LDRS 291: Becoming an Influential Leader


Donna Bunce and Tom Pratt

“I wanted to let you know how much I learned and enjoyed your class. It really made me think deeper, and dig deeper into who I am as a person and as a leader and is not often I say that! Thank you for wisdom and passion” (Lauren Boyle).


Leadership can be defined as influencing ourselves and others.   How does influence work? What are perspectives and strategies for change?  How are we influenced and how do we influence others?

The Influential Leader:  In this course student reflect on and understand three perspectives on influence and strategies of transactional and transformational change.  As in LDRS 201, students are challenged to define leadership from a counter-cultural Christian worldview with the hope that they will use it to inspire, influence, and impact the world to enhance holistic flourishing (Shalom).  This course serves as an elective in the MGMT major and the MIN minor.

To make the abstract concrete, we study the lives of three leaders and ask: Who was Robert Moses?  Who is Dennis Bakke?  Who is John Perkins?

  • To understand different perspectives and practices of leadership, and that inspiration leadership comes from within and requires a change of self
  • To enhance communication, critical thinking, leadership, and team-building skills
  • To interact and learn from leaders

In this course we will explore and practice three leadership influences orientations:

  • “Normal Change Theory” — Transactional — Telling, Incentivizing/Intimidating/Forcing (Power/Position-oriented), Engaging/Participating (Participation-Oriented)
  • “Advanced Change Theory” — Transformational/Transcending — Being Light/Salt (Positivity-oriented) with a strategy, changing the world one relationship at a time

A major focus of 291 will also be the vital role of teams and teamwork. Students will complete many of their class assignments working on assigned teams and these teams will also regularly lead class as well as host/interview guest leaders.  Team members will also be asked to give peer feedback.


We end with a realization that:

  • Calling is foundational to becoming an influential leader because it transforms the inner self
  • Sustainable change happens when people voluntarily join a “tribes” and leaders they trust
  • Trust is based on credibility, reliability, intimacy and a lack of self-orientation, which comes only through a transforming, transcending change of self.
  • 20%: Leading class (teams)
  • 20%: Interviewing leaders (teams)
  • 20%: Journal entries
  • 20%: Peer evaluations
  • 20%: Reflection paper


Tony Castillo in LDRS 291

  • I use Moodle to host readings, assignments, and grades.
  • LDRS 291 students are strongly encouraged to enroll in LDRS 292 during the second half of the semester so they can apply what they are learning in a advisory-consulting context.  Note: LDRS 292 is a “boot camp” CFL Consulting.
Influential Texts:

Although this course does not require texts, the following texts are influential:

  • Beyond Charity by John Perkins
  • Change the World by Robert Quinn
  • The Decision Maker by Dennis Bakke
  • Deep Change by Robert Quinn
  • The Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni
  • Good to Great by Jim Collins
  • Good Strategy, Bad Strategy by Richard Rumelt
  • The Human Side of Enterprise by Douglas McGregor
  • Leaders Eat Last by Simon Sinek
  • Leadership is an Art by Max DePree
  • Leadership Jazz by Max DePree
  • Managing with Power by Jeffrey Pfeffer
  • The Power Broker by Robert Caro
  • The Servant by James Hunter
  • Start with Why by Simon Sinek
  • The Trusted Advisor by David Maister et al
  • Upended by Jedd Medefind and Erik Lokkesmoe

If you are a Hope College student, you can click here to see the syllabus for the LDRS 291 Syllabus.

To learn more about the Center for Faithful Leadership, click here.

Phil Miller2

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