Three Critical Acts of Leadership

Why is the role of the leader important? Consider that all organizations depend on shared meanings and interpretations of reality to facilitate coordinated action. In dynamic Churches the definition of reality and call to shared action is the central role of the sermon. Equally important is how the leader carries him or herself relative to the core values of those who follow. In dynamic companies the definition of reality and call to shared action is often expressed in the communication of the president or CEO and his or her interactions with the employees and board relative to their core values. For leaders who realize the power of shared meaning in an organization three things become essential:

• Leaders reframe situations demonstrating new perspectives that call others to action

• Leaders articulate and define what had previously remained implicit or unsaid

• Leaders consolidate or challenge prevailing wisdom to suggest new directions

The social upheaval in Tunisia and the mirrored unrest in Egypt in 2011 and the current unrest in Syria demonstrate the power of these three actions and suggest that whoever frames reality or meaning wins the day. This is why entrenched power brokers who hide behind their privilege and/or power to maintain position by force always loose regardless of the context either political, commercial or religious.

Leaders are the kind of people to whom others are drawn – not because of their personalities but because they have:

• a dream,

• a vision,

• a set of intentions,

• an agenda,

• a frame of reference.

This is important to see. New leaders in many organizations or social settings often seem to arise from obscurity to prominence just at the right time or the wrong time depending on where one stands relative to change. But obscurity is usually another way of describing a lack of attention. When power brokers do not listen, do not pay attention they often do not see the opportunity for change nor those who inspire change until the status quo is thoroughly shaken.

Healthy, innovative, vibrant organizations (or churches or countries) are those that provide permission to leaders to leaders reframe situations demonstrating new perspectives that call others to action; articulate and define what had previously remained implicit or unsaid and consolidate or challenge prevailing wisdom to suggest new directions.

The real test of leadership however isn't in the revolution/change.  The real test of leadership is in how change is consolidated to a new reality that is in fact different than the prior reality.  Some revolutions simply exchange personalities and processes yet do little to bring about significant change.  The only change is in who now controls the power and the privilege.

Who are the leaders in your organization? Are they recognized or unseen? Are they empowered or marginalized? Are they granted permission or shown the door? Are leaders a threat to your organization or do the leaders of your organization tend to attract the truly gifted and engaged into a synergy of innovation and vibrant execution? If your organization’s leaders don’t another group of leaders will.