Leading with Nothing to Lose: Training in the exercise of power

ISBN 9781903689448
176 pages.
Published 15/5/2010

£4.99 - £12.00

Paperback, Kindle, Epub

The journey to undefended leadership doesn’t stop at a personal discovery. Its practical outcome should be a new approach to the tasks of leadership. This book ventures into the territory of the pragmatic leader who has to make executive decisions, manage budgets, set targets, hire and fire, resolve conflict, improve performance, organize procedures and plan strategy. The author illustrates from history the strengths and weaknesses of eight different styles of exercising power (which he calls Foundational, Commanding, Affiliative, Serving, Pacesetting, Visionary, Consensual and Self-emptying), and explains why the ability to use not just one or two of these but all of them fluidly-and for the benefit of others, not ourselves-depends not simply on skill or training but (paradoxically) on the freedom to abandon our defences and attend to the needs of those around us. Indeed, as long as we are afraid of what we might lose, we remain unable to access the most radical and powerful of the leadership strategies: self-emptying. The Holy Grail of leadership-the ability to use each of the eight strategies as and when needed-is found only by those who, like Mahatma Gandhi or Martin Luther King, take the risk of ‘leading with nothing to lose’.

Undefended Leadership Trilogy

Dr Simon P Walker is an Associate Fellow of Bristol University Graduate School of Education. He holds a DProf by Public Works from Winchester University, which was based on his contribution to the adult education between 1997-2013. He has bachelor degrees in Biology and Theology from Oxford and an MPhil in Applied Theology from Oxford.

“As Britain’s first female Chief Constable, I strongly recommend this to anyone interested in making a real and sustainable difference.”

Pauline Clare, CBE

“This is the most important book on leadership I have ever read, because if read and understood, it will change you, to the enduring benefit of those who work for you. My only sadness is that I did not encounter it years before.”

Anthony Seldon, Wellington College, Berkshire

“Insightful and helpful. This book is a must-read for anyone aiming to fulfil their potential as a leader. Simon Walker challenges much leadership orthodoxy while providing words of wisdom for leaders who aspire to make a real difference. Drawing on psychological, emotional, behavioural and spiritual theories, as well as his own and others’ leadership experience, Simon explores some of the deeper choices leaders need to make. In particular, he highlights the power of courage to help the undefended leader achieve richer meaning out of adversity.”

Linda Holbech, The Work Foundation

“Leadership emerges as a characteristic, in some form, of most people’s live. It becomes a means towards human fulfilment in its deepest sense. Seen in these terms, the self-effacing, humble, ‘undefended’ leader gains a true inner strength. [Simon] offers his insights to a universal audience, as a liberating response to the over-stressed character of so much modern living.”

The Rt Revd Dr Peter Forster, Bishop of Chester

“The topic of leadership is big business. Judging from the number of books available on the subject, publishing in leadership must also be a big business. But, as all of us who read widely can attest, few of those books offer any new or big ideas regarding the topic. … Simon Walker’s Leading out of Who You Are, on the other hand, is one of those unique encounters with an author that can profoundly change how one thinks and behave—about leadership and as a leader. It is having that forging effect on me. I recommend the book to anyone who is serious about understanding their current and potential influence on others.” Thomas G. Addington, Ph.D.

Leading with Nothing to Lose is the second book in the undefended leader trilogy. This book is more hands-on then the first one and introduces the reader to a system of different leadership techniques and when to use them. Simon Walker introduces each technique with a story of a leader who used it a lot, which really helps in understanding what they can achieve and what sort of environment to use them in.

This book is full of useful strategies and advice on how to lead effectively and `undefended.’ It is well written and an enjoyable read, full of diagrams and analogies to illustrate his points. I would definitely recommend it to anyone going into any kind of leadership role but read `Leading out of Who You Are’ first.

Timothy Kwant


Preface ………………………………….. ix 

1 The Power of Weakness: the Overlooked Source ………1

Part I: The Ecology of Power

2 A Choice of Forces: Front Stage or Back Stage? ………9 

3 A Choice of Forces: Strong or Weak? …………….16 

4 A Choice of Forces: Expanding or Consolidating?…….23

 5 Combining Forces …………………………29

Part II: The Eight Strategies of Power in an Organization 

6 Abraham Lincoln and the Foundational Strategy (RSC) ….37 

7 Franklin D Roosevelt and the Commanding Strategy (PSC) .47 

8 Ronald Reagan and the Affiliative Strategy (PWX) ………61 

9 Jimmy Carter and the Serving Strategy (RWX) ………..71 

10 Winston Churchill and the Pacesetting Strategy (PSX)……83 

11 Martin Luther King and the Visionary Strategy (RSX)……93 

12 Nelson Mandela and the Consensual Strategy (PWC) …..105 

13 Jesus and the Self-Emptying Strategy (RWC)…………119

Part III: Undefended Power

14 Finding the Holy Grail of Leadership ……………131 

15 Leading with Nothing to Lose: the Key to Mobility ….143 

16 The Hospitality of the Undefended Leader ………..151

Appendix:  Troubleshooting Problems in Leadership and 

Other FAQs ……………………….157

Select Bibliography ………………………….163 

The Leadership Community and Leadership Signature Profile™ ……………164

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