1st Edition

The Essence of Leadership Maintaining Emotional Independence in Situations Requiring Change

By Derek W. Anderson, Jaco J. Hamman Copyright 2024
    320 Pages 16 B/W Illustrations
    by Productivity Press

    320 Pages 16 B/W Illustrations
    by Productivity Press

    The world is experiencing a leadership crisis. The Essence of Leadership addresses this concern by empowering self-differentiated leadership. The authors draw on family systems thinking, foundational to family therapy, psychodynamic theory, a recognized lens on human nature, and proven process management tools. The core message explored over seven chapters is that a leader’s management of their own anxiety and the anxiety in a system has direct implications for their effectiveness in bringing change. The authors believe that leadership is mastering emotional and relational processes seeking to bring change according to clearly defined goals and ethical principles. As such, leadership is poorly defined as a cognitive-rational, economic, charismatic, democratic, data-based, or expert-driven “How to…” skill. Rather, anxiety’s flow and management greatly determine the likelihood of systemic transformation. After reading this book, leaders will be empowered with a growing understanding of the role anxiety plays in systemic change even as they are equipped to lead with less anxiety. Though the theory and practices in the book are applicable to all leaders, the authors illustrate many of them through numerous case studies from their extensive experience empowering leaders in both the healthcare and nonprofit sectors. Callouts throughout the book, along with questions for reflection invites the reader into deeper contemplation.

    Part 1: Leaders and systems

    Chapter One                Being a self: Owning one’s emotions, actions, and potential

    Chapter Two               Engaging emotional systems: Understanding the anxiety within change


    Part II: Leading in systems

    Chapter Three             Becoming self-differentiated: Leading with less anxiety

    Chapter Four               Embracing response-ability: Resisting emotional manipulation


    Part III: Transforming systems

    Chapter Five               Driving change: Putting theory into practice

    Chapter Six                 Reckoning the cost of decisions taken: Mitigating the risks in change

    Chapter Seven             Navigating “Bermuda Triangles”: Forming relationships for success

    Conclusion                  Showing up as a whole person


    Derek W. Anderson is VP Business Improvement at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. He received his BSc degree in Computer Science from Heriot Watt University (Scotland) and an MBA through the Nashville Healthcare Council Fellows program within Vanderbilt’s Owen Business School. Anderson brings almost 40 years of international business and operations experience in from the Healthcare Industry. He was an adjunct professor at the Owen Business School teaching Healthcare Strategy. Jaco J. Hamman is Professor of Religion, Psychology, and Culture at Vanderbilt Divinity School (Nashville, TN). He received his PhD from Princeton Theological Seminary and is clinically trained as a psychotherapist and marriage and family therapist. He brings 25 years of experience working with religious professionals and non-profit leaders. He co-founded Our Place Nashville, a nonprofit providing housing and employment for persons with a developmental disability. “Friends” live alongside graduate students and persons who were housing insecure. The intentional community is 70 persons strong.