The Power of Four

Joseph M. Marshall III, The Power of Four: Leadership Lessons of Crazy Horse.

Marshall - The Power of Four
Joseph Marshall is one of the leading interpreters of Lakota culture to the wider society. I continue to be impressed with how well he writes and how well he communicates the truths of a culture that is rich in tradition, educational methods and techniques, and values that has been largely ignored by the dominant culture.

This slim volume is one of the most important books on leadership that I have read in a long time. The Lakota way of leadership is much closer to my core values and way of leading in the church than are books about political or business leadership.

The four principles are: Know Yourself, Know your Friends, Know the Enemy and Lead the Way. Of course in my line of work, I rarely encounter anyone who could accurately be labeled the enemy. I am called to lead a community that, like a band of Lakota, is a voluntary association. Unlike the Lakota in the time of Crazy Horse, we do not have an external enemy with the resources and intent of utterly destroying us. The challenge of identifying the enemy may be the most difficult part of applying the principles of this book to the contemporary church. However, even that chapter has been deeply meaningful to me as I struggle with the new shapes of leadership in a long term ministry.

This is a book to which I will return frequently in the years to come.