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The Soul of a Leader: Finding Your Path to Success and Fulfillment [Paperback]

By Margaret Benefiel (Author)
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Item description for The Soul of a Leader: Finding Your Path to Success and Fulfillment by Margaret Benefiel...

Demonstrating the principle that soulfulness at work is a way of being and doing, this guide provides new perspectives on the qualities of leadership. Three main sections elaborate on the themes of choosing the path, staying on track, and persevering to the end.

Publishers Description
Demonstrating the principle that soulfulness at work is a way of being and doing, this guide provides new perspectives on the qualities of leadership. Three main sections elaborate on the themes of choosing the path, staying on track, and persevering to the end. Drawing from interviews with outstanding leaders--including Tom and Kate Chappell, the founders of Tom's of Maine; Bob Glassman, co-chairman of Wainwright Bank & Trust; Desmond Tutu; and The Edge of rock band U2--and supported with guided questions in each section, this book is an essential addition to the bookshelf of anyone who wants to lead with soul. In an environment where leaders are rewarded for their drive, decisiveness, productivity, and long work hours, the spiritual well-being of a leader may get short shrift, and harm can come to both the leader and the organization this individual serves. Challenging the assumptions that effective leaders must sell their souls, cut corners, cook the books, and let go of their vision, a new model of spiritual leadership is offered. Teachers, parents, committee chair leaders, and other individuals in organizations of any size are exhorted to aim higher and lead with soul in any sphere, large or small.

From Publishers Weekly
According to Benefiel, theology teacher and CEO of, the Western ideal of leadership demands that modern leaders adopt a Lone Ranger mentality; emphasizes the bottom line; and rewards drive, decisiveness, productivity and long work hourswhile paying scant attention to inner and spiritual development. Benefiel outlines her principles of soul formation for leaders through true-life stories, such as those of Tom and Kate Chappell of Tom's of Maine, and the U2 guitarist The Edge, who worked with musicians in post-Katrina New Orleans. Benefiel also writes about lesser-known leaders who have concentrated in the development of their moral grounding as well as their account books. Speaking both to individual and organizational spiritual transformation, she highlights the importance of following one's heart and daring to dream through a program of practicing gratitude, perseverance and seeking out spiritual guidance. The author's inspiring message and endorsement from Desmond Tutu will likely earn her book a receptive audience, but the repetitive, sometimes saccharine execution may deter all but the choir to whom she is already preaching. (Sept.) Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

Awards and Recognitions
The Soul of a Leader: Finding Your Path to Success and Fulfillment by Margaret Benefiel has received the following awards and recognitions -
  • ForeWord Book of the Year Award - 2008 Honorable Mention - Career category

Citations And Professional Reviews
The Soul of a Leader: Finding Your Path to Success and Fulfillment by Margaret Benefiel has been reviewed by professional book reviewers and journalists at the following establishments -
  • Publishers Weekly - 07/14/2008 page 63
  • Christian Retailing - 07/07/2008 page 75

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Item Specifications...

Studio: The Crossroad Publishing Company
Pages   191
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.24" Width: 6.52" Height: 0.48"
Weight:   0.48 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Sep 1, 2008
Publisher   The Crossroad Publishing Company
ISBN  0824524802  
ISBN13  9780824524807  

Availability  2 units.
Availability accurate as of Oct 27, 2016 11:17.
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More About Margaret Benefiel

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Margaret Benefiel, Ph. D., author of "Soul at Work: Spiritual Leadership in Organizations," is an internationally known expert in the filed of spirituality and leadership. CEO of, she serves as Chair of the Academy of Management's Management, Spirituality, and Religion Group. Author of numerous articles and co-editor of a previous book, Dr. Benefiel teaches at Andover Newton Theological School in Boston and the Milltown Institute in Dublin, Ireland.

Margaret Benefiel currently resides in Boston.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Business & Investing > Management & Leadership > Leadership
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Christian Living > Relationships
4Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality

Christian Product Categories
Books > Christian Living > Practical Life > Business & Leadership

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Reviews - What do customers think about The Soul of a Leader: Finding Your Path to Success and Fulfillment?

Slim Pickin's  Mar 26, 2010
I am more than a little suprised that several Christian leaders whom I greatly respect, including Archbishop Desmond Tutu, provide enthusiastic cover-blurbs for Benefiel's book. The actual substance of The Soul of a Leader could be reduced without loss to a relatively brief paragraph or two:

Leaders need to listen to their hearts, but current corporate culture doesn't respect or encourage heart wisdom. Leaders need to find partners in creating and implementing their vision. In creating that vision, leaders need to dare to dream big dreams and then keep on track by always focusing on the organization's mission.

Gratitude must become part of the organizational culture and people should come first, including opportunities for staff development and personal growth. Compassion and forgiveness will break a "cycle of violence." Persevering to the goal requires spiritual transformation and will include dealing with failures and defeats. It helps leaders to have spiritual guidance along the way.

Is that, as Miss Peggy Lee once famously sang, all there is? Unfortunately, it is. So how does Benefiel manage to get a whole book out of her decidedly slim material? By padding the text with lengthy illustrations from the stories of various corporate and organizational leaders. Sadly, not one of these extended tales in any way expands one's understanding of the point it is marshaled to support.

If one can determine anything about an author's character from his or her work, Benefiel has a genuine passion for building spiritual values within corporate culture. Unfortunately, those good intentions have not translated into a particularly valuable book.
A wonderful gift!  Feb 21, 2010
The book, The Soul of a Leader: Finding Your Path to Success and Fulfillment by Margaret Benefiel is a must-read guide for leaders in any industry. Leading with Soul, changes the way we do business, our view the world and our interactions with people. The stories of Leaders leading with soul are inspiring and confirming. I gave this book to many colleagues as a gift for the holidays and it was appreciated. My hope is that I will create a team of successful leaders who lead with integrity, creativity and soul. This book, during these difficult times of uncertainly will guide leaders through change in a kind and gentle manner. It is uplifting and life altering! A must read for all leaders.

Melissa Arnott, EdD LPC LCADC
A Fine Follow-up to Benefiel's Exceptional First Book  Mar 6, 2009
In THE SOUL OF A LEADER spiritual leader and author Margaret Benefiel makes yet another powerful addition to the library on how to restore sanity in our lives and in our hunger for success. As in her first very successful book SOUL AT WORK in which she offered invaluable suggestions and keys to unlock the door to restoring sanity to this brutal world of self focus, in this book she leads the reader through the journey of finding a better and more satisfying way to accomplish success in the workplace by examining not the usual indices for measuring 'success', but instead gradually informs us of the power of dream and vision and shared concern for those around us as she guides us through many examples of men and women who left their 'prominent but unsatisfying' lives to seek a future rich in personal satisfaction and fulfillment.

The sections that exemplify her genuine concern for the betterment of people's lives include 'Following the Heart', 'Finding Partners', and 'Daring to Dream'. Once she has given examples of important people who have demonstrated these principals Benefiel further supports her goals by discussing 'Practicing Gratitude' and 'Keeping the Mission at the Fore'. Her book closes with sensitive chapters on 'Breaking the cycle of Violence', 'Spiritual Transformation', and 'Finding Spiritual Guidance'. Benefiel wisely chooses a method for summarizing the various planes of development she shares by ending each chapter with a terse 'Conclusions' section followed by a brief series of 'Queries' - a method that requires the reader to reflect and in reflecting, grow to the next step.

Benefiel's writing style is warm and supportive and never approaches the 'preachiness' that often obscures similar messages by other authors. This book is simply a book of wisdom, warmly distributed, from an author who has found a significant and helpful calling: she is truly a Spiritual Guide. Grady Harp, March 09
Essential Reading in Tough Times  Feb 18, 2009
The publication of "The Soul of a Leader" could not be more opportune. Newspapers that have been filled with data about mass lay-offs are now beginning to report more the distressing stories of the human destruction of this economic downtown. People who lost their job, their healthcare, and their sense of making a contribution are now facing unemployment, housing foreclosure, and evaporating dreams of a better life for their children.

The optimists say this is a time of challenge and opportunity. They may be right, but only if those in leadership make and execute their tough decisions with decency, integrity, and recognition of what their employees have contributed to their firm's success. The optimistic view could well be realized if leaders - and those who work with and for them - take seriously the principles and practices of leadership as articulated in "The Soul of a Leader."

The stories Benefiel tells of leaders are reality-based, important and inspiring. They convey the confusion, discomfort, and loneliness that good leaders often face in tough times. But the stories also illustrate how good decisions can be made in dark times. Her careful articulation of humane leadership principles and her practical guidance drawn from what she has learned from the many leaders she interviewed make this book an outstanding contribution to achieving a world that recognizes that leadership success and fulfillment are inseparable.
Revealing Stories, Elegant Theory  Feb 6, 2009
The first thing that caught my attention about The Soul of a Leader was its subtitle: Finding Your Path to Success and Fulfillment. At first glance, in a book on soul and spirituality, that's not what I would have expected. It sounded too--well--too materialistic. But, on second thought, success and fulfillment elegantly sum up the contention by scholars of workplace spirituality that soul is good for business but also leads to deeply meaningful work.

Readers of Margaret Benefiel's first book, Soul at Work, will recognize again in this book a crucial distinction presented in its final pages: namely, the difference between what could roughly be called the first and second halves of the spiritual journey. Success characterizes the first half and fulfillment the second, but not without interludes of dark night in between, where neither seem possible. The diagrams of the spiritual path on pages 146-147 (for individual leaders) and 164-165 (for organizations) are alone worth the price of the book. They chart the classical three-fold path of spiritual transformation (purgation, illumination, and union)--with a first and second dark night in between; and they show how it plays out in the life of a leader or organization over the long-term. As maps of the territory, I have seen none better.

Another elegant mapping tool--and this one is quite practical--is the diagram in the Conclusion that reminds leaders to check out four areas of soul: both their own individual inner and outer growth, and that of their organization. Simple as it is, this map keeps us focused on the total four-fold picture rather than only one or two of these areas. In a word, this reminder cultivates balance.

Elegant, too, is the overall division of the book into three sections--choosing the path, staying on track, and persevering to the end. Each of these, in turn, is divided into three sections. For example, choosing the path is divided into following the heart, finding partners, and daring to dream. As if that were not enough, each of these is divided into three. Following the heart, for instance, is divided into paying attention, taking the first step, and stumbling. This elegant structure enables leaders to zoom in and out--looking at the big picture, the mid-size one, and the small. I wondered if these divisions were overly neat and tidy until I realized two things as I read deeper into the book: they all ring true to experience, and dividing them into threes makes them memorable. Like an ingeniously crafted formula such as E=mc2, these divisions distill an enormous amount of information and wisdom into the most compact of spaces. Wow!

Like Margaret Benefiel's first book, this one is full of great stories--revealing, inspiring, opening out a wide window onto what might seem like a hopelessly invisible and elusive topic. The selection of stories is wide-ranging and diverse. I came away from them deeply moved, filled with hope.

If you're looking for a masterful interweaving of the theory and practice of spiritual leadership, this is the book for you!


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