Leadership Lessons from the Apostle Paul

I’ve decided to read a little more about the Apostle Paul during this Year of St. Paul

I would encourage everyone to take a look at the information about St. Paul available at http://www.stpaulsirvine.org/html/saintpaul.html.

 From the book PASSIONATE VISIONARY: LEADERSHIP LESSONS FROM THE APOSTLE PAUL by R. S. Ascough and C. Cotton, I gleaned the following:

“…transactional managers – people in authority who have the power and influence to keep the status quo afloat into the future.  In times of change, we want transformational leaders rather than transactional managers.” 

The notion that the world constantly undergoes change is a truth recognized in Orthodoxy which affirms that God alone is changeless.  But Orthodoxy by its nature is conservative and traditionalist.   It resists the whirlwinds of change that sweep human society.  Nevertheless it needs leaders who can cope with the changing demands of the world in which the Church exists.   It is painfully obvious that at many points in its history the leadership of the Orthodox church was almost petrified as the world went through tremendous change and upheaval.  Unlike the early apostles, missionaries and apologists of Christianity, modern Orthodox bishops certainly have been far more transactional managers than transformational leaders.  While this helps preserve the faith in times of upheaval, sometimes, as in the case of the current OCA scandal, the episcopal leadership has been preserved like a mummy – preserving even its problems in perpetuity.  Admittedly the book embraces constant change as both always normative and always good,  but this is a modern American assumption.  Some change can be change for the worse.  But the condition of no change better describes a corpse than the Body of Christ.

“Transformational leaders such as Paul challenge people to change and grow, to look at the world in new ways.  This is rarely a smooth journey, since the status quo tends to have a stronger hold on the imagination and heart than any exciting vision of the future.”

Unfortunately, bishops are by office and by personality conservative and preserving people.  They are not the creative people who can bring about needed change or who can help others appropriately deal with change.  The OCA is undergoing a transformation, and needs to, but the bishops are least suited to lead this task.

“That is why leaders who talk about new ways of seeing, being and doing must adopt an encouraging leadership style if they care about their followers. (The alternative is to manipulate people based on their fears and anxieties.)  … Transformational leaders do not offer inducements or manipulative tokens; rather, they seek to energize and inspire others through passion, vision, personal values and reciprocal commitments.  In short, they seek to transform others.  This sounds a lot like Paul.”

The book says that there are “Four Competencies” of leadership:

  • 1) To understand and practice appreciation of others.
  • 2) To remind others of what is important.
  • 3) To generate and sustain trust.
  • 4) To form an intimate alliance between leaders and led.

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