Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Leadership is about growing your followership

Is leadership only about being an excellent administrator or savvy politian? Also in the church, we find that these are often noted as the key performance areas. When you fail at reportwriting, or at being an excellent chairperson of the meeting, you have failed as a Christian leader.

Perhaps you might notice that this cannot be. Its not that simple and certainly, it cannot be that restrictive. Christian leader-ship has got to be rooted indeed in following the life and words of Jesus Christ. Let's continue to reflect then on Jesus' ministry and what we can learn as leaders:

1) There has to be consideration for him being a servant of the needs of people, especially the poor and needy. His key performance area was perhaps spelled out in Luke 4, where he speaks of sharing the gospel to the poor, breaking the bondages, setting the captives free, etc. He came to liberate, to set people free.

2) Jesus Christ however also consciously focussed on mentoring a small group of, what is called his 'disciples'. One could also call them a group of learnerleaders. His role was in nurturing these 12 and allowing them the space to continue the legacy of God's Kingdom. The impact of God's kingdom lies in our willingness and ability to nurture a next layer of leaders. This is often long, painstaking and heartbreaking work. Its faithwork. Its a critical leadership task.

3)Jesus listened to God and was on an ongoing journey of discernment. He kept on nurturing his relationship with God, listening, being attentive, growing. There were times, where he was stretched to the limit of what was humanly possible. Some of his disciples failed often their tests. Yet, he kept protecting the innerspace, where he could grow. How key is this for the leader's performance, i.e. to grow inwardly, to keep on discerning God's voice and actions ?

Following Jesus might often put you at odds with what is standard practice or, in line with dominant political and business models, considered to be cutting edge. Its however critical to remember that its in this obedient following that we are able to lead others.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Leaders let it go and let God.

One of the most difficult leadership challenges, is to let go and delegate. It's easier to initiate programs, to organise it, to make it happen, i.e. to control it. Yet, how do you let go off the baby…often your baby.

This is related to the fact that those in power, in leadership generally find it difficult to let go and trust the next layer of leadership to find their place and run with the ball.

I also think that in the church, God is raising up a new way of leadership… its not there yet, but its emerging, missional leadership if you like, yet a critical dimension, is to let go of power…This is also a critical leadership dimension within the Kingdom of God…letting Go and let God.

1) Letting go:
The gospels are not only showcase Jesus’s miracles and power. In fact one could argue that the gospels actually shows how He gave it away. In Luke 9:1-9, which follows an impressive display of power over nature, sickness, disease, Jesus gave control away…he let go…its here about consciously making space for new leaders to come through and blossom, i.e.making space by letting go our need to be in charge, its about developing capacity within others…

Tony Dungy speaks of the regenerative aspect of leadership. He states, ‘its one thing to lead high-performing teams; its quite another thing to leader high-performing teams that can perform at that level time and again…the key to creating new generations of leaders is looking beyond yourself towards others-towards those you have been called to lead-and growing them into new leaders through intentional mentoring relationships, Its about them, not you.’
Jesus wanted to see the team of disciples succeed, felt it was time for his team, to take on the responsibilities as actors, as agents…its not about being recipients, its about sharing.
In a sense Luke is telling this story to the faith community of his time to illustrate that each new generation within their own unique context need to discern anew, what it means to serve Gods kingdom, here and now..a new regenerative culture of leadership which share leadership, therefore assumes mentoring, ‘building up other people’, investing in others, planting the seed of the tree now, so that others in the generations to come, others that might not even know you can sit under the tree and enjoys the fruit thereof.
You can see that the opening up of the space is small group of twelve

Duncan Fletcher, cricketcoach of England, shares another critical insight. He couldn’t possibly coach the throusands of crowds gathering, but he impacted the lives of a few individuals. Today, one of the people he identified and spend time with is the cricket coach of India, Gary Kirsten, perhaps one of the biggest cricket-playing nation. (I don’t think China plays cricket yet)

This is kingdom perspective, this is missional: focussing on the small group, with the view of the crowd, the community, but more so the future….because this is about Gods work.

2)This kind of leadership is build on the understanding that this journey is part of God reaching out to the world, in love. God’s dream is his world. This is about God work in this world, its about God messing with the empires of Herod. Whilst its indeed about the people, the individuals that have been touched, saved, healed, restored, its also about the impact on the principalities and powers…
Why is it possible to let go..its possible because, we know that this is God’s work, God at work and not ours.

Jesus was able to let go, because he knew that this is part of God’s bigger plan…this is a let go that pre-empt the bigger let go, on the cross. Its there where we see the true power of a leader….not to be served, but to serve and give his life as a randsom for many. Giving himself…giving life to the world.

This is also the message from the bread and the wine…this is also the symbolism, that Jesus was willing to let go of control…so that God can be.

This is vulnerability,yet, this is kingdom leadership…