Everyone is (or should be?) talking about leadership. I had the pleasure of attending two recent conversations about leadership. One was a workshop put on by the Riverfront East Congregational Initiative (RECI), the other, a conversation at The Boggs Center .
By leadership– don’t be mistaken and assume that means we were talking about charismatic individuals. No.. this is about leadership, the quality. Leadership is less about charisma and control, and more about the question “how do we encourage/affirm leadership qualities emerging in ourselves and others”
As always, this kind of thinking requires some internal changes of each of us. It requires both that we learn to value ourselves enough to courageously offer our leadership qualities to others, and that we are each humble enough to recognize them in others. It also requires that we let go of our desire to either control/be controlled, and instead learn to operate in the more ambiguous-yet-more-generative realm of diffused leadership.
Leadership has everything to do with empowerment and creativity. Which is precisely what makes it exciting, and oh so relevant. Below, I’m sharing the notes I took at our RECI conversation about leadership. I found this talk to be very helpful.
Helpful to keep in mind, however, are the central tensions in any group’s movement:
- Social/Emotional needs
These tensions can sometimes be complimentary, and sometimes be pulling apart.
Then there are leadership qualities:
- support for tasks
- recognizing and nurturing capacity of others
- and the array of other emergent, constructive, qualities in any group
Hierarchies– are what we’re most familiar with. Most of our groups are organized as hierarchies: Family, Military, Sports, Corporations, Religious Congregations. The only familiar non-hierarchy in most of our lives tends to be our friend/peer groups.
Equal/Shared/Leadership– we’re far less familiar with. it thus requires intentional shaping. The following areas are essential in creating Leader-full organizations
- CLARITY OF PURPOSE
- CAPACITY FOR COLLECTIVE REFLECTION ON PURPOSE
- FLEXIBILITY (structures as key to purpose, not personality)
Hierarchies are most effective in allowing for control.
Shared Leadership is most effective in allowing for creativity.