Spiritual leaders lead others to a shared vision

In a recent blog I shared with you some ideas concerning a spiritual leader’s responsibility to train others to a shared vision. Here I continue those ideas.

Leaders serve as facilitators and animators of a common vision.  They know that no individual owns the vision to share with followers, but that the vision is built around that shared identity of the group.  Shared values in a healthy corporate culture are the most important unifying force of the group. A good leader will achieve this through a process of vision development. The group participates in predetermining the vision either by their involvement or apathy.  Sometimes a group will need a leader to identify their distinctive contributions, selecting, synthesizing, articulating, and revising the group’s values.  Groups often cannot express their own mission, but they can recognize it when a leader they trust articulates their enduring values for them. Thus a leader can focus others’ attention and create in them a pervading passionate commitment for a vision that is unknowingly within them.  A leader attains consensus by making conscious what lies unconscious in the followers, calling them to articulate what is important to them in the core of their being.

Identifying a shared vision will require collaborative styles of learning, new group techniques for sharing ideas, and new skills of consultation, dialogue, group goal-setting, and strategic planning.  The group together seeks solutions, finds the common ground of unity and community, and searches for the synergy that common problem solving and planning can produce.  These creative forms of collaboration expand the group’s thinking, and can generate new meaning to the group’s decisions.  These early efforts to identify a shared vision is an experience of interdependency.

The leader will push down as far as possible not only consultation and decision making but also planning, strategizing, and goal setting.  The team or group takes over the role of the hierarchy in an organization.  However, to assure that the vision is shared within the organization, the leader will train groups to keep others in the next group above or below them informed about the essential components of the vision.

To identify a shared vision, a leader appreciates that the vision must turn inward to the group, but the focus must be on the people who are served by the vision.  He or she will take the vision seriously enough to seek out needed resources to attain it.  Identifying a shared vision cannot be restricted to one’s working life since a vision that enthuses people will do so because it touches their core values that will be the same in personal, community, and social life.

Groups do not pursue a vision that they do not own.  Vision refers to what a group is convinced it should be doing in a given time and situation.  Leaders must generate ownership of the vision they find in themselves and their followers; and this can take a long time, and much patience and fortitude. It is often said that leaders must leave followers a legacy, and surely it is the legacy that everyone has a part of the vision; everyone is individually important to the common enterprise.

Advertisements

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 April 19, 2014, in Leadership, Leadership and values, Leadership and vision, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

Your comments are welcome

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: