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How to Lead Across Divides

These days, Americans can’t agree on a common reality, let alone a common good or the leadership they need to achieve it. In my own community of 53,000 people, 20 people are struggling for their next breath, gasping in ICU beds, with thousands more sickened. At the same time, other people don’t even believe that […]

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These days, Americans can’t agree on a common reality, let alone a common good or the leadership they need to achieve it. In my own community of 53,000 people, 20 people are struggling for their next breath, gasping in ICU beds, with thousands more sickened. At the same time, other people don’t even believe that coronavirus is a real threat.

Given the backdrop of the presidential election which highlights the alternate values and realities that each party represents, the question is real:  Is it possible to lead ALL people, forward, together, when they perceive differing realities?

Principles of Effective Leadership

In this blog, I want to share three key principles of effective leadership you can use to move your people forward.  Whether these principles are enacted in Washington or not, you still can. As a way of demonstrating this, I want to let you in on some of what we teach in Creating a Culture of Renewal®.

  1. Effective leaders speak to both the center and the margins. They understand they must bring together all the people they lead with a vision for the common good. Jesus came first to the Jews and then expanded his leadership and vision to include Gentiles.
  2. Effective leaders understand they embody the kind of behaviors they expect in their followers. President Lincoln showed that he must bring society together that was riven by civil war and competing values. Your followers will rise or shrink to the standards you set. In Creating a Culture of Renewal, we lift up the principle that your people can go no farther than you can lead them. Your behavior, your values, your words set the standard of what you expect of your followers. They will emulate the example you set.
  3. Effective leaders exercise high accountability and set high expectations. When they lead, they own everything that happened before them, and all the consequences of their own decisions and actions. In Creating a Culture of Renewal, we embrace the fact that high expectations bear a great amount of fruit.

Who will win the presidential election? We don’t know yet. No matter who wins or loses, we’ll need to process the results. What will it mean for the state of the union? What will it mean for the role of faith leaders and faith communities? How can we define a common good? Join me for a series of debriefs in a discussion series called “Democracy, Faith and the Common Good.”

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