Cover image for The character of leadership : political realism and public virtue in nonprofit organizations
The character of leadership : political realism and public virtue in nonprofit organizations
Jinkins, Michael, 1953-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
San Francisco : Jossey-Bass, [1998]

Physical Description:
xviii, 206 pages ; 24 cm
General Note:
"Rethinking good leadership in light of a fresh encounter with Machiavelli."
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
HD62.6 .J56 1998 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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Behold, I send you as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore, be as shrewd as snakes, and as innocent as doves. --Matthew 10:16

. . . remarkable example of practical humanities scholarship. . . .Those who lead all sorts of nonprofit organizations can benefit from this bracing encounter with political realism.
--James Wind, president, Alban Institute and author of Places to Worship

Leaders of nonprofit enterprises are often motivated by a completing vision of how the world should be. Too often, however, this prevents them from understanding and skillfully operating in the realm of pragmatic realism. For nonprofit leaders who want to succeed in their efforts to change the world without selling their souls, Jinkins and Jinkins offer a guide to pragmatic and principled politics.

This book includes case studies of the political successes and failures of talented, good-hearted leaders in a variety of roles including seminary presidents, pastors, and leaders of social service agencies. The authors show us that realistic leaders know that in the rough and tumble of the real world, we must strive to create a place where our values can be translated into policy and common life--learning how to do this is the task that confronts us.

Author Notes

MICHAEL JINKINS is associate professor of pastoral theology at Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary. An ordained Presbyterian minister, he served for thirteen years as a pastor in the United States and Britain. DEBORAH BRADSHAW JINKINS has served more than twenty years in public education as teacher, principal, grant writer, and accountability and compliance monitor of school district effectiveness. Currently she is founding principal for NYOS (Not Your Ordinary School), a charter school in Austin, Texas.

Table of Contents

The Machiavelli Principle
Learning from Experience
We're Not Past the Past
Exercising a Hermeneutic of Suspicion: Or, Whose History Do We Pay Attention To?
The Perils of an Unarmed Prophet
The Trouble with Mercenaries
Foreseeing the Unforeseeable
Making Change Imaginable Where You Are
Developing the Sense of Smell
Are You in a Principality or a Republic?
Understanding the Ecology of Leadership and Power
Authenticity and Duplicity
Nurturing Character for Realistic Leadership
Virtue Redefined: Becoming a Leader of Consequence
Developing Political Skills
What Competence Looks Like
Making Political Connections Without Toadying
Builing Leadership Teams
Planning Strategy with the Whole System in Mind
Attracting Money Through Accountability and Good Will
Dealing with Sabotage and Opposition
Conclusion: Passion Is Not Enough