Culture is easily understood as “the way we do things around here”. Gaining an appreciation for this in any community that we lead, will often be a predictor of success. If you ignore or misunderstand how a community does things, and then act in a way that is contrary to this culture, conflict is an inevitable result.
The biggest mistake of my career, when judged by the financial loss that resulted, was delaying a decision. We had a division of the company that didn’t fit strategically into the rest of the organisation and that was hamstrung by tight government regulation.
Each month subscribers receive curated articles, resources and reading lists from leading secular sources that are must-read for Christian leadership. This month we are seeing what the ‘Egyptians’ have to say about meetings. Needless to say, there is plenty here to plunder
A woman walks into her local medical practice and sits in the waiting room while she waits for her appointment with the doctor. She picks up her phone and idly scrolls through a social media app when she looks up to scan the other patients in the room. Her eyes glance over her fellow patients, who look, truth be told, unremarkable.
The Board looked at each other with dismay as they realised they needed to recruit externally to replace the retiring CEO. After 10 years in the role the CEO had done an outstanding job in establishing and growing the ministry. However, the one gap he left was not raising up his own replacement to take the ministry into its next era.
No one wants to be accused of being inauthentic, especially a leader. Authentic leadership has been lauded for building better relationships, higher levels of trust, greater productivity and a more positive working environment. Conversely, leaders who wear masks are said to undermine trust, reduce their effectiveness, and become psychologically conflicted.
Each month subscribers receive curated articles, resources and reading lists from leading secular sources that are must-reads for Christian leaders. This month we see what the ‘Egyptians’ have to say about emotional intelligence. The concept of emotional intelligence (or EQ—Emotional Quotient) captures many of the soft skills that are vital to effective leadership, and has a strong alignment with key biblical leadership values.
Each month subscribers receive curated articles, resources and reading lists from leading secular sources that are must-reads for Christian leaders. This month our format is a little different as we plunder five highly influential and important books on leadership. While these books are framed around competitive practices in commercial contexts, they have implications for churches and Christian organisations. We offer a summary here, and hope that over summer you will read at least one of these books!
Each month subscribers receive curated articles, resources and reading lists from leading secular sources that are must-reads for Christian leaders. In September we had planned to run the inaugural Women in Leadership Symposium at the Ridley Centre for Leadership. Unfortunately we have had to postpone the symposium until March 2022, due to you know what. In any case, I thought September would be a good month to focus on what the ‘Egyptians’ have to say about women in leadership.
All leaders have to go through the process of sorting out who they are and what they are capable of. More often than not, this is by trial and error. As younger leaders, we will be offered more responsibility over time. This reflects the principle Jesus proposed that ‘if you have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things.’ Matthew 25:21
A key question is whether there is a biblical framework for thinking about this key area that impacts everyone.
This is a story that is all too familiar. A woman in a Christian organisation approaches the Chair of the Board for help because she believes she has been subjected to sexual harassment. Her male line manager has made jokes and comments that left her feeling very uncomfortable. At some work-related social events, his physical contact felt invasive to her. Some of his texts seem to have crossed the line between being friendly and being creepy. She decides she needs some help to deal with this situation.
We all know (hopefully) the joy of being a part of a team and working hard together and seeing great things happen. The question for this article is whether we associate this simple and key idea with church teams, and in particular church staff teams (and Christian not for profits for that matter).
In this week’s blog, Centre Director Tim Foster argues that we need to rediscover the value of allowing leaders to grow up slowly. Young leaders need less pressure and more room to prepare, learn from others and make mistakes. At the same time, in our youth obsessed culture, we need to be wary of devaluing more mature leaders.
A young church planter is attending a conference on mission which has been put on by an organisation that is promotes gospel growth and evangelism. Every session has been challenging, engaging and encouraging.
But then the MC announces the topic for the next session: ‘Now we are going to hear from a church leader who has years of experience in church governance.’
Our young church planter reaches for their phone and starts to post on Instagram about the church they dream of starting. Meanwhile, in the background the intricacies of how to encourage healthy organisational practice drifts into the ether…
Leaders need power to get stuff done. But the forms of power on which church leaders have relied are eroding. Leaders need to cultivate new bases of power. While referent power is attractive it is not easy to develop. However, another form of power is available that will take effort to cultivate, but is highly effective.
One of our most popular Masterclasses has been Building a Leadership Pipeline. Developing and supporting future leaders in our churches is clearly a strong felt-need among pastors. There are plenty of great books, podcasts and other resources out there. Many of these are from secular contexts but have real relevance for our own. If you want to upskill in this area, start with some of these valuable resources.
Each month subscribers receive curated articles, resources and reading lists from leading secular sources that are must-reads for Christian leaders.
It’s time to set a reading list for the year. Or, maybe it’s a ‘listening list’ if, like me, you prefer to listen to audiobooks through Audible or your local library. In this curated list, I have summarised six must-read leadership books for 2022. My absolute favourite is Jerks At Work: Toxic Coworkers and What to Do About Them by Tessa West. Just substitute ‘church member’ for ‘co-worker’ here, and you will find good advice on how to deal with challenging people who sap your time and emotional energy.
I have a vivid memory of a talented friend reading this passage from the book of James in the Ridley College chapel when we were both bright-eyed young students. He put on a wonderfully joyous tone for that sober reading. Yes, it was a bit of hammed-up comedy. It got the laughs. Years later, still in ministry but broken, in tears, and suffering from shingles, he was only just clinging on to the truth of those eternal words. Gospel leadership entails deep suffering.
Taking a holiday is not what it used to be. The volume of work, the nature of emails, our hyper-connectedness, and the expectations others have (or, that we think they have), make it hard to really switch off, relax and enjoy our time away. The stress people feel about the amount of work that will await them on their return is one major reason people don’t take leave. For others, it is the amount of work that they need to do before they leave that increases stress and makes holidaying less enjoyable.
As I am about to go on long service leave, I thought it was a good time to think about how to do our breaks well.
Leaders are usually trying to bring change to organisations to make them more effective in reaching their objectives. A good leader has a clear picture of the kind of future they want for the people they lead. They know the destination and realise that the group cannot remain the same if they are going to move to the new situation.
In recent decades the Anglican Diocese of Tasmania has embarked on a journey of revitalisation, moving from a 30% membership decline in the 1990s, ironically during its “Decade of Evangelism”, to renewal in the 21st century. The diocese has gone against the national trend in traditional denominations of continued decline and aging. Some parishes have seen significant growth from a low base, many have commenced a children’s or youth ministry or appointed a paid minister for the first time in decades, and the average age of clergy has decreased markedly. There’s a fair way to go, but the signs are promising.