Discovering Your Leadership Style
IVP Praxis

Discovering Your Leadership Style

The Power of Chemistry, Strategy and Spirituality

by David T. Olson

Discovering Your Leadership Style
  • Length: 208 pages
  • Published: April 2014
  •  In stock
  • ISBN: 978-0-8308-4113-4
  • Item Code: 4113
  • Case Quantity: 48

God can use your unique gifts, passions and personality to help you become a better leader. While personality inventories can help you understand your temperament, the model designed by leading church planter David Olson is designed to form fruitful Christian leadership.

Olson's model reveals how three factors—spirituality, chemistry and strategy—work together. The free online inventory that is a companion to this book takes just five minutes to complete, and the resulting report appears instantaneously.

When you take the inventory, you will also discover your leadership style. The six styles that shape our ministry are

  • The Sacred Leader
  • The Relational Leader
  • The Inspirational Leader
  • The Building Leader
  • The Mission Leader
  • The Imaginative Leader

The thirty short chapters of this book are ideal for individual reflection with questions for individual discovery and bonus online activities. The book also includes all the tools you need to take your ministry team through this assessment. They will lead you deeper into this robust model for Christian leadership.

"Every leader who leads leaders will benefit from Dave Olson's great new book Discovering Your Leadership Style. Olson introduces a robust new tool for helping leaders maximize their natural leadership style. Additionally, he demonstrates how this new tool interacts with other commonly used personality and leadership instruments. The result is a whole new level of fascinating insight for leaders and those who lead them. Outstanding!"

Steve Pike, director of church planting and development, Assemblies of God

"Dave Olson has demonstrated leadership on many different levels and places in the church. . . . As a personal beneficiary of many of the principles outlined in this book, I highly recommend it for the ongoing development of pastors and church leaders."

Soong-Chan Rah, Professor of Church Growth and Evangelism, North Park Theological Seminary

"Dave Olson has been a mentor, friend and more broadly an activist for healthy Christian leadership. His insights have been a blessing to me, and through this book he will be a blessing to many, many more. If you have a desire to increase your leadership influence and skills, this is a must-read."

Efrem Smith, president and CEO of World Impact Incorporated

"As the leader of a college, I have been seeking a tool to help us identify exactly what Discovering Your Leadership Style has identified: how best to understand and use our leadership giftings and styles. This book is the catalyst for us to meet as staff and faculty to strengthen and deepen our team by understanding how each of us is gifted by God to lead. This new book will be helpful to every leader who works in parachurch ministries."

Keith Hamilton, president, Alaska Christian College

"I have had the honor of serving alongside Dave Olson for many years through Covenant Church Planting. Dave's concepts help individuals and teams to discover their unique balance of spirituality, chemistry and strategy, and to launch personal and ministry growth. His leadership theories and applications will bear much fruit for all who delve into this book!"

John Teter, church planting team leader, Evangelical Covenant Church, and author of Get the Word Out

"Discovering Your Leadership Style is one of the most helpful books on leadership that I have come across. Using a new and innovative model, Dave provides Christian leaders with a practical and easy-to-use method for developing into better and stronger leaders, as well as helping their staff and lay leaders do the same. I highly recommend this book."

Todd Wilson, CEO of the Exponential Conference

"In an age where style is too often championed over substance, Dave Olson is one of a few proven leaders who can be trusted time and again for credible insight and experiential wisdom. In Discovering Your Leadership Style, he delivers the fundamental goods of effective leadership beyond pithy statements, favorited tweets and untested boasts. Biblically sound, practical and engaging, this book will help you and your team get beyond mere talent to Christ-centered competency as you lead others for him."

Mark DeYmaz, pastor, Mosaic Church of Central Arkansas, and author of Building a Healthy Multi-ethnic Church

"Leadership matters, and accordingly, there are many books on leadership. What makes this book stand apart is both its simplicity and its profundity. By focusing on the three core elements of spirituality, chemistry and strategy, this book doesn't just detail what leadership is, but rather helps its readers engage in an important journey of examination and introspection of one's own leadership style. This book is a gift to leaders and to the larger church."

Eugene Cho, pastor, Quest Church, Seattle, Washington, and founder of

"The starting point for every person, leader, coach, parent, church or business seeking to make an impact is to ask two questions: Who has God wired me to be, and what has God gifted me to do? Drawing from thirty years of coaching leaders (including me!), Dave Olson has put together the most helpful tool for discovering how to lead with your strengths. This book should be read by every leader. Not only will they be more effective, they will also have a lot more fun!"

Ray Johnston, pastor of Bayside Church, Sacramento, California, and the Thrive Conference

"Discovering Your Leadership Style is one of the most important books written. The contents are stunning, life changing. I know because I have witnessed it firsthand. I have seen the powerful impact it has on people who work through its contents. If you wish to understand yourself, others around you and the future of the church, absorb the contents of this remarkable book."

Michael O. Emerson, professor of sociology, Rice University and author of Divided by Faith

"David Olson has given the church and its leaders a gift. With a method that is easily understandable, and yet quite profound, leaders are given new lenses to understand their ministry style. These new perspectives not only enable leaders to better serve the church but also to take concrete steps, in concert with the Spirit, to refine their ministry stance. I highly recommend this book for leaders and leadership teams. The insights gained and acted on will further the work of Christ in the world."

Kurt Fredrickson, associate dean, Fuller Theological Seminary

"If a professor is looking for practical tools to use to help students look at leadership styles based on a simple model and help them discover their own leadership abilities then Olson's book would be a great choice. The book is worth the time to read for the person who is relatively new to the idea of leadership or who is just looking for a fresh or new perspective."

T. Keith Sharp, The Journal of Youth Ministry, Spring 2015


Section One: The Model
1. A New Leadership Model
2. Simple, Yet Deep
3. What Makes Leadership Christian?
4. Your Gifts, Passions and Personality
Online Activity: Improving Team Dynamics

Section Two: Leadership Strength
5. Love Changes Everything
6. Love God: Strengthening Your Spirituality
7. Love People: Strengthening Your Chemistry
8. Love the World: Strengthening Your Strategy
9. Love Wisdom: Strengthening Your Leadership
Online Activity: Growing in Leadership Strength

Section Three: The Six Leadership Styles
10. The Six Styles
11. The Sacred Leader
12. The Relational Leader
13. The Inspirational Leader
14. The Building Leader
15. The Mission Leader
16. The Imaginative Leader
Online Activity: Mentoring and Coaching Other Leaders

Section Four: Deeper into the Six Styles
17. The Six Styles and Spiritual Gifts
18. The Six Styles and Personality Tests
19. The Six Deep Needs of Leaders
20. The Six Intelligences of Leaders
21. The Six Styles of Churches and Christian Organizations
22. Balanced Leaders Versus Focused Leaders
Online Activity: Selecting Leaders

Section Five: Igniting Ministry Gifts in All Christians
23. How God Loves Each Person Differently
24. Working Together to Serve and Love
Online Activity: A Passion to Serve - A Gift Assessment Tool

Appendix: Practical Advice for Implementing the Ideas of This Book


David T. Olson is a religious researcher, church planting leader, and leadership coach. For the past twenty years, he has served in leadership for church growth and evangelism in the Evangelical Covenant Church. Dave is also the director of the American Church Research Project. His previous book was The American Church in Crisis (Zondervan). Dave and his wife, Shelly, live in Minneapolis.

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