4 out of 4 stars
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Leadership And Power In International Development: Navigating The Intersections Of Gender, Culture, Context, And Sustainability is a book that contains the narratives of 18 leaders, depicting their challenges, achievements, and downfalls in steering change in several countries, different sectors, and at various levels. Randal Joy Thompson and Julia Storberg-Walker edited these accounts.
The editors analyze these narratives to identify commonalities, differences, and critical leadership issues. From their analyses, they offer a tentative new theory of leading that can be used to inform future research and leader-development initiatives. The anecdotes in this volume explore various topics from “the architecture within which international development leaders lead” to “the approaches to international development” to “how the leaders in this volume practice leadership.” The editors then share the key results regarding leadership in international development. The findings include outcomes on the challenges in international development, leadership for women’s empowerment and equity, spirit-filled leadership, leading major donor projects, some leadership lessons to reflect on, and much more.
I have to say that the editors have done a great job of selecting the leaders that share their experiences in this volume. I have learned a lot about how important women can be in leadership, especially as related to international development. Also, I learned that the contribution of local leadership is a valuable and sustainable resource that is often misunderstood and overlooked in meaningful ways by development professionals, which can be a big mistake. I say this because local leadership ensures that the leader is culturally in line with the people they lead. I mean, what may be considered development in a region may be different in another. It was also nice to see that most of these leaders had similar things to say about the types of leadership that could work best in different contexts and cultures.
Another aspect of this book I liked was the fact that the editors welcomed narratives from several leaders of different continents. I think this is important because it explores leadership from different cultures. As a result, any similarities found with what these diverse leaders say can be readily accepted. I enjoyed reading through the successes and failures of these leaders. Of the 18 leaders from different parts of Africa, Asia, Europe, and North America, I found that I was more drawn to Obasanjo’s contributions. As I read through, I could see how passionate she was about her experiences as a commissioner and senator in Nigeria. Other readers may be inspired by other leaders, and that’s the beauty of reading about the experiences of different people from different cultures as they talk about the same topic.
Additionally, I liked that there were references at the end of each chapter. I think citations are important in these kinds of publications because they provide a means for readers to conduct further studies on the information that is shared in the text. Sources also go a long way to prove the authenticity of the assertions made throughout a book. For instance, when Randal Joy Thompson talked about leading recovery in post-Ceausescu Romania, I was pleased to see reliable references, especially relating to the arguments that Romania had the highest number of HIV and AIDS infected children in Europe in 1995.
In all, this is an enlightening read. I recommend this book to everyone, especially people that find themselves in leadership positions. We all need to learn from the challenges of these leaders as they contend with the dynamics of different forms of power that come with leading for sustainable development. I can say that this volume has been professionally edited, as I found only four minor errors throughout the text. There’s nothing to dislike about Leadership And Power In International Development: Navigating The Intersections Of Gender, Culture, Context, And Sustainability, and I have the pleasure of rating it 4 out of 4 stars.
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