A manual for leadership focused on community values.
In his debut, Davis presents a philosophy and a plan for a style of leadership he calls “sacred,” which involves undertaking “missions that recognize and value what is sacred to humankind and that serve the greatest good.” For Davis, the sacred is not connected to religion but to ideas that are “so powerful and deeply rooted in service to the larger community that their rightness is indisputable.” As an educator with decades of experience in volatile schools and communities, he developed a leadership style based on engagement with communities, not on solving individual problems as they arise. Davis devotes an entire chapter to his career as a teacher and principal in an inner-city Los Angeles high school, and his biography follows the evolution of his leadership style, including a number of real-world examples. For example, Davis and his wife later constructed a public installation in Detroit that invited community members to record their dreams; the project resulted in a community-garden initiative. In this way, the Davises followed what the community deemed necessary. Davis’s “sacred leadership” takes into account the values and dreams that already exist in a community; as such, it’s uniquely suited to leaders working with a population of a different background than their own. Davis encourages leaders to respond to the situation and the people as they exist, not as they might like them to exist. The techniques and principles will likely be useful not only for educators but also for administrators in nonprofit and for-profit organizations. Each chapter opens with an inspirational quotation and closes with a list of questions for reflection, engaging the reader in a deeper way than a simple narrative or list of instructions might do. Overall, this work is well written and straightforward, and it serves as an ideal introduction to Davis’s ideas.
A valuable work on a relevant, appealing leadership style.