Among the congregations I know, two challenges loom especially large for leaders: maintaining a clear focus amid competing agendas, and bringing about needed change when people are resistant or at best ambivalent about change. With that context in mind, here are ten rules of leadership, more or less in the order in which I learned them.
A year ago my wife took a leave from teaching middle school to enter a graduate program in school administration. I soon noticed that she and her colleagues were being assigned lots of reading on the topic of leadership, especially on the role of a leader in times of institutional change.
If you are a member of one of the thousands of congregations or religious nonprofits that are in the middle of "strategic planning" or "visioning" or "long-term planning," this book is for you. If you have been waiting for a hands-on sequel to Robert Greenleaf's 1977 Servant Leadership: A Journey into the Nature of Legitimate Power and Greatness, wait no longer.
My favorite Kierkegaardian parable is called “The Man Who Walked Backwards.” The Danish philosopher was particularly hard on religious professionals, and claimed that inconsistent behaviors most often accompany exorbitant professions of good intentions: