Transformational Leadership

After reading some thoughts on how one struggles with “leadership” in the his job and overhearing how some Christians practice leadership even in so called “Christian ministry” (which sickens me honestly), I walked through Transformational Leadership: Max DePree – Todd Hunter Lecture Notes again to get some sanity and was captured by the heart warming-mind sharpening insights either from Max or Todd in bold (this is going to be long with my earthly responses in between):

Leadership is an art to be learned over time, not simply by reading books. Leadership is more a weaving of relationships than an amassing of information…and thus hard to pin down in every detail.

I remember reading from John Maxwell to Stephen Covey, from Peter Senge to Warren Bennis, you name it. Been to the seminars, overloaded before and downloaded as well. Good stuff, but DePree liberates so nicely and beautifully. Simple and absolutely right!

Though necessary and desirable, it is easy to include people procedurally in committees, lunches, or even in profits, just as it is easy to write contracts.

It is more difficult, but far more important, to be committed to a corporate concept of persons, the diversity of human gifts, covenantal relationships, lavish communications, including everyone, and believing that leadership is a condition of indebtedness.

Yeah … copying a job description is peanuts, writing contracts is chicken feet for some huh? (not me!). Anyway, the more important stuff is always slower, time consuming, relationally demanding … not short cuts here. The achiever in me wants fast results – efficient and effective work. The human in me craves for relationships that flourish as well. Can we have both? lots of effort here!

What is real? Reality? The most real? Great leadership avoids the deceptive simplicity of a single bottom line. Rather, having a self-perception faithful to reality, it demonstrates a quality of leadership and service arising from an understanding of and commitment to a common good, by which Max means a quality of life that touches every one.

It is fundamental that leaders endorse the concept of persons being created in the image of God, and that God has done this creating in a “population mix”. The “good goods” of the art of leadership is the sacred (dedicated to God) nature of our relationships.

Sad to hear that Christian businesses and even ministries profess “GOD” but seem to have a “functional athesim” in their midst (please refer to the notes for explanation on this!). How tragic. This angers me, and frustrates the real plans fo GOD. Lots of repenting needed – lots of changing … advertising results and glory makes no difference to me. I’ll give GOD the glory … the methodologies and actions speaks louder than professed philosophies of ministry. Maybe I’m harsh, I don’t want to doubt people’s integrity or sincerity … but what’s happening I believe is destructive … in a subtle way. The potential and creativity is stiffled or squashed .. It’s sad when one want to improve the quality of life of others while destroying their own.

A legalistic atmosphere controlled merely by things like rules and job descriptions creates an environment of spiritual and psychological mediocrity that paralyzes the noblest impulses of a workforce.

On the other hand, a more covenantal, relational approach-where words like love, warmth and personal chemistry dominate–releases creativity, risk-taking and new ideas.

Short-term solutions leading to long-term problems. It’s tough in Malaysia where all talk is development, investment, expansion, keeping afloat, and beating the competition, etc. Listening for three years to Young Adults in BLC has made me conclude … many noble impulses are already paralyzed if not going to. And worse is when this is brought into the Christian community …Red Alert …

The “glory” (dignity) of work: work properly understood and practiced is good for the soul; it is one of our greatest privileges. People are nourished by transforming work, growth and reaching their potential. Only by continually renewing its members can an organization continually renew itself. A vital organization is full of vital people.

I hear it again and again … “Wouldn’t it be nice if I don’t need to work?” That’s how low work is nowadays? Any revolutionaries out there … before we just surrender and hide in our cocoons hoping the world will change by itself?

The art of leadership is liberating people to do what is required of them in the most effective and humane way possible. Thus the leader is the “servant” of his followers in that he removes the obstacles that prevent them from doing their job. In short, the true leader enables his or her followers to realize their full potential.

The driving force in our organizations ought not be goal achievement or asset management or quantifiable growth, important as these are. Rather, our society badly needs organizations and people that move relentlessly toward reaching their potential

the most effective and humane way possible. I like that. We’re not just here to have a “buddy-buddy” feel good hug. No we’re here to get things done … EFFECTIVENESS is crucial but not at the expense of HUMANITY. Can we Christians set the trend? Thanks Max De pree for pioneering the way…

In very real change, risk seems to be the essential ingredient. The success of both innovation and renewal in organizations depends on the degree of risk the group is prepared to take. “Risks” are the opportunity to move closer to our potential. BUT…
1. Risks involve ambiguity and uncertainty
2. Risks result in a kind of learning available in no other way
3. Risks may entail a loss of control and an acceptance of vulnerability
4. Risks accompany abandoning the old, but abandoning the old makes way for the new
– Neutral Zone
– New Beginnings
5.Risks on the part of individuals are the only way to improve our world
6. Humility invites risk; pride discourages it

“Faith is spelt R-I-S-K” … I always loved the way John Wimber said that .. loved it. Steve Sjogren says “Ready, Fire, Aim”. Mike Yaconelli taught me to “Jump First, Fear Later” .. enough said.

Heal people with trust, caring and “forgetfulness”. When trust permeates a group, great things are possible. (Trust helps us get by when something or someone has gone wrong or made a serious mistake. Trust is rooted in a personal commitment to respect others and to take everyone seriously. Trust is earned by being able to be depended on to consistently and competently do the right thing for the organization and it’s people. It cannot be commanded, bought, inherited or enforced.)

It’s hard to Trust people nowadays … and I’m not sure whether I can ever too easily trust people .. somehow the older we get the bank account of trust runs lower especially if we’ve been betrayed before. There’s always that bugging thought in our minds, Can I trust this person? Time will tell …

But, I can grow into a person who’s “Trustworthy”. I can allow GOD to shape me into someone others can trust. I know I’ve flopped before, I’ve messed up, and I’ve stumbled. But the way of Trust is one way I know I can’t do with out. So help me GOD!

Know that organizations are social environments; they are “whole life” not just places of making money. They need to have good “order”; that is civility, good manners, great communication, sensitivity and forgiveness, etc.

“whole life” and not just places of making money. That’s not the way many people around me see it … but we spend so much time at work at least 40hours a week. .. most of us more than that! Time to change the way we look at work .. that’s the place to start … personal opinions and viewpoints aren’t going to get us there. Getting plugged into GOD”s story as revealed in the Scripture is a better deal starting with Genesis 1 and ending with the book of Revelation.

The challenge presented by DePree’s philosophy is not like the intellectual demands of rocket science or brain surgery. It is far more challenging; it requires serious personal growth and development. We must first be transformed before we can become transformational leaders. The organization can never be something that I, as a member, don’t choose to be. We cannot become what we need to be by remaining what we are.

Personal change precedes corporate change … New Wine needs New Wineskins but New Wineskins need New Wine. Internal and external change go hand in hand … the real change in organizations happen when people change … and a group of people change starting one by one. It’s stating the obvious … I know. We forget …

We are not victims of our corporate cultures, we are co-creators of them. Thus, grow and change as a person. Learn to embody selfless, secure love. Be a model, because leaders reproduce in kind.

I like that! We are not victms . We are co-creators .. It’s great when one is included to play and not sidelined.

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