Leading Through Resistance: Quit Pushing Back, By Tod Bolsinger alt

Leading Through Resistance

Quit Pushing Back

Practicing Change Series

by Tod Bolsinger
Illustrated by Mark Demel
Foreword by Marty Linsky

Leading Through Resistance
  • Length: 120 pages
  • Published: August 13, 2024
  • Imprint: IVP
  • Item Code: A0871
  • ISBN: 9781514008713

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"People don't resist change. They resist loss." —Marty Linsky and Ronald Heifetz

When facing losses, even the best teammates can start pushing back. As teams wrestle with uncertainty, leaders need to chart a steady course. Join Tod Bolsinger as he teaches unexpected skills for engaging resistance and moving the mission forward.

In this essential Christian leadership resource, you'll find:

  • Wisdom on leading communities past losses with courage and empathy
  • Practical advice from experienced Christian leader and bestselling author Tod Bolsinger
  • Brief and accessible chapters sprinkled with colorful illustrations
  • Real-life case studies and balcony time exercises for teams

The Practicing Change Series from Tod Bolsinger offers an engaging introduction to how we process organizational change and come through with renewed mission and vision. Each of the four illustrated volume opens and closes with a case study and includes balcony time exercises for teams to process together. Also available: How Not to Waste a Crisis, The Mission Always Wins, and Invest in Transformation.

"The Practicing Change Series is compelling and immediately applicable. Each book weaves us through story, illustration, and discussion to contextualize paradigm-shifting frameworks for thinking. Your leadership, but more importantly the impact through your leadership, will experience a trajectory change through the words penned. Tod is a master storyteller, carefully threading points, principles, and processes with ease and nuance. Today's era of leadership calls for continual, on-the-go growth, and this series offers solutions to today's demands. For the leader whose time is limited and responsibilities toward self and service are complex, these books are for you."

Wendy Nolasco, general supervisor and vice president of US Mission for the Foursquare Church

"Here's a scary truth: regardless of where you work or what you do for a living, a crisis is coming. In fact multiple crises lie ahead for you because our world is now changing at an unprecedented rate, and those changes will render you and your organization obsolete if you can't find a way to continuously adapt to these coming crises. Leading through these changes will require leaders who aren't afraid to slay some sacred cows, challenge conventional wisdom, and even live outside their own leadership comfort zones. Adaptation will be the single most critical survival skill of the twenty-first century. Tod Bolsinger's four short books in the Practicing Change Series are the 'emergency preparedness drill' that you will be grateful to have read when the next 'tsunami' hits your organization. Read them now before the next wave hits your shore."

Richard Stearns, president emeritus of World Vision US and author of Lead Like It Matters to God

"The Practicing Change Series is like having Tod Bolsinger as a personal coach. He offers practical and powerful wisdom for anyone who is wrestling with the complex challenges of ministry leadership today."

Mike Bonem, consultant, coach, and author of The Art of Leading Change

"This series is required reading for anyone who wants to lead change. In the very best way, reading these books was like sitting down with a mentor who has done the hard work of leading change himself and wants to help us work through the mistakes, challenges, and dynamics we can't see by ourselves."

Michaela O'Donnell, executive director of the Max De Pree Center for Leadership and author of Life in Flux

"Leaders who know organizational change is needed but don't know how to go about it will find accessible, practical, and wise guidance in Tod Bolsinger's Practicing Change Series. I've found the concepts of adaptive leadership incredibly helpful in thinking through organizational challenges. Bolsinger helps us apply and practice these concepts in a way that will transform our organizations and ourselves as leaders."

Teri McDowell Ott, editor and publisher of the Presbyterian Outlook and author of Necessary Risks: Challenges Privileged People Need to Face

"The Practicing Change Series provides exactly the kind of help that busy leaders need in seeking to bring meaningful change to their organizations in the midst of the ongoing demands of day-to-day leadership. Concisely accessible. Imminently practical. Immediately actionable. And built on solid theory tested in the real world. My own life and leadership have been profoundly impacted by having Tod Bolsinger as a trusted guide in navigating the complexity of leading adaptive change."

Barry D. Jones, senior pastor of Irving Bible Church and author of Dwell: Life with God for the World

"Leadership is a lot like twirling a baton: it looks easy until you try it! If you are involved in leadership at any level I would highly recommend Tod Bolsinger's Practicing Change Series. It invites those of us in leadership to reflect on and rethink what it means to be a leader and to build a 'in what really makes a difference—transformation.'"

Daniel Dorsey, GHM, president of Glenmary Home Missioners

"Having watched and worked with Tod Bolsinger for many years, I always wanted a more practical way to engage my teams on his important work. This book provides an easily accessible path to do just that! I can't wait to give it to individual staff members facing resistance in their own areas and to use it in times that require adaptive change for our entire church."

Hope Lee, lead pastor of Vienna Presbyterian Church, Vienna, Virginia

"In Leading Through Resistance, Tod Bolsinger takes on a few new roles: guide, wise sage, Jedi Master, family systems counselor, and therapist . . . all to get us to look at the ways we tend to push back when resistance shows up. I absolutely love the approachable way Tod teaches a combination of contemplative spirituality, family systems theory, and systems thinking in this very important book. If you've been wondering how to take the next step as a leader and grow in your proficiency, this book is a must."

John E. Stephens, senior pastor of Chapelwood United Methodist Church

"Can existing organizations really change in order to meet the needs of a changing world? If so, how do we lead that kind of transformation without giving up our core purposes and values? In this book, Tod Bolsinger starts with his love for leaders and then offers engaging stories and practical advice to walk us through the process of leading our organizations to change."

Trisha Taylor, author of The Leader's Journey: Answering the Call to Personal and Congregational Transformation

Read an Excerpt


Foreword by Marty Linsky
About the Practicing Change Series

Introduction: Jerks & Control Freaks
1. A Leadership Story: When Pushing Back Sets You Back
2. Old Mindset: Don't Let Them Push You Around
3. New Skillset Part 1: Start with Two Shared Convictions
4. New Skillset Part 2: Stay Calm, Curious & Connected
5. New Skillset Part 3: Give the Work Back & Stay on Course
6. Adaptive Reset: Attunement Accelerates Change
7. The Story Continues: Back to the Mat

Discussion Guide: Take Your Team to the Balcony


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Tod Bolsinger

Tod Bolsinger is the founder and principal at AE Sloan Leadership Inc., the executive director of the DePree Center Church Leadership Institute, and associate professor of leadership formation at Fuller Seminary. He is the author of the Outreach Magazine Resource of the Year in pastoral leadership, Canoeing the Mountains, and the Christian Book Award Finalist, Tempered Resilience. Tod and his wife, Beth, split their time between Pasadena, California, and Ketchum, Idaho.