3 Ways to Harness the Power of People By Dr. Scott Rodin
Three Ways Steward Leaders Harness the Power of People
Steward leaders help their people harness the energy and power that flows from a greater sense of balance and freedom. They not only help create the culture in which it can thrive, but they provide the catalyst for its growth. Steward leaders are prepared to lead the community to that higher place.
By harnessing the power of people, we mean creating systems that encourage and challenge people to perform at the highest level possible as an expression of their newfound freedom. Such systems involve listening, agility and obedience.
By listening we mean the development of a culture that values the time, energy and discipline required to listen carefully to those voices that can best guide and inform the organization towards the achievement of its goals. This starts with a passion for listening to God and steward leaders develop systems that require and depend upon the discipline of listening to the voice of God as a community.
This listening then broadens to include listening to one another. Most leaders have more intelligence, creativity and insight in their our own people than they readily access. As people are set free in Christ, they are better prepared to be positive, creative and innovative voices in our community. Steward leaders encourage this community culture and in turn, this culture becomes an incubator of innovation.
Harnessing the power of people set free also involves the creation of organizational agility. In this rapidly changing, global and interconnected world, agility may be the greatest attribute we can develop in our community. Again, it is a product of freedom. When we own a vision we lose the ability to be agile. When we are stewards of our vision we understand that it may change and be reshaped according to critical inputs and information. Only agile organizations can make such a change and allow vision to be recast as a result of our commitment to listening.
An organization must not only listen and be agile enough to respond, but they must take the final step and actually carry out their actions. I have seen healthy organizations listen carefully to the right voices, prepare their people for dynamic change, lead them to the edge of the new frontier, only to shrink back at the last moment and retreat to more familiar surroundings. It takes great courage to lead an organization through a systemic change of any kind. That’s why here more than anywhere else, the steward leader must lead with confidence and humility.
A steward leader must be armed with absolute confidence that the path the organization has chosen to travel is God’s intention (listening); that is has been well thought out and vetted with the best expertise available (listening); that the community has been prepared to make this journey (agility); that each person sees their place and role within that journey (agility); and that the motivation for the journey is absolute obedience.
Steward leaders harness the power of the people the people they serve in this way, helping those they lead be set free to steward this dynamic process of listening, developing agility, and responding obediently.
Steward leaders help people discover the freedom of moving from owners to stewards, and in that freedom to find balance in their identity as a child of God and the unique calling He has placed on their lives. When a community of God’s people are set free in this way, the result is an increase in organizational effectiveness, quality of work, employee satisfaction and retention. They see themselves on the same journey of transformation as those they lead. The fruits of that journey are improved vocational performance, deeper levels of satisfaction and a desire for excellence.
Dr. Scott Rodin as been in not-for-profit leadership and consulting for thirty-two years. He has authored fifteen books and has served as counsel to over 100 organizations across the U.S. and globally including colleges, seminaries, schools, churches, para-church ministries and other not-for-profit organizations. Visit his blog at The Steward’s Journey.
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