Sunday, November 25, 2012

"... influencing human behaviour to accomplish a mission ..."

I had hoped to post an in depth response to the recent vote on female bishops in the Church of England, but due to a computer meltdown I'm working from an unfamiliar machine.  Instead, I'll publish (as promised) the next installment of my responses to the Qu'Appelle Diocesan Profile.

What is your understanding of the nature of Christian Leadership, and how would you see that functioning in light of the diocesan profile?

Clearly any discussion of Christian leadership must begin with Jesus, who came not to be served, but to serve. Christian leadership – and, frankly, any kind of effective leadership – is focused not on the leader, but on the led.

Transformational leaders change the culture of the body they lead. I think principally they do this by example. They also do it by engaging their people more closely and more personally. I’m a big fan of LBWA (Leadership By Walking Around). Practically, that means a Bishop who is on the road in the Diocese, for whom St. Cuthbert’s House is not a workplace, but a base of operation – as our church buildings are bases for mission.

The Canadian Navy Leadership Manual defines leadership as, “the art of influencing human behaviour to accomplish a mission . . .” That’s not a bad place to start. Effective leadership will require different approaches at different times. While some situations may require the leader to be very direct, the “Father Knows Best” approach is generally unhelpful. People will own the mission more effectively if they are led to a decision rather than compelled. Sometimes effective leadership requires the leader to let people make their own mistakes in order to learn from them. And one of the principal tasks of any leader is to develop the leadership capacity of others. In the latter part of my naval career, my most important responsibility was teaching and mentoring young officers to become effective leaders.

If our next Bishop can focus on the lives of the parishes and congregations and on strengthening the lay and ordained leadership of the Diocese, we will be well on our way to accomplishing our mission.

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