Overcoming obstacles to change

Overcoming obstacles to change

Leading is a challenge even in the most tranquil of circumstances within congregations today. When you add the layer of introducing or working toward change on top of the myriad of things already required, “challenging” may feel too soft a…

Eight Ways to Kill an Organization

I’ve done enough consultations long enough and studied organizations carefully enough to recognize a pattern in some organizations. I refer here to those whose organizations, some young, some old, that ended their institutional lifespan. Though many were surprised by the…

How To Take A Stand

Inevitably, leaders will encounter times when they will need to take a stand in the midst of crisis and polarization. At those times, common temptations are: (1) make people feel better, (2) try to reason with unreasonable people, (3) win…

Physics for Leaders

A friend of mine, one year into his leadership role, asked in frustration, “Why is this work so hard?!” I’m not sure I know the answer to that question. Some jobs are just more challenging due to the complexity of…

Clergy Colloquies to Help Get You Out of Your Rut

It’s worth confessing: most of us, at some point, settle into a comfortable professional routine (a rut, really) that intersects with the achievement of a certain level of competence and the expectations placed on us about the job. Once we…

Traits of a well-defined leader

I came across some notes from a presentation by my friend, Ken Hurto, former faculty member in the Leadership in Ministry Workshops (www.leadershipinministry.com). Ken’s presentation on leadership was titled “Being a Lighthouse and Not a Bulldozer.”…

The First Qualification of a Leader

Leonard Mlodinow stated, “Today’s society bestows rewards, as never before, upon those who are comfortable with change, and it may punish those who are not, for what used to be the safe terrain of stability is now often a dangerous…

Functioning At Your Best as Leader

Someone once asked an imaginative question: “What if some day scientists discovered a differentiation gene?” It was a fun question to ponder, but, genes don’t work the way most of us imagine. Bowen’s Scale of Differentiation posits that one characteristic…

The Box Story

I counseled a parishioner who was dissatisfied with his work for a religious agency.

“I can do the work,” he said, “but my heart is not in it.”

Meanwhile, he was pondering the possibility of a new job that was…

Spiritual Leadership During Turbulent Times

During periods of societal regression, people may feel more entitled to even their bad behavior.

They may feel they have legitimate “excuses” for behaving as they do and that this should be understood and accepted no matter what the negative…

How Do You Measure Success?

I encountered one of the most centering definitions of success during high school.

It was by Ralph Waldo Emerson.

His more humanistic definition of success goes: “To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the…

Triangle Games

The concept of the emotional triangle often is referred to as the “building block” for emotional process dynamics in relationship systems (families, churches, organizations, etc.).

Dual relationships (one on one) are difficult to maintain so it does not take long…

Do Not Judge

At a conference I experienced that familiar unsettling situation where an audience member asks a question, you do the best you can to respond on your feet in-the-moment, only to later, after the event is over, come up with a…

Leaving Well

I have had many conversations with clergy who are contemplating leaving their ministry settings.

It’s not unusual for these consultations to come in waves, and it is always interesting that they do.

It seems that issues, crises, fads, and topics…

Nine Things I Learned About Leadership (So Far)

One axiom about vocations is that it takes about three years to learn a job and about four and a half years to get competent at it.

It’s something I tell seminarians as a caution about the complex work of…

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