Monday, June 24, 2013

the thinner the skin of leadership? U2, Kite, Jesus and change

’cause hardness, it sets in
You need some protection
The thinner the skin
– U2, Kite

I’ve been reflecting a lot on leadership recently. There are public dimensions to being in a role like Principal. Lots of people provide opinions on how things could be, on how the job should be done. If change happens, then there are all sorts of unintended consequences. Human responses to change are natural, important, and need to be heard. As U2 say, “the thinner the skin,” the more these opinions are taken on board.

I’ve observed a number of responses, a number of ways that “protection” is sought.

One is to hide, to avoid the intensity of relationships by being less available. This can be physically, by finding other places to be. This can be internally, by withdrawing within oneself.

Another is cynicism, to find oneself more and more often with arms folded, seeing the negative side of everything.

I’m sure there are other ways that people find protection.

One of the things I admire about Jesus is how he lived with a “thinner skin.” Even in the events of Holy Week, we find him caring, listening, leading. Through all this he seemed to remain open. There is no resorting to cyncism, no hiding from the challenges he faces.

So to use the lines from U2, did he find a “healthy” hardness, appropriate modes of protection, life-giving ways to enact his gifts and charisms? Or is that any “hardness”, any “protection” is in fact not in the way of Jesus? Was he in the end, so “thin-skinned” that it led to death? And is that in fact God’s way of bringing life? Can Kingdom change only occur when the seed dies?

Only questions, in what is, a fairly “thin-skinned” blogpost :)!

Posted by steve at 10:25 AM


  1. mmm. interesting questions. thank you for asking them.

    Comment by sarah — June 24, 2013 @ 1:54 pm

  2. yep, flying some “kites”

    Perhaps too personal for a public blog. Or is that what ‘thin-skinned’ is about?


    Comment by steve — June 24, 2013 @ 3:36 pm

  3. was talking about being vulnerable today, and how it is then that we create the possibility for real, honest, transformative relationship …

    Comment by sarah — June 25, 2013 @ 11:43 pm

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