Book Review

Leading Without Power: Finding Hope in Serving Community

Reviewed by Brian L. Benzel, President,
Voyager Expanded Learning, Northwest
Region, Edmonds, Wash.


For those who have read Max De Pree's earlier works, Leading Without Power will complete the set of books that provide incredible wisdom and insight into the challenges and demands of leadership.

Using strategies developed during his private-sector experience, De Pree explores the beliefs and behaviors leaders of non-profit organizations must use to guide their organizations toward achieving their full potential.

De Pree's ideas and experience apply in significant ways to the current efforts of public schools to improve student performance and address issues of accountability. Measurement of the key results of our work is an important element in the leadership role. In an era where too many people want simplistic solutions to the measurement question, De Pree outlines questions leaders need to ask themselves and their constituents about results.

Measuring results creates "the best discussions about the future and about both individual and organizational behavior and potential," he writes. Taking hold of the vision for results is a powerful leadership tool that schools must use to generate positive gains for their students, staff and community.

De Pree also provides insight into how trust can be built. Trust is essential in creating the potential success embedded in organizations like schools. He examines the nature of the trust relationship between the leader and the organization and offers counsel that will be useful to all school leaders.

This short essay is a rich source of leadership wisdom that speaks to the needs of school leaders today. Those who only address position power will not succeed in the multidimensional world of public schools today. De Pree outlines a deeper, richer and more effective leadership style than is possible with just position power.

(Leading Without Power: Finding Hope in Serving Community, Max De Pree, Jossey-Bass Publishers, 350 Sansome St., San Francisco, Calif. 94104, 1997, 192 pp., $20 hardcover)