Last week I taught a course on trends in leadership, especially trends that apply to ministry and caregiver leaders. I focused on what I had learned in the past 6-8 months and selected textbooks published late last year or in 2013. Of course my choices were subjective, pulled largely from leadership publications that I read consistently. You might have produced a different list but here are four themes shared with my Faith Evangelical Seminary students.
Connecting. Leadership has a lot to do with connecting to the people we try to lead. Droves of people are leaving churches because the church leadership does not connect, especially with non-believers, those who like spirituality but not religion, people of different subcultures, and those who prefer to be led by technology or other contemporary means rather than by long sermons or church politics. Huge leadership issues relate to how leaders connect cross-culturally, to minorities, to “outsiders” and younger (or older) generations. What is the role of gaming or connecting with people who text incessantly or seem addicted to their mobile devices? Competent leadership is difficult if not impossible for those who lack the ability to connect effectively with potential followers. Leaders need to do this well.
Communicating. This always has been a leadership issue but the challenges are greater in times of information overload, social media, and rapidly changing technology. Leadership publications frequently address the importance of design, creativity, and the ways in which we package our presentations. This includes how leaders design their slides, speak, write, market their messages and interact face-to-face.
Change. Leadership is largely about changing behavior and guiding as groups and individuals adjust to cultural and social change, including political turmoil, disruptions and disasters. Decades of research, including recent leadership publications, can apply to how change occurs, how and why this is resisted or stimulated, and the implications of this for contemporary leadership, counseling and ministry.
People-Building. Leaders, including pastors, politicians and professors have long been interested in people-helping, including counseling. More recently there has been a focus on new forms of mentoring, coaching, and other ways for encouraging and equipping emerging and contemporary leaders and their followers.
What leadership trends should be added or addressed in future issues of this blog? Please comment.