Most leadership books in business and the church are written from a male perspective. Although beneficial to all, women do not always relate to male behaviors and attitudes. In this respect, Kate Coleman’s book, 7 Deadly Sins of Women in Leadership, is a refreshing antidote.
Coleman has impeccable leadership credentials. She was the first black woman Baptist pastor in the UK and a former president of the Baptist Union of Great Britain. Drawing on her own journey and that of fellow women in leadership both in and outside a church setting, she identifies seven deadly sins, or behaviors, which can be destructive in leadership and ministry. These sins may be prevalent among women, but they are not exclusively confined to them.
She identifies three major challenges facing women in leadership: education, empowerment, and encouragement. A need exists to revisit perceptions relating to women in leadership. Reeducation is necessary to empower and equip women (and men) to become the leaders God designed them to be. Encouragement is essential to enable others to grow, develop, and achieve their God-given potential.
Within this framework, Coleman identifies the seven deadly sins, destructive behavioral patterns, and attitudes that prevent people from developing into the leader God called them to be:
- Limiting self-perceptions
- Failure to establish appropriate boundaries
- Inadequate God-inspired personal vision
- A destructive work/life rhythm
- The desire to please everyone
- Colluding and not confronting
- Neglect in family matters
The book is best read over a period of time or selectively. Each chapter begins with a short, real-life experience illustrating negative behavior. Coleman discusses various aspects of the behavior, using practical illustrations to highlight the nature of the challenges involved.
Following the discussion, the writer includes practical suggestions and exercises that the reader can reflect upon and apply as appropriate in their situation. The chapters close with Coaching Tips—five to seven searching questions or action points. The book includes a five-page bibliography and a list of online resources.
This practical book has the possibility of educating women and men to apply its principles in real-life roles.
—Reviewed by Audrey Andersson, secretary, Trans-European Division, St. Albans, Herts, United Kingdom.