Category Archives: leadership

definition of leadership

Center for Creative Leadership takes a look at everyday leadership in their recent report, mentioned in their July 2007 update.

Much of society’s knowledge about leadership is focused on who we conventionally think of as leaders, such as heads of corporations, highly-ranked armed forces officers and powerful politicians. But what about our non-traditional leaders — stay-at-home moms, small business owners, students, doctors, educators? Are their leadership practices all that different from traditional leaders? CCL researched the topic of “Everyday Leadership.” Download and read the full report (Adobe PDF, 1.9 MB).

In the “Everyday Leadership” report, leadership is collectively defined as:

Leadership is the ability to create of a vision for positive change, help focus resources on right solutions, inspire and motivate others, and provide opportunities for growth and learning.

This suggests that the quality of leadership can be developed and cultivated for people of all kinds of professions, and does not necessarily require having a position at the top (or near the top) of some sizeable organization. What have you found helpful in developing leaders with these qualities?

Raising up women leaders and voices

5 Asian American women InterVarsity ministry leaders put together this book, More Than Serving Tea: Asian American Women on Expectations, Relationships, Leadership And Faith, bringing out diversely rich perspectives about gender and identity issues through their personal narratives. Nikki Toyama, Tracey Gee, Kathy Khang, Christie Heller de Leon, and Asifa Dean shared the tasks of authors and editors, and they’ve been blogging over at morethanservingtea.blogspot.com, creating a space to dialog about the intersection of gender, race, and faith, particularly concerning Asian American women.

Nikki’s most recent blog wonders out loud about boundaries of the Asian American context:

I’m beginning to wonder if boundaries are the luxury of the middle class. Is there such thing as boundaries when you’re doing justice work?

I’ve wondered about boundaries, Asian American families, and Christian discipleship. What therapists call “enmeshment” is a common occurrance in Asian American families. Is it an issue that we need to fight against in the Asian community. Or is family therapy culturally bound.

What some might called “enmeshed” has great characteristics. There’s a wonderful sense of involving everyone, and a corporate identity that is a healthy antidote to a narcissitic individualized model. But it has its problems too.

From my limited vantage point, it comes across as parents who are very upset at a young person’s decision. A lot of emotional pressure lands on the young person to comply to their wishes. I’ve heard extreme cases of threatening suicide unless a young person changes their plans. More common examples are sleepless nights, extreme anxiety, etc. Are the young people just clueless and self-absorbed? Or is the older generation enmeshed? Both?

Is this just how things get done in Asian American households? What’s the Christian response?

Bo Lim has mentioned that an event may well be in the works specifically toward Asian American Christian Women in Seattle, possibly in 2008.

2002 Q&A session with Pastor Ken Fong

Pastor Ken Fong (Evergreen LA) spent almost an hour with a group gathered at L2 Foundation‘s 2002 Leadership Forum in Monterey, California. (This was an improvised leaders gathering for about 20 Asian American ministry leaders from the San Francisco Bay area.)

We had this interactive Q&A session recorded on video, and you can glean some wisdom from his ministry experience. I think his remark that we don’t have to be Bill Hybels or Rick Warren in order to be effective in ministry is particularly helpful. Other topics discussed include: using external resources (curriculums, consultants), dealing with changes (how something no longer fits), the role of seminaries for ministry training, celebrating MLK day in a mostly Asian church, learnings from a sabbatical, transmission of theology, history of American churches, pastoral internships, organizational aspects of church operations. Many of these remarks are still timely.

Watch the video online and add your comment here. What would you ask Ken Fong if you had an opportunity? Well you do right here! You may ask Ken Fong a question here, and I’ll invite him to answer in the comment thread.

results and outcomes show progress towards a mission

This Found+Read article, Outcomes vs. Activity: Why everything a founder does must be a means to a specific end, has keen insights how results (really should) matter to any organization [ht: Terry Storch] ::

Some people choose wisely and focus on high-impact activities that truly move the needle. Others, however, work the same number of hours without making clear progress toward measurable results. Focusing on what really matters is a difficult-to-achieve skill in our “attention deficit disorder” world. Successful leaders–and, therefore, successful founders–invest the time to clearly identify, prioritize, and communicate key goals. They then measure their success by real progress against those desired outcomes. By focusing on the end results, creative leaders can identify the shortcuts and often achieve those goals with less work.

As we talk about outcomes vs. activity, it is important to nail down the semantics. Outcomes, in this context, means a certain, generally measurable, end result — and one that matters a great deal. Activities, however, are a set of tactics that are used to achieve that outcome. Productivity might then be defined as the value of a certain outcome divided by the cost of the activities used to achieve it — simply put, the return on your investment (ROI).

If this is a bit confusing, that is good. Understanding this confusion is the first step to seeing how easily things can go terribly awry. Because many of us founders are so accomplishment driven, we tend to look at both activities and outcomes as accomplishments. While they both could be achievements, results should almost always be valued well ahead of tactics. A long day at the office often creates the illusion that we are creating value and driving the ball downfield. Ticking off tasks on your to-do list fills you with a sense of accomplishments but did you achieve the end goal? Many of the activities create some benefit, but is it making a tangible difference for the organization? Is it the most effective use of your time? Often, the answer is no and, unfortunately, few people are aware of it. …

Defending yourself against the myopia of task saturation requires a bit of planning. Defining key outcomes is the first step to getting back on the road to productivity and effectiveness. Are the results that we hope to achieve measurable and meaningful? Can we assign dates to deliveries? What are the key measures of success and an appropriate sampling rate? Successful practitioners focus on the goal despite the forest of tasks, distractions, and nice-to-do activities.

Once founders begin to assess their team against key measures, they are often surprised to see how quickly they can create a results-driven culture. In that kind of enlightened organization, it’s about ownership, trust, accountability — and not about hours worked.

Even for a non-profit organization like a church or parachurch ministry, results and outcomes are important, though somewhat more difficult to measure than sales in a for-profit business world. What have you found helpful to measure results and outcomes for your church’s ministry programs, so that you can see progress that you’re making in fulfilling your mission?

training English-speaking Chinese leaders

Eugene Hor has been the pastor for English ministries at the Burwood Chinese Presbyterian Church in Sydney, Australia since 1999, involved in planting their evening congregation Burwood@Five, now known as GracePoint.

I’d recently found his blog and website, and learned of his work with Rev. Ying Yee as members of the English Task Force of Chinese Coordination Centre of World Evangelization (CCCOWE). They’ve been working on the development of the Ministry Apprentice Program (MAP) in Sydney, Australia. This apprentice program is a 2-year process that’s designed to provide on-the-job leadership and ministry training for next generation pastors, and even helps develop a ministry training culture in the church. It’s interesting to see this kind of development around the world among Chinese Christian leaders to better train up the English-speaking next generation.

View the Entrust Newsletter- January-March 2007 for stories of how the MAP (Ministry Apprentice Program) is working to raise up Gospel workers & ministry leaders, and the Entrust Newsletter- October-December 2006 for the vision of mentoring and raising up 1,000 ministry leaders in a decade.