Interestingly, even those outside the church realize the value of humility. In his book Good to Great, Jim Collins reflects on Level 5 leaders. Collins reviews executives of startlingly successful companies. His research group discovered a correlation between Level 5 leadership and the success of their organization. Level 4 leaders effectively catalyze people around a compelling vision. Level 5 leaders distinguish themselves by building enduring greatness and leaving the organization to even greater success when they step away.
Collins observes that Level 5 leaders are a unique blend of personal humility and professional resolve. These leaders are relentless in their pursuit of organizational success. But they are self-effacing and humble with regard to personal ambition. They own responsibility and share credit. In other words, they are Level 5 leaders because organizational success trumps personal ambition. Bottom line—Level 5 leaders are humble.
Everyone wants to work at an organization with a great culture. Every leader wants a staff with high morale and a positive culture but often isn’t sure how to create one. Plus, there is often so much work to do that focusing on developing a strong staff culture can feel overwhelming and be pushed to the bottom of the to-do list.
However, culture is important and it might not require as much work as you think it does. The key is intentionality, especially when it comes to staff communication.
The best thing you can do is to grow from mistakes – all of them. They can shape us as people and leaders – either positively or negatively. The good news is that we get to decide which one. In the process of recovery, sometimes keeping a journal is helpful. Start with the question, “What can I learn from this that will help me make better decisions in the future?”
Of course, the intensity of need for this depends on the size of the mistake and the size of injury caused to the team, church or organization, but the principles still apply in context.
The idea of organizational culture seems obscure and difficult to define at first glance, especially in the church world. A more formal definition of organizational culture might be “the underlying assumptions and beliefs shared by a group of people that operate unconsciously in a church or organization’s view of itself and its environment.”1 The deeper level of assumptions should be distinguished from the “values” and “artifacts” typically associated with the surface level of culture.2 For the sake of simplicity, let’s just agree to define culture as the shared values of a group.
As a leader your words have a powerful ability to form and shape culture.
When your communication is flavoured with constant hype you are creating a culture of desperation. For your followers it’s a short walk from desperation to suspicion.
Because of my own optimistic nature, I’ve learned that I need to be vigilant to ensure that hyperbole doesn’t creep into my own communication.
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