Leadership for the next generation

William J. Byron SJ, Next-Generation Leadership: A Toolkit for those in their Teens, Twenties, and Thirties, who want to be Successful Leaders, University of Scranton Press.

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We all assume that we know what a leader is and what leadership entails. The Bible offers foundational stories of Moses, David and Solomon. But once you ask what leadership really is – position or function –  clarity vanishes.

In fact, serious studies of leadership first developed disciplinary and methodological focus only at the turn of the 20th century. (The very term “leadership” came into popular English usage only then.) Until about 1930, leadership was identified with the influence of “great men.” In the 30s and 40s social psychologists began to concentrate on how leadership emerges in groups (at first small groups, but then, puzzlingly, in large groups or organisations as well). 

In the continuing flood of leadership programs and literature, young people beginning their first jobs (or vocations) have been generally overlooked. It is just this population that William J. Byron, SJ, effectively addresses in this book. 

It is many things in one: an anthology of insightful and inspiring business stories; an annotated bibliography of the vast literature; a manual of leadership opportunities (how to run meetings, how to write an op-ed); and, throughout, a sustained reflection on how faith can influence leadership.

Byron, former president of the University of Scranton and The Catholic University of America, has also taught economics and social ethics at three other universities and is the author of numerous books known for their practical wisdom and cogent prose. 

Next Generation Leadership offers a typically direct understanding of leadership as “the art of inducing others to follow” or “the art of inducing change.” In the last chapters, on decision making and effecting change, Byron’s personal history and strength as a Christian ethicist come especially to the fore, as he introduces the lessons of Ignatian group discernment and emphasises the vision necessary for significant change. 

The book is written for emerging leaders. Their elders, before making a gift of it to “the next generation,” can learn from it as well—not to mention leaders of the church at every level who are called to a more dialogical, collaborative and transparent dedication to our all too often sinful but also always holy church in changing times.

- Leo J. O’Donovan 

FULL BOOK REVIEW: On the Rise (America)


William J. Byron (Wikipedia)

William J. Byron (Washington Post / On Faith)


Click here for a 20% discount on these and other books from Church Resources and John Garrett Publishing

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