LEADERSHIP & How to Write a Course Around William Willimon’s Rules of Transformative Leadership

In the final chapters of William Willimon’s book, Pastor: The theology and practice of ordained ministry (Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press, 2002), he borrows Anthony Robinson’s “rules of leadership” and changes them to “Rules of Transformative Leadership.” (Willimon 2002:279-280).

(If you can’t remember the difference between “transactional leadership” and “transformative leadership” see Willimon 2002:279-280).

I wrote an entire course (LEAD 600: Congregational Leadership) around these ten (10) leadership areas.  If you are currently in that course, have taken it in the past or are considering taking it in the future, the “Rules of Leadership” are a good way to review and summarize the course’s content.

To help you visualize this at the end of this article is a CHART with  the topics covered in LEAD 600 each week followed by the corresponding “rule.”

And, here is how Robinson originally codified his “Rules of Leadership.” (Robinson, Anthony B. [1999], “Leadership That Matters,” Christian Century, Dec. 15, 1228-31.):

“Rules of Leadership”

  1. Give responsibility back
  2. Expect trouble
  3. Value small steps
  4. Plan
  5. Identify the vital few
  6. Don’t overvalue consensus
  7. Count the yes votes
  8. Create new working groups for a new job
  9. Change by addition, not subtraction
  10. Be persistent

How I wrote a course around these rules (chart below with focus of each week followed by a short explanation and which “rule” each week addressed).

Robinson + Willimon Leadership Rules in LEAD 600 1

Robinson + Willimon Leadership Rules in LEAD 600 2