Developing a Faith Based Leadership Program…. Start first with defining what you mean by “leadership”. Part 1

Organizations know the value of leadership and in an effort to get it, either poach it from other good agencies or decide to “develop their own”. I’ve participated in the development of many a leadership development program, some formal with credentials attached, some informal. In a series of blogs, I’d like to share some of the process I go through in developing a solid leadership development program, specifically for the faith based organization and pose to you the questions you should think about before doing so.

What’s first? Make sure you know what you mean by “leadership”.

The word leadership is overused and rarely truly understood. Good, Godly leadership is more than task accomplishment, more than people influencing, more than aspirational vision casting. The very best leadership achieves organizational mission only through recognizing and fostering the talents, skills and passion of followers in the organization. In this sense, Leadership is Faithful Stewardship of the organization’s most important resource…. The people in it.

As you think about developing the leadership program for your organization… how do you, and others currently in positional leadership, define leadership? A simple poll will help you to realize how diverse your leadership team’s definition is… and that needs to change first, because, as the saying goes, “if you don’t know where you’re going, all roads will get you there”.

Why does the definition matter? Two reasons. First, if the model of “good leadership” isn’t being espoused and/or modeled within your organization you’ll be sending a mixed message to those you hope to develop. Second, your leadership program should foster those values, qualities and behaviors borne of your leadership definition.

A simple exercise is to ask your leadership team, and perhaps further down the leadership layers of the organization, to write down two things: a definition of leader and a definition of leadership. This will give you the starting point for moving this group towards a shared definition of leadership for your organization.

Next up…. Unpacking those definitions …


About Dr. Beth A. Birmingham

Follower of Jesus, peculiar at times, but not always in the good biblical sense of the word, professor of leadership and international development, walking with people and organizations who end poverty, fight injustice and stand with the vulnerable... a rockin' good group of people!

Posted on June 28, 2016, in Followership, Leadership, leadership development, Servant Leadership. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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