Welcome to day 3 of the Tribes Group Blogging Project that began Monday at ChurchCrunch. As I humbly pick up the torch, lets dive a little deeper into a discussion about true leadership (pages 12-16).
“Leadership is Not Management”
Early in my (admittedly) young career, I learned that climbing a predetermined corporate ladder was not the cry of my heart. I clearly remember one of my first corporate experiences that was particularly soul-crushing. After anticipating the opportunity for months, I burst out of bed on the first day of the job, eager to arrive early and take the bull by the horns. I had a unique opportunity to work with folks I considered to be experts in a field that I cared deeply about, and I entered the office as an enthusiastic sponge looking to absorb every ounce of knowledge I could find.
Within a few days, there was a remarkable change in my temperament. Instead of soaking up knowledge and creativity, I was absorbing the half-hearted efforts of a well-oiled corporate machine. New ideas and innovation were actively passed over in favor of previously established methods that were marginally easier on the bottom line. The knowledge I so desperately hoped to acquire from fellow employees was replaced with tips and shortcuts on how to work less and climb the ladder faster.
The lack of enthusiasm was even evident from the demeanor in the break room; instead of discussing the latest technologies and wildly daydreaming about it’s implications on our field, folks sat around passively drinking their coffee and checking the clock to see how much time remained before they could escape their fluorescent prisons.
The place was full of excellent management, but lacked true leadership. As Godin discusses, true leaders are passionate about their work/cause, making it “engaging, thrilling, profitable, and fun.” Their enthusiasm is contagious and immediately captures the minds and imaginations of like-minded individuals who are ready to be led.
Corporations, organizations and even many churches today actively struggle to become leaders instead of replicators. As Godin states, “change is frightening” and it scares many potential leaders off as “more of a threat than a promise.” In order to step up and lead, we must embrace change in order to lead our tribes to a brighter tomorrow.
The Changing Tide
As technology has enabled an exponential boom in open communication, the power has shifted away from the hands of the CEO (or King as Godin explains it) and more towards the collective opinions of the tribe. This shift in behavior can be specifically observed in the rise of marketing and public relations. Only a few years ago, discussions of bad customer service and poor corporate policy were largely confined to the bounds of the family dinner table. Now, in groups of like-minded individuals like The Consumerist, large tribes of shoppers have banded together to force change from public entities; the viewpoint of the tribe matters.
As we lead our tribes, it’s important that we form and tell the stories about our organizations, “stories that sell and stories that spread.” We must actively engage our followers wherever they’re gathering. Whether it be Twitter, Facebook or the next social phenomenon, we need to lead the conversation and listen to our followers.
So how can ministries better lead their tribes today? As I’ve mentioned recently, we’ve found great success at Long Hollow through Facebook’s revamped Pages/Public Profiles. Once scattered throughout several different groups on Facebook, our tribe now has a unified forum where folks can unite around common interests (typically a specific message or news item) and give the church staff direct feedback. As the weeks go by, our tribe is growing closer every day.
There’s no better time than now for ministries to engage their tribes and begin the conversation. After all, if change is inevitable, shouldn’t we be the ones to direct it’s course?