January 3, 2007

Dictators and Teams: Thoughts on Leadership

Recently, there has been a large swing toward collaborative or team leadership. This has often been at the expense if a primary or senior leader. But the truth is, a full-on team/consensus leadership model actually makes the "product" or organization dumber...

Kathy Sierra at Creating Passionate Users has a great post about the Dumbness of Crowds.

She quotes James Gosling as saying that Apple is run by a "dictator with good taste," and they lead the industry. Meanwhile, many companies run by a consensus model of leadership are failing to break away from the pack. Despite the fact that many pastors and church leaders hate the idea of a personality-driven church...the reality is that ALL churches are personality driven. People begin attending or stop attending because of who you and what you stand for.

Senior/Lead Pastor does not mean dictator. It doesn't meant that your ideas are the only ones worth listening to. It also doesn't mean that you should not have a leadership team. I think, as Kathy points out, it is not that teams are bad it is just that the more people that are part of making the decisions and the more "consensus" that is sought...the dumber or mediocre the outcome.

God calls us to lead. Leading does not mean being the dictator of our own little kingdom, but rather reminds us that we are to bring people along toward a common vision or goal. That goal is the expansion of the Kingdom of God. It seems that the most effective teams are small groups (2-3) of independent, trusting people with a primary leader. There must be a sense in which someone makes the final decision, but where everyone, at the bare minimum, feels heard and understood.
Most of the progressive churches and plants are driven by strong, visionary leaders who develop a core of solid leaders around them.

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