Thursday, May 27, 2010

Episcopal Leadership

News flash from College for Bishops: The good news is that my scores as a "transfomational leader" are much improved from the marks I got when I'd only been in Nevada for 6 weeks. (Grading was done each time by some of the staff and a few clergy). I'm glad it didn't go the other way.

But the big footnote on that "improved" score is that I don't believe in the transformatoinal leadership model anyway. It's too individual, too heroic, too hiearchical, too top down. We have a program this afternoon on "complexity leadership" which strikes me as far more appropriate for the church, especially a church committed to Ministry of All Baptized. It's about groups working together as equals instead of working under the same boss. Leadership is not top down. It is leading out to each other as equals and, when the administrative structure is hiearrachical, it's leading up, speaking up, offering our insights. Complexity leadership is about the interactions among group members that affect the whole group for good or for ill. This is much more the kind of leadership I believe in -- and most of my worst mistakes have come from having gotten hoodwinked into trying to lead the old fashioned transformational way.

My main job needs to be enabling groups of people to come together for creative, innovative interaction. The Ministry Development Commission has been especially creative and proactive recently. I feel good about my small part in midwifing the birth of that group -- but the creative leadership is being done by them.

Often people think the bishop is a ruler, the one who calls the shots. But that's not what our vows say, and it is rarely what the canons allow. We are more often facilitators and spiritual guides. The whole point of the English Reformation was to shift authority away form purple shirted individuals barking orders into the hands of groups of Christians, working through issues in fellowship.

The Church is a context for people to grow into the full stature of Christ. People don't grow through cow towing to domination. People grow thourgh convesation and fellowship, learning to speak thier own minds then work togther, especially when we don't all agree.

Tyranny is far more efficient than democracy. But democracy is more human. The Church needs to be human, deeply human -- that is better than efficient.