Leadership #1 – Leadership as mutual and not removed

I’ve almost finished a thesis on leadership development so thought I might share some of the insights that have been inspiring me. First up from Henri Nouwen.

..ministry is a mutual experience.. He wants us to minister not as ‘professionals’ who know their clients problems and take care of them, but as vulnerable brothers and sisters who know and are known, who care and are cared for, who forgive and are being forgiven, who love and are being loved. Somehow we have come to believe that good leadership requires a safe distance from those we are called to lead. Medicine, psychiatry etc all offer us models in which ‘service’ takes place in a one-way direction. But how can we lay down our lives for those we do not allow to enter into deep personal relationship with us?

When members of a community of faith cannot truly know and love their shepherd, shepherding quickly becomes a subtle way of exercising power over others, and begins to show authoritarian and dictatorial traits…  … the leadership about which Jesus speaks is of a radically different kind than that offered by the world. It is servant leadership in which the leader is a vulnerable servant who needs the people as much as the people need their leader.

From In the Name of Jesus: Reflections on Christian Leadership


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