Systems-Sensitive Leadership
Empowering Diversity without Polarizing the Church

by Michael C. Armour, PhD and Don Browning
Second edition. Copyright 2000. 313 pages.
Published by College Press
ISBN: 0-89900-814-3

Special Note: The original publisher has allowed this book to go out of print. But we have retained the right to republish it and maintain it in inventory at all times.

Written against the backdrop of tension within churches, this ground-breaking study lays out principles for understanding and managing diversity in any organization.

The book explains why church conflict in recent decades has more frequently centered on styles of worship and organization than on doctrinal issues. Then the authors map a course of action by which leaders can harness this diversity creatively.

First published in 1995, the book was named runner-up as Leadership Book of the Year by Your Church magazine. The second edition is a thorough rewrite, with 60% new material. It is widely used as a text in seminaries and church leadership training programs in numerous denominations around the globe.

Systems-Sensitive Leadership was one of the first books to outline a model of human behavior developed by Dr. Clare Graves, a model derived from nearly three decades of research.

Graves' basic thesis is that the mind can only cope with the complexity of our existence if it first makes sense of that complexity. To this end the mind creates mental models that explain how the world works.

As the complexity of our existence increases, the complexity of our mental models must likewise become more complex. But when our mental models cross certain thresholds of complexity, Graves discovered, we move into an entirely new worldview.

With this change of worldviews, our outlook on life goes through wholesale transformation. We reprioritize our values. We take on a new sense of self. We adopt new learning styles, new leadership styles, new styles of spiritual expression, even new approaches to how we "do family."

In most organizations today, churches included, three or four of these worldviews compete for influence. Systems-Sensitive Leadership takes you inside each of these competing worldviews, helps you understand its inner dynamic, and offers practical guidance on bringing these worldviews into harmonious work together.

Review sample chapters from Systems-Sensitive Leadership

Learn more about Graves systems