March 12th, 2007

turtle

Leadership

I had to give a presentation on leadership to the students at our Lay Speakers Course this last weekend. This is the essence of what I led them through.

We started with half the group reading the story of Ezra and the other half the story of Nehemiah. Both men were leaders dealing with the same set of issues: the reconstruction of Jerusalem; outside threats; the mulishness of the people. But when faced with the don't-wannas from those they were leading, the two men react very differently. Ezra tears his garments and prostrates himself in the Temple to plead for the people; Nehemiah drags them around by the beard and makes them obey.

Part of the reason for their different approaches to leadership is their different roles: Ezra is a priest, Nehemiah a commander. Part of it, too, may be due to personality. In either case, there are several leadership styles which various leaders might adopt in a given situation. But choosing one which works for you (in your role as laity or clergy, or to suit your personality) is not the substance of leadership.

The functions of leadership we covered were:
Vision;
Guardianship;
Representation;
Brokering the Deal.
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