Much has been written and voiced about leadership – perhaps too much!
In my research work on leadership done some time ago several key themes were found specifically around transformational leadership; i.e. leadership which takes the organisation and its people to a new place, a transformed identity.
The key themes for leadership within the church were identified as:
- Reframing: offering new ways of understanding reality and offering new paradigms of being the church.
- Visioning: offering a unifying vision which ‘brings together’ the diverse constituencies of the organisation.
- Empowering: seeking to create future leadership amongst the organisation by collaborative and shared leadership.
- Innovation: offering new perspectives on old realities including new leadership approaches to agreed upon goals.
- Competent: exercising competently the basic skills of communication, problem solving, conflict resolution and decision-making.
- Symbolic: offering a leadership dimension that is beyond the management of the status quo and which expresses elements of the spiritual aspect of the organisation and the processes of working together.
- Acknowledging the implications of change: recognising and acknowledging the implications of change that includes grief, anger, loss and mourning.
- ‘Not knowing’: the ability to sit comfortably with ‘not knowing’ the appropriate direction or response at all times.
- ‘Revealing’ rather than ‘saving’: the ability to lead by interpreting and thus revealing the depth and breadth of experience and allowing the members to discern directions and truth, rather than offering leadership of the ‘expert’ whose knowledge and power ‘saves’ others.
- Balancing: the crucial role of balancing the needs of the various constituencies. This involves seeking the appropriate ‘weighting’ between conflicting priorities – outcomes and process, future goals and present needs; action and reflection.
- Interpretative: the ability to assist participants in the organisation to understand what is happening both within and outside of the organisation, and the implications of that reality.
Rev Dr Jennifer Byrnes