Dr. John Johnson describes leadership as being both a science and an art. In creating and managing teams, it’s important to take into account social and cultural contexts. Your values determine mission and vision so you can identify objectives and create strategies to accomplish them. Since leadership is transformational by nature, it’s important to know how to initiate and manage change when it happens.
THE DIFFICULTY OF DEFINING LEADERSHIP
Leadership is difficult to define because it is both a science and an art. Effective leaders often display styles that are markedly different because of their personalities, varying contexts and the expectations of those around them.
COMMON ELEMENTS OF LEADERSHIP
A leader is someone whom we follow, who influences and mobilizes us and who leads us toward a common goal.
CULTURAL CONTEXTS OF LEADERSHIP
Cultural contexts determine what we expect from leaders. You expect authoritarian leaders to have all the answers and rule with a top-down mentality. In a hierarchical context, members expect leaders to participate with them and have shared responsibility. In an egalitarian context, the group as a whole leads and everyone has equal access. An individualistic context emphasizes self-interest.
SOCIAL CONTEXTS OF LEADERSHIP
A structural lens helps you see where the authority lines are and what your role is. A human resource lens focuses on individuals, their feelings, maturity levels and relationships. A political lense helps you evaluate elements like power, conflict, competition and coalitions. The symbolic lense reminds you of the importance of the story and identity of the organization.
CREATING GREAT TEAMS
Some characteristics of good teams are enthusiasm, comraderie, common vision, mutual support and communication. Bad teams often demonstrate chaos, cliques and lack of support. The first two rules of good teams are respect the value of teams and build with the best.
MANAGING GREAT TEAMS
The next five rules of good teams are pay attention to follower readiness, treat people with dignity and respect, steward resources with wisdom, keep everyone focused on the mission and communicate with your team.
THE IMPORTANCE OF VALUES
Character makes you a leader worth following. Some people have been great leaders without exhibiting moral values, but it is more difficult and often comes at great personal cost. Justice, integrity, loyalty, diligence, humility, compassion and courage are important core values.
MISSION AND VISION
Mission is the broad philosophical statement of why your organization exists. It states the purpose of your organization and defines your objectives. A vision is the ability to see into the future and articulate a mental picture of what you want your organization to do. The mission gives you the framework. The vision is changeable but always within the framework of the mission.
MOVING FROM VISION TO STRATEGY
Strategies are systematic choices about how to carry out the mission and vision, how to deploy resources, achieve goals, maximize strengths and reach the desired outcome.As you choose strategies to implement your vision, it's critical to submit them to the leading of the Spirit.
Objectives tell us who is responsible for completing the strategy and when it will happen. While strategic planning is broad based, future oriented, giving direction, objectives are the tactical side of leadership. Objectives are the measurable statements that translate the strategy into operational terms. They get down to the day-to-day functioning of the organization, the daily details. They are the operational plan, and hence are more concrete.
Leadership is transformational by nature. Leadership and change are like joint travelers on the same road. Fundamentally, people by nature do not like change. Moving from the known to the unknown may affect people’s competencies, worth, and coping abilities. Organizations get heavily invested in the status quo. It's important for us to value change and help people work through the process.
Some attributes that you can develop to help you become an effective change agent includes creating a clear vision, invoking passion, making clear decisions, inspiring people and becoming a person of character.
Dr. Johnson serves as Professor of Theology at Western Seminary, in Portland, OR. Former Pastor of Village Church in Beaverton, OR.