --- not particularly what most of us associate with leadership. That's not all. A good leader, Allender writes, will in time disappoint everyone.

So why would anyone aspire to leadership? Allender looks at what a leader is (anyone with someone following him or her). The fact is, God calls all of us to lead, he says, no matter how humble the context. And it is in extremity or your failures that you meet not only yourself but, more importantly, the God who has written your life.

Allender builds the core assumption of his book on this: "to the degree you face and name and deal with your failures as a leader, to that same extent you will create an environment conducive to growing and retaining productive and committed colleagues." Acknowledging your screw-ups transforms your own character and earns you more respect and power, he writes. And these shortcomings must be more than just acknowledged; they must also be dismantled in front of those you lead.

But, Allender warns, most leaders are afraid to name their failures; they have too much pride to admit their faults, and they may be addicted to various substances or behaviors.

The best leaders, he says, are not necessarily those who seek leadership.
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Format: Hardcover
Dan Allender's _Leading with a Limp_makes for a frustrating review because it packs some excellent insights into a book that leaves out far too much to be helpful. Think of this as the classic that might have been.

How does one lead with a limp?

1. Communicate well
2. Acknowledge your leadership limitations (to yourself and others)
3. Be vulnerable, but do so wisely

Those three ideas comprise the majority of the book.

Many have deemed this a profound work. But as someone who has read similar books (John Powell's books from the '70s immediately spring to mind), I wasn't as taken. If you're the more logical, linear type of person, _Leading with a Limp_ might come as a revelation. But if you're already predisposed to valuing feelings over stark rationality, this book won't break any new ground. You're probably already leading with a limp, and this book may only help you acquire a slightly larger cane.

While _Limp_ has some strong spots expounding on the three core ideas mentioned above, it fails miserably in helping those who have adopted limping leadership but got tarred and feathered for it. Sadly, many in ministry practice much of what Allender advocates, but have been run out of town on a rail for doing so. Allender's examples of how to lead the way he envisions never informs readers how to pick up the pieces should such an experiment in a limping leadership style fail miserably with the led. Trust me; as someone with many years in ministry, Allender's ideas can fail spectacularly. It would have been nice to know how to get back on one's feet after being body-slammed for leading with a limp. That lack hurts this book immeasurably.

Yes, read the book. Meditate on the parts you need to improve, but keep expectations low to middling. In fact, expect an angry, confused, or hostile reaction to this leadership style rather than miracles.
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