Rare Leadership in the Workplace • Jim Wilder & Marcus Warner

Four Uncommon Habits that Improve Focus, Engagement, and Productivity

May 2021 • Hardcover • 978-0-8024-2190-6

Revive your leadership. Grow healthy teams. See great results.

Healthy teams begin with healthy leaders, and at the heart of this dynamic is emotional maturity—the quality the greatest leaders possess.

Combining cutting-edge brain science with decades of counseling and consulting experience, Rare Leadership in the Workplace shows you how to take your leadership and your team to the next level. It will equip you to:

  • Cultivate emotional maturity in yourself and others
  • Develop the four habits of R.A.R.E. leaders
  • Promote a strong group identity
  • Keep relationships bigger than problems
  • Increase productivity through trust, joy, and engagement

Whether you are burnt out or just looking to improve, this book can help. When you prioritize people and lead from a secure identity, you’ll be amazed at the freedom you feel and the results you see. You can lead from a healthy place, respond rather than react, and build the team of your dreams.

If you want to take your organization to the next level, it starts with you. Read Rare Leadership in the Workplace and be equipped to lead enthusiastic, emotionally mature, relationally connected teams.


Marcus Warner (M.Div., Th.M. and D.Min. Trinity Evangelical Divinity School) is the president of Deeper Walk International. He is a former pastor and college professor who has written several books on topics ranging from how to study the Bible to spiritual warfare, emotional healing, and leadership. Marcus has done training events for organizations such as Navigators, Willow Creek Prison Ministry, and Moody Church. He has traveled the world with Deeper Walk equipping people on the front lines of ministry with practical tools for dealing with root issues that keep people and ministries stuck and unable to go deeper into what God has for them.

Jim Wilder (PhD, Clinical Psychology, and M.A. Theology, Fuller Theological Seminary) has been training leaders and counselors for over 27 years on five continents. He is the author of nine books with a strong focus on maturing and relationship skills for leaders. His coauthored book Living From the Heart Jesus Gave You has sold over 100,000 copies in eleven languages. Wilder has published numerous articles and developed four sets of video and relational leadership training called THRIVE. He is currently executive director of Shepherd’s House Inc., a nonprofit working at the intersection of brain science and theology, and founder of Life Model Works that is building contagiously healthy Christian communities through equipping existing networks with the skills to thrive. Dr. Wilder has extensive clinical counseling experience and has served as a guest lecturer at Fuller Seminary, Biola, Talbot Seminary, Point Loma University, Montreat College, Tyndale Seminary and elsewhere.


One of the first groups who invited me (Marcus) to teach on Rare Leadership didn’t seem to realize what they had signed up for. As I waited for my opportunity to explain the habits of mature leaders to them, the owner of the company laid out a vision for his team. He opened with the unforgettable line: “We want to be —– pirates!” That got my attention. I wondered where he was going with this. He continued, “We want our competitors to see our name on the bid sheet and say, ‘Oh no, it’s them! Those cutthroats will do whatever it takes to get this bid.'” He then wrapped up his introduction and said, “Now, here’s Marcus to teach us about rare leadership.”

I was a bit stunned. Someone clearly hadn’t told him that rare leadership was about relational and emotional maturity. He didn’t seem to see the difference between mature leadership and “do-whatever-it-takes” business ethics.

To this man’s credit, he quickly got on board. Partway through our opening presentation, he realized that he wasn’t very mature in the way he ran his company – or his family. At one point, after seeing a slide outlining the difference between mature people who live with their relational brain circuits on and immature people who live with them off, he blurted out, “I don’t think I’ve ever had my relational circuits on.” The rest of the people in the room all looked at me as if to say, “He’s not lying.”

After that moment, the questions started coming with great earnestness and, by the end of the meeting, his team signed up for a year of coaching on Rare Leadership with our lead trainer. The next year I was invited back to address the company’s national management team. This time, instead of his “cutthroat” speech, the owner said, “We want to be a company that handles ourselves like adults. We want everyone we interact with to say, ‘We love working with this company because we love the way they go about their business.’ Now here’s Marcus to teach us how to be mature leaders.” I couldn’t help but smile. He had come a long way.

Later that year, the CEO of this company told me he had started teaching the RARE model whenever he was asked to speak at leadership events. “Not only has it changed our culture,” he told me, “it has improved our bottom line.”

The lack of maturity in most leadership settings is becoming increasingly obvious. Psychologist and leadership expert Richard Davis wrote an article for the Harvard Business Review with the simple title, “We Need More Mature Leaders.” In this article he launches an attack on “sandbox leaders” – people who don’t play well together. The childish behavior and narcissistic outlooks of these immature leaders place personal pride above the good of their organization. In summary, Davis writes:

The timing could not be worse. The nation’s current problems, as vast and overwhelming as they are, appear secondary to the whims of spoiled children, unwilling to play well together. At a time when we need solid, grounded leadership more than ever, we seem to be in short supply of adults who act like, well…like adults.

I often show this quote on a slide when I teach at leadership events, and generally see heads nodding in agreement all across the room. Most assume the critique was ripped out of the current headlines and describes the mess we are in today. But I like to draw their attention to the fact that the article was written in 2011. That was quite a few years ago. It is a reminder that the level of maturity in this culture is not moving in the right direction. On the contrary, we are in the midst of a maturity crisis – not only in leadership but at all levels of society. If you have any doubt, just browse social media for a few minutes.

The purpose of this book is not to condemn or criticize anyone specifically. Rather, it is to call all of us to “up our game” when it comes to handling life with maturity. Mature leaders excel at building healthy cultures, solving problems relationally, and keeping relationships bigger than problems.


The bedrock of leadership is being the right kind of person, not simply the person with the right ideas. Without a cultivated core, leaders will not mature with their responsibilities and opportunities to serve. Rare Leadership in the Workplace guides leaders through the critical rooted growth that enables them to lead their teams to new heights.
Roger Parrott
President of Belhaven University and author of The Longview: Lasting Strategies for Rising Leaders

As a business owner and CEO, I learned long ago my business exists for more than profit. It must be a force for good in the world around us. Rare Leadership in the Workplace by Marcus Warner and Jim Wilder adds brain science to the fundamental leadership principles that instruct us to seek true success – contentment with joy.
Martin Ozinga III
Chairman, Ozinga

Rare Leadership in the Workplace, written as a primer that is both practical and profound, is full of ideas that will revitalize a leader’s style, recommit them to the desire to innovate, and finally release them to constantly evaluate. Offered in a pull-push format, the approach offered by Warner and Wilder is partly qualitative and partly quantitative. Its formulaic approach is easy to adapt and more importantly encouraging to adopt. It truly is a refreshing and timely offering that will strengthen the leadership toolbox of individuals and institutions.
Krish Dhanam
Former Vice President of Ziglar Worldwide; CEO of Skylife Success; coauthor of Hardheaded & Softhearted (with the former president of Microsoft)