I received a thought-provoking email recently.
It read like this:
“Something I have been musing upon lately is the practical qualities of a ‘good’ church leader. (Of course, you would first have to define ‘good,’ to whom? In what way?) Certainly, we can easily fall back on the ‘Christ-like’ attributes, which would never be wrong! But I think we have all seen an amazingly Christ-like bishop who could not effectively lead a ward council or bishopric meeting and was constantly disorganized. Or maybe you have a very organized/administratively savvy EQP who is just not charismatic (nobody likes him). Or a Relief Society president who has her ministering assignments/interviews locked down, plans THE BEST activities, is liked by all, but lacks that spiritual spark. Maybe the ability to give inspiring/memorable talks, lessons, etc. should also feature on the list…”
This question, “What makes a ‘good’ church leader?” is the question Leading Saints was created to chase.
The difficult part of this question is that there are as many answers as there are people in your ward, and that really makes leadership difficult for whomever is in that position.
I’ll be the first to recognize that everyone is born with some traits that make them a good leader as well as some traits that limit them as a leader.
However, as leaders, we shouldn’t just settle with our genetics and try to lead.
As we learn from Ryan Gottfredson’s research, we never lose the ability to vertically develop.
We all have the ability to refine our in-born traits and acquire new skill sets and character that will improve our leadership ability generally.
This gets complicated with a lay leadership model like ours where little to no leadership development is available for ambitious leaders.
Yes, it’s true.
The vast majority of church leaders in our faith still don’t know of Leading Saints.
(That’s why you should send a leader you know a link to your favorite Leading Saints resource.) 😊
But I digress…
So, in our faith tradition, what does make a “good” leader?
Regardless of skill set, character development, or use of a fantastic resource like Leading Saints, I think “good” leadership can be reached with a simple intention.
Here’s that intention:
A “good” church leader strives to articulate their personal expectations as a leader while also striving to understand the expectations of their followers and doing their best to match the two.
“This is what I think I should offer, and this is what I understand you want.”
The consistent quest for matching up these two expectations will lead to the revelation necessary to at least get close to the mark.
If I know my leader is striving to understand my expectations and also taking time to explain theirs, then I can sit happily in that organization and hang with the leader as they struggle with any personal limitation.
So, with that said…
What is your understood expectation as a leader?
And / or what is your expectation for your church leader?
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