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the Christian ministry of the whole people of God.

What followers want of leaders

Let my people grow is the title of a two-day conference just ended, run by the London Institute of Contemporary Christianity with the explicit motive of exploring what it means to be a disciple-making church.  Maybe more anon, but this eReflection's agenda is not to explore how the church works, but faith in life, 24/7.  One input was particularly relevant to this topic: Jill Garrett, Director of Leadership Development at Caret shared details of workplace research on leadership, and in particular what ‘followers’ want from leaders.  For example, in The Harder they Fall, Kramer (2003) asks “What is different about business leaders who rise to the top and stay there?”  His list is:

  • They simplify their lives, remaining humble and ‘awfully ordinary’.
  • They shine their light on their weaknesses.
  • They talk to ‘ordinary people’ to uncover the truth.
  • They sweat the small stuff; they want to get things done right because standards matter.
  • They reflect more.

From Good to Great, Collins (2001), more of the similar for a ‘Level 5 Leader’, eg the pithy:

  • Looks into the mirror to apportion blame.
  • Looks out of the window, not into the mirror, to accredit successes.

Coming from the other direction, a 2001 Chartered Management Institute survey of what managers most look for in leaders came up with: inspiration (55%), strategic thinking (41%), forward-looking (36%), honesty (26%), fair-mindedness (23%), courage (21%), supportiveness (20%), knowledge (19%).  Another key finding was that: “The majority of the respondents (77%) strongly endorsed a ‘relational’ model of leadership in which the primary task of leaders is to shape compelling organisational goals and unlock the potential of others to achieve them. All our interviewee groups also agreed with this model.  Nevertheless many respondents recognised that strong, directive leadership, as identified in an ‘individual’ model was necessary in some circumstances.”

Christians should not be surprised that all these are exactly what one would expect from a Christian view of humankind, made in the image of God, every one of them loved by him.  As an exercise, what in the Bible encourages: humility; vision; taking the blame when it's ours to take; enabling, then praising others’ success; relating to colleagues and offering support; doing everything as well as possible; bringing the details of the job before God in prayer?

Conclusion: if we allow ourselves progressively to be changed into the likeness of Christ, we will become better at our jobs as well! Or, as CS Lewis noted: “I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen, not just because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.”

I'm sorry that there's been only one reflection this last month.  Interesting to ponder why: some success in eLearning take-up this Lent, so much time needed to hone Being Beside Someone Bereaved and to facilitate other courses, hence the need to ‘get out more’.  Memo to self: get the balance right between spending time with Christians and those who are not yet. 

Yours in Christ

Peter Nicholls

Conclusion: if we allow ourselves progressively to be changed into the likeness of Christ, we will become better at our jobs as well!

Or, as CS Lewis noted: “I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen, not just because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.”

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