in this series of posts (part 1, overview; part 2, competency facilitator; part 3, culture evangelist; part 4, mission curator, part 5, storytelling host, part 6, champion of hope, part 7, uniqueness dj, part 8, contextualization czar, and part 9, trust guard) i’m ruminating on the suggestion that leadership in the church needs to move away from the traditional notions of hierarchical power we’ve embraced for so long. and i’m unpacking 9 new metaphors for “powerless leadership”. here is the final metaphor (#9):
i’m going to keep this short and to the point, since this series has gone on long enough (too long, possibly), and because i’ve written about collaboration multiple times in the midst of the other 8 metaphors.
here’s a strong statement for your consideration: the top three skills needed to be an effective leader in the twenty-tens are…
2. contextualization insight and praxis
3. a passion for and skill in hosting collaboration
a reminder of where this blog series began:
power-based leadership has no place in the church.
(and: power-based leadership is a culturally-waning paradigm in all contexts, because we live in a wiki, prosumer culture.)
here’s a paradigmatic shift idea: church leadership needs to move from a paradigm of control to one of facilitation.
in this context: facilitation = identifying and nurturing competencies
collaboration is messy. it can be cumbersome. it can create political and relational tensions. but it is better is just about every way. collaboration is a reflection of the various giftings paul writes about, and a reflection of each person’s imago dei, and a reflection of the priesthood of all believers.
and collaboration works at a practical level: whatever hierarchical power a leader might forfeit by leading collaboratively is gained by an order of magnitude in terms of buy-in, shared ownership of mission, creativity, follow-through, quantity of output, breaking up group think, avoiding stupid errors and blind alleys, and all sort of other CYA dead ends.
this is the biggest lesson i learned in my years of leadership at ys — particularly when it came to the leadership team. when we operated collaboratively, we kicked butt and had a blast doing it. when we were forced to operate in more traditional top-down decision-making modalities, the fun went away, the mission lost focus, and the ministry suffered.
here’s a thought to chew on: collaboration requires leading from within, not leading from out in front.
what would this look like for you?
what would it require you give up?
what would you have to risk?
what might you gain?