...self care is never a selfish act- it is simply good stewardship of the only gift I have, the gift I was put on earth to offer to others. Anytime we can listen to true self and give it the care it requires, we do so not only for ourselves but for the many others whose lives we touch.

Parker J. Palmer, Let Your Life Speak

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Organic Leadership

Two streams of the leadership genre have to do with either a leader's spiritual center or, how to win some more friends and influence some more people. This second one is by far the most popular, but leading from the outside with hopes of winning others over is dicey at best.

Even though I recently bought a book by John Maxwell, none of his "proven steps" persuade me to read an almost 300 page book written about them. Henri Nouwen is much closer to my true north- more useful too.

How to be a better leader is a draining subject, because most of the advice is about how to fit into someone's grid. If you take their course or read their book and follow their particular regimen, you will be a more effective leader. If we only follow their steps for success, we will also be better liked and more people will comprise our "following."

Just assuming we could measure this stuff, then what would we have precisely? Is this what success looks like? Moving ourselves and others along on a grid or spread sheet?

The symptoms of our living to please everyone's expectations? Disappointment, fatigue, boredom, and burn out. In regard to others that live and serve with us, the paradigm ending in our success makes the contributions of others about us, not them. Others are manipulated and they too may eventually burn out. But we don't know the intentions of others, and we don't control their behaviors or choices, so why base our effectiveness as a leader on what we really have no control over?

A good example is the mentoring relationship, as we cannot cajole anyone into our being their mentor. Like many relationships that are based on our freedom to choose, a more helpful course is to take responsibility for ourselves. It's about self control. This is better than wasting our energy trying to move others where we think they should go. The only one we have any hope of changing and improving is our own self!! Too, the Christian gospel is about the Holy Spirit forming people the way they should go. That, too, is a God- work.

1 comment:

  1. Someone may find the book helpful, just not me. That's why I'm donating it.


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Having been in ordained ministry in the UMC for 34 years, I've experienced the truth that although, clergy are frequently present for others, no one can offer what they don't have.That's why if you're a clergy person, you need someone who will listen to you. Not the random next closest person available, but rather someone like a spiritual director, a therapist, a peer who can be fully present to you. I hope the links and posts you find here will give you ideas, humor, hope and encouragement. Scott Endress

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