Something leaders can do immediately

Some Short Term Goals for Spiritual Leaders (Things one can do immediately)

Dedicating oneself to leadership may well be the work of a lifetime, but there are plenty of strategies anyone can implement immediately. These are strategies that get things done but also get an individual thinking in different ways about leadership.

1. Learn more about leadership

Study leadership and do not presume you are a leader. Leadership does not just happen. It is the result of studied commitment. You study how to do the job like a physician learns surgery.

2. Behave in ways that are consistent with your stated values of your leadership.

Audit your own reactions. Religious traditions have always taught followers to examine their consciences on the failures of the day. Make sure that you examine yourselves on your leadership. That is where you spend most of your day, every day.

3. Give credit to others whenever possible.

Good leadership is nearly always invisible, someone else gets the credit.

4. Listen to followers.

Listening creates a different atmosphere and builds strength in others. This means making a deliberate decision to talk less in meetings and listen more, identifying at the end of each meeting what you have learned from followers. Learn what bugs your people and react to problems by listening first. Genuine listening includes openness to the needs, motives, and hopes of followers.

5. Establish ownership for everything you do.

This means excelling in communication and collaborative discussion. If institutional priorities are only the priorities of a few, they can neither expect nor do they deserve significant support.

6. Learn to be an executive.

Be executive not only to your boards but particularly to the ideas and visions of those you serve. Authentic leadership percolates up from the grassroots, it does not filter down from high up in the structure.

7. Stop making decisions.

Invite everyone to assume responsibility. So, strengthen people by sharing information and power and increasing their discretion and visibility.

8. Get out of the way.

Examine your organization to get rid of unnecessary rules and regulations that put controls on others initiative. Belasco suggests, ARestrain yourself from helping people out of their responsibilities.

9. Insist on serving, even in the face of power.

If your boss continues to be autocratic, you must still live as a faith-filled leader, dedicated to servant leadership. You may have to tolerate autocratic behavior no matter how benevolent it may be, but you neither have to endorse it nor imitate it. If you work with autocrats do not participate it will only encourage them.

10. Improve participation in decision-making.

Establish pilot programs within the system or organization. You can not be a spiritual leader whose leadership includes a vision of service while preserving an autocratic environment.

11. Make hope a priority.

Affirm people, give them high but attainable goals, challenge and reward especially with natural personal rewards of appreciation. The most significant rewards in working life today do not cost anything. A good leader can maintain a strong sense of urgency to attain the group=s goal. This inspires hope in others

12. Celebrate your people’s successes.

Be a cheerleader, scheduling celebrations at all levels of your organization and encourage others to do so.42 Honor people’s key achievements with public recognition. Not only celebrate when someone reaches a goal, but also when someone reaches their potential. Celebration should not become routine and at times even meaningless, rather find opportunities to surprise people with a celebration of their successes.

13. Deepen reflection in life.

A spiritual leader is nourished by reflection and knows that vision, creativity and imaginative resolve come from prayerful reflection. The leap of imagination, the ability to find alternatives that no one else sees, the skill to identify common ground in disparate data—these  skills are related to reflection and prayer.

All leadership development is ultimately self-development and little else will help our growth as human beings and as Christians as much as a commitment to leadership. Spiritual leadership is not just another management style. It is the result of a conversion and it begins with a renewal of attitudes. While spiritual leadership is an attractive vision it is clear that not many individuals are willing to become this kind of leaders. It is the result of a deliberate personal choice, it requires a commitment in love, and it includes significant sacrifice. Spiritual leadership is very costly. It is neither a technique, nor a strategy in a long range plan. It is way of life, results from conversion, changes the whole focus of one’s way of dealing with others. It is also the most significant vision of leadership for the generation ahead.

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About Leonard Doohan

Dr. Leonard Doohan is Professor Emeritus at Gonzaga University where he was a professor of religious studies for 27 years and Dean of the Graduate School for 13 years. He has written 17 books and 160 articles and has given over 350 workshops throughout the US, Canada, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and the Far East. Leonard's recent books include Spiritual Leadership: the Quest for Integrity, in 2007, Enjoying Retirement: Living Life to the Fullest, in 2010, and Courageous Hope: The Call of Leadership, in 2011. Leonard's wife is Helen who was also a Professor Emerita at Gonzaga, specializing in the writings of Paul.

Posted on December 18, 2011, in Leadership and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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