Tuesday, August 03, 2010
developing change leaders book review – Ch 7 Developmental approaches
I’m speaking to a group of church leaders on Thursday on the topic of mission as innovation, and again in a few weeks to another group on change, so it’s back to a book review of Paul Aitken and Malcolm Higgs Developing Change Leaders: The principles and practices of change leadership development. (For the review to date: Chapter one here. Chapter two is here. Chapter three is here. Chapter four is here. Chapter five is here. Chapter six is here)
First, great (amazing really) to see an opening quote (from Dance of Leadership, The: The Call for Soul in 21st Century Leadership, by Kiwi author, Peter Cammock.
Leadership is a dance, in which leaders and followers jointly respond to the rhythm and call of a particular social context, within which leaders draw from deep wells of collective experience and energy, to engage followers around transforming visions of change and lead them in the collective creation of compelling futures.
This suggests a focus away from leader-centric models of leadership, to the relational aspects of collective change leadership. Collins is cited, that great leaders have two essential dimensions – humilty and persistence.
Then comes a fascinating section (165-173) naming ways leaders can develop. Things like move to a foreign culture, shadow an arbitrator, become a volunteer.
This is followed by a number of case studies of leadership development within organisations. Let me take one, that of developing emerging leaders in the New Zealand public sector. This involved a development centre and a leadership program. The focus was based around a set of leadership competencies. The focus was an experiential learning through peer challenge, self-revelation and team learning in a safe environment.
Each person developed a portfolio, to document their learning over 9 months through the following stages.
- Stage 1 involved identifying prior leadership experience
- Stage 2 involved some input (a 1 week course) combined with personal goal setting around “lever” activity (self-awareness, learning as a leader, values and beliefs, interpersonal intelligence, communication skills, behaviour modeling)
- Stage 3 involved leading a strategic change project
I can’t help putting all this alongside the leadership training I experienced, which was mainly lectures on the importance of vision and how it worked in a large church.
I begin to reflect that some of the “lever” activities are to some extent embedded in some dimensions of ministerial training, but need to be made more explicit and clear. I see the challenge of the modernist mindset that equates teaching with content rather than learning. I see echoes between what we hope to do with our new Innovation stream in the new Bachelor of Ministry, especially Stage 1, the Introduction to Formation topic and Stage 3, the invitation into a practical project over the course of the training. I wonder what it would look like for a denomination to do this with their existing ministers and to think about the Missional Church Leadership course I offer, and did offer to ministers in New Zealand. What was the fruit and what changes could be made?