What is the Role of a leader?

There is a Bishop in The Roman Catholic Church in Toowoomba, Australia, who put forward a few suggestions as to how the church could possibly solve some of their staffing issues by considering Women Priests and Married Clergy.

Having expressed my perceptions within the church in the late 1960’s early 1970’s, I could have suggested to him that Leadership in the mainstream churches does not have anything to do with leading people, rather it has a lot to do with maintaining the status quo.

One of the hardest things in so many organisations, as well as the church, is that those in the positions of “leadership” seem to have a belief that “protecting the Fort” is what it is all about.

The desire to define exactly what we believe, how we believe it, how everyone should behave and think, etc, becomes one of those issues that so many so called leaders believe is important.

It’s as though, by defining everything completely, we will be able to protect what we have, making it safe and secure. If we can do that then our future is completely guaranteed. There will be no nasty surprises because we have covered all the bases to ensure nothing untoward happens.

The problem with this kind of thinking is that all we may have been able to do is prevent any of the known dramas from turning up, but we haven’t be highly proactive in preventing the unknown ones, or ones we have no control over, neither have we put much time and energy into moving forward, keeping up with the changes that are happening in the world at a great rate of knots..

The Catholic Church has a belief that clergy must all be single men. It has invested a great amount of energy in propagating this belief and reinforcing it. Like all limiting beliefs it has some original shaky foundation at it’s beginning. However, those in power are unwilling to look at the original beginnings of the belief, rather they search for bits that will prove the belief and ignore the bits that disprove it.

The brain is an interesting bit of material. It has now been shown to spend a massive amount of time and energy on searching to validate what we already have chosen to believe and discount anything that contradicts the belief.

A bit like a Court of Law that will only admit the evidence that will prove the guilt of the accused. Rejecting any evidence to the contrary. A bit like some of the “leaders” in “emerging nations” where dictatorship is the norm.

Yet, I could probably name a few organisations, (I am not going to, I will leave that up to you,) where that style of leadership still exists.

Ego driven leadership has the potential of becoming the death of a business, as the person driving the agenda has the greatest possibility of being totally out of touch with the rest of the people in the organisation.

The role of a true leader is more a role of facilitating the growth of a business or organisation, ensuring that it continues to be relevant and meaningful. To be the focus of an organic process where the whole is monitored and learned from so that it can continue to evolve in the best possible way.

The role of a true leader is to actually sacrifice their own agenda so as to be in a better place to represent the mindset of the whole organisation.

It is the organisation as a whole with its multitude of leaders, each with their own awareness’s, that is tapped into by its real Leader. This collective energy is what makes an organisation thrive and excel.

Whether it is the “Management by Walking about” stuff of the 1990’s or all the later equivalents, to ignore this wealth of information is basically organisational suicide.

The role of the real Leader is to facilitate this process by creating an environment where it is fostered and enthusiastically encouraged.

The Church Leaders who are more interested in maintaining the status quo are stultifying the growth of their organisations.

The politicians who attempt to impose their individual perceptions on their constituents, who look to groups to validate their beliefs rather than being open to new possibilities are likewise killing the political process.

All true Leaders are open to a myriad of possibilities, are willing to entertain ideas that they may not be totally comfortable with, open to trying new ways, ideas and possibilities.

If only we could all open ourselves to the wealth of new possibilities that there are out there rather than limiting our selves with narrow, archaic, thoughts and beliefs.


Posted on May 4, 2011, in Business, growing, honesty, leadership, Management, openness. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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