AdventHealth Press Leadership in the Crucible of Work


Dr. Sandy Shugart was quickly advancing in his career. At the age of 25 he found himself as a senior leader in a large billion-dollar organization. As he became immersed in the competitive, power-laden politics of modern bureaucracy, something important happened; he wounded a colleague. As a result, he realized he was becoming someone he didn’t want to be. And it was happening at work.

“In a rare flash of insight,” he writes, “I realized that the jerks—the old burned-out, negative, manipulating, officious, self-centered bureaucrats about whom we all made jokes—had started out just like me. They hadn’t always been jerks.”

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What is it that causes a leader to go bad? Or to become good? Is it the organizational environment? Is it the stress of the job?

For leaders living in an imperfect, broken world, work turns out to be a kind of crucible. A place where they experience the heat, pressure, and corrosion of elevated responsibility. For most of us, the crucible of work is unavoidable. So the question becomes, how do we endure the crucible without being hopelessly deformed by it? Or, how can we use the crucible to form us into a more valuable and authentic leader?

In Leadership in the Crucible of Work: Discovering the Interior Life of an Authentic Leader, Dr. Shugart shares insights from his 30 years of experience as a leader, including his service as the president of Valencia College—inaugural winner of the Aspen Prize for Excellence. Avoiding the latest leadership gimmicks and fads, Leadership in the Crucible of Work will guide you on an inward journey to discover how to do the interior work that leads to becoming an authentic leader.

In This Book You Will:

  • Discover inner attitudes that lead to the outer actions of a great leader.
  • Understand the importance of asking good questions—because every good question directs a leader to a better one.
  • Learn how an exceptional leader says, “we are in this together,” then demonstrates it to be true.
  • Find out why the greatest threat to a leader is their own ego, hubris, and blind spots—and what to do about it.
  • Come to realize that the difficult experiences of work (i.e. the crucible) exist to consume the dross of self so the leader is humbly drawn into servant leadership.
  • Uncover how to become the unique leader you were meant to be.
  • Find encouragement and guidance to shape your inward journey as you become an outwardly successful, authentic leader.
A portrait picture of author Shugart

About the Author

Sanford C. “Sandy” Shugart, Ph.D. is the author of Leadership in the Crucible of Work and serves as president of Valencia College—inaugural winner of the Aspen Prize for Excellence. His leadership journey has taken him to presidencies of two large colleges, an active life of speaking on leadership issues in the US and Europe, a visiting scholar’s chair at Oxford University, and various boards of directors. His reflections on the challenges of work and character formation have informed his own leadership roles, his poetry, and his music for many years. Most of all, he is a storyteller, sharing with good humor and humility the inner struggles he and many other leaders confront every day. For more visit

Publishing Information

Pages: 240 pages

Product Dimensions: 5 3/8 in x 8 in

Language: English

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