Archive for the ‘Leadership’ Category

Pause for School Work

December 5, 2016 Leave a comment

I’m fortunate to have returned to school to earn an advanced degree in leadership.

So I will take another pause, like I did back in 2010, to complete a challenge before returning to 9-Year Bible.


Categories: Leadership

Leadership Without Easy Answers by Ronald A. Heifetz

January 2, 2014 Leave a comment

I received a copy of this book at a Network Team Institute in Albany last November.

My impressions of this book are heavily influenced by my experiences with the Regents Reform Agenda implementation here in New York.

First, it is interesting that Albany has set its eyes east for inspiration. The Harvard researcher Dr. Daniel Koretz, along with Dr. Howard T. Everson from CUNY, provided the NYS Education Department the data analysis necessary to set “college-ready” marks on Regents exams in Algebra and English. This book, too, comes from a Harvard professor. This does not make the books claims invalid, but it does bias my view.

Second, the book paints with broad strokes and illustrates principles of leadership with surprising detail. This is an impressive accomplishment.

I found the author’s analysis of three different types of leadership situations very useful:

Situation Problem definition Solution and implementation Primary locus of responsibility for the work Kind of work
Type I Clear Clear Expert Technical
Type II Clear Requires learning Expert and individual Technical and adaptive
Type III Requires learning Requires learning Individual > expert Adaptive

Dr. Heifetz’s distinction between technical and adaptive leadership behaviors is also extremely insightful:

Social function Technical problem Adaptive problem
Direction Expert provides problem definition and solution Expert identifies the adaptive challenge, provides diagnosis of condition, and produces questions about problem definitions and solutions
Protection Expert protects from external threat Expert discloses external threat
Role orientation Expert orients Expert disorients current roles, or resists pressure to orient people in new roles too quickly
Controlling conflict Expert restores order Expert exposes conflict, or lets it emerge
Norm maintenance Expert maintains norms Expert challenges norms, or allows them to be challenged

The author then suggests the following elements of effective leadership:

  • identifying the adaptive challenge
  • keeping distress within a productive range
  • directing attention to ripening issues and not diversions
  • giving the work back to the people
  • protecting voices of leadership in the community

Finally, Dr. Heifetz provides the leader seven steps to handling the burden of leadership:

  1. get on the balcony
  2. distinguish self from role
  3. externalize the conflict
  4. use partners
  5. listen, using oneself as data
  6. find a sanctuary
  7. preserve a sense of purpose

It is this final point, leading from a strong sense of the importance of the work, that begins and ends the author’s thesis and analysis.

Without purpose, it is impossible to judge the value and effectiveness of a leader’s work.

At times, I shook my head wondering how our leaders in Albany plan to implement these concepts. I see New York repeatedly implementing technical solutions to adaptive problems.

Although this book was dense and difficult to get through, I highly recommend it. It is deep and wide.

Categories: book review, Leadership

Qualities of a Church Leader

November 29, 2013 Leave a comment

An elder must be without blame. He must be faithful to his wife. His children must be believers. They must not give anyone a reason to say that they are wild and don’t obey.

A church leader is trusted with God’s work. That’s why he must be without blame. He must not look after only his own interests. He must not get angry easily. He must not get drunk. He must not push people around. He must not try to get money by cheating people.

Instead, he must welcome people into his home. He must love what is good. He must control his mind and feelings. He must do what is right. He must be holy. He must control what his body longs for. The message as it has been taught can be trusted. He must hold firmly to it. Then he will be able to use true teaching to comfort others and build them up. He will be able to prove that people who oppose it are wrong (Titus 1:6-9, NIrV).

Categories: Church, Leadership, Titus

Confidence in Leaders

October 29, 2012 Leave a comment

Verse 17 presents an interesting challenge. We are told to submit to our leaders.

What if a leader is on the wrong track?

How do we encourage them to do the right thing without making their service difficult and unpleasant?

Categories: Hebrews, Leadership

Elders and Deacons

March 23, 2009 Leave a comment

Augusta, Georgia, United States.Image via Wikipedia

Paul writes that people who desire to take leadership in the church have an admirable goal.

This reminds me of a conversation I had once with a friend. We discussed volunteering, and I asked why anyone would ever subject themselves to school board service. It’s stressful and unpaid.

He replied that his brother had been a school board president, and that the goal was to help the schools improve and provide a top-notch education.

I imagine that this should be the motivation of church elders and deacons, too.

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