Raymond L. Wheeler

Musings about leadership

Three Critical Acts of Leadership

4 Comments


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.

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Author: Ray Wheeler, DMin

Ray Wheeler - executive coach, confidant, mentor, leader, and friend. Ray is the author of, Change the Paradigm: How to Lead Like Jesus in Today's world. He is also an adjunct lecturer at LIFE Pacific College, Bethesda University California and Azusa Pacific University in cross-cultural leadership, leadership development, leadership ethics, administration, church growth, and mission in today's world. Certified leadership coach, certified Birkman Consultant, and certified in the iOpener Assessment (happiness at work).

4 thoughts on “Three Critical Acts of Leadership

  1. 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.In dynamic Churches the definition of reality and call to shared action is the central role of the sermon.?

    • You wonder about my comments about the sermon…admittedly I have a different view than the some of the western contemporary experience with sermons which stems in part from my equally different view of the church. If church is a more than just a building or Sunday gathering but a real expression of the power and works of God expressed incarnationally through people who live out their faith in the workplace then Sunday’s take on a different kind of ethos one of shared insight, refocusing, tooling and definition of the type I mention in my blog. In my view the hope expressed in the work of Christ is a summons to activism that (1) acknowledges a future or ultimate justice and (2) works today in light of that future to bring its influence to bear in the present. When people live like activists Sunday takes on the ethos of a movement and the sermon necessarily plays a role in defining reality (experience that is shared and promise that is anticipated), focusing action (teaching how to live effectively) and intensifying pressure on the status quo by engaging hope and seeking change in the present.

  2. I truly like your blog, the way you write and topic you covered are just fantastic. I understand how hard it can be to get the visitors involved. I have made a decision to include your blog to my blog list.

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