Monday, April 03, 2006

::Leadership: Consistent Anomaly::

***There is a train of thought in the comment section of this post that kind of makes me re-think this whole thought process. Feel free to read the following post but the good stuff is in the comments section. Thanks for the input guys!!***-Jer

Leaders are regular and consistent.

There is little question that a diet of high fiber, potassium, and Uncle John's Bathroom Reader would keep anyone regular. Regularity is healthy. The health of our leadership development, architecture, and strategies very well could be most accurately critiqued by our consistency.

In literature, consistency is one of the most crucial elements for the reader in understanding the implied time frames for the plot, action, and sequence described. It is simple and consistent verb usage that clarifies the environment of the story. Inconsistent verb usage muddies and confuses the storyline. It seems to me that inconsistent leadership steals the very foundation of clarity and health from any atmosphere – it becomes a pollution that might even kill an environment.

Here is something to think about; leadership that is dedicated to the relentless task of consistency creates an environment of anomaly. Variedness. Weirdness. Diversity. Creativity. I think what happens is that the great big meta storyline begins to make sense and people begin to see where they fit. People who catch the vastness and the smallness of consistent significance respond in the only way they know how > in their own uniquely unique ways. Anomaly. This is a really beautiful thing because it connects the consistent environment that leaders foster to the incredible environment of diversity in their followers.

It is very interesting to me that consistent leadership architects persistent diversity.


Josh said...

I think one of the keys for leaders is sticking around where they are long enough for consistency to happen. It seems like lately leaders are consistently getting out before the "incredible environment of diversity" can be created.

By the way, I always thought leadership was about creating carbon copies of yourself? Although of bunch of Jeremy Postal's running around would probably give me a headache.

Boomer said...

That's a good point Josh. Paul says follow me as I follow Christ, so at what point do you think it is healthy for a person to emulate, and at what point diversify? There is clearly a need for both?

jeffro said...

jer. i am trying to understand this... i sorta get this theoretically.. but i don't understand practically speaking..
are speaking in terms of leadership in general? within the church? within your peers? at large?

--> good leadership dedicates itself to consistency (what does this mean?) longevity? frequency? or significant moments?

--> good leadership promotes consistency in those who he/she leads?

--> and this promotes diversity? doesnt it promote trust? which leads to freedom to explore diversity?


Jeremy Postal said...

Jef - good probing questions. I'll try to address them each; I might not have sufficient answers for each...maybe a few questions to ask back. Time to dive in...

1) "jer. i am trying to understand this... i sorta get this theoretically.. but i don't understand practically speaking.."

Practically speaking it might have something to do with allowing for wingnuts in our leadership; it might have something to do with how we evaluate our own leadership. For example, if all of our leaders end up giving us headaches and looking, talking, and acting just like Jeremy Postal then maybe I haven't done my job?

Boomer, maybe the only thing that we actually need ot be replicating is this atmosphere of consistency?

2) "good leadership dedicates itself to consistency (what does this mean?) longevity? frequency? or significant moments?"

You took the bait! As you know I like definitions and I purposely left defining consistency out of the mix.

What is consistency?

3) "good leadership promotes consistency in those who he/she leads?"

Good leadership is consistent and promotes diversity. So kind of yes.

4)"and this promotes diversity? doesnt it promote trust? which leads to freedom to explore diversity?"

Yes, consistency does promote trust; it also promotes safety, shows loyalty and devotness, reeks of dependability and faithfulness, levels an uneasy ship, and generally creates an atmosphere for artists (and, as we all know, artists are weirdo's). This would be a good place to cross-reference the rise of the Renaissances period to show how the atmosphere created practically play's out.

So, I suppose in response to your thought > yes, trust (as well as other attributes) develops the freedom to explore and create and diversify.
Good eye on spotting the reductionist jump. I went from A-Z you are working through it one letter at a time.

5)"are speaking in terms of leadership in general?"

Any other thoughts...Hmmm?

revwood said...

Is it possible that consistency is not really the issue at all...but rather authenticity? I wonder about my leadership and find that it is not my consistency nor my longevity that has given people the courage to be abnormal but rather the honesty and gut hanging out...realness that releases them. That combined with the acceptance of their gut puking realness that allows them to begin from where they are.

Having now thought further...I think that the only consistency that I have ever demonstrated is my lack of consistency...if you get me...

Yup...the one thing I am not is consistent...except in my inconsistency...But somehow that is the very thing that God has used...go figure..who would have thought? they don't teach you that at Bible School.

"Son...go and screw up...the more the better...then watch God work." ministry101 ha!

Paul & Wanda Moores said...

Hmmm. Real positive Dave. Sounds like a guy dreading having to buy a snow shovel very soon.

Jeremy Postal said...

Dave > I like authenticity.
I'm not sure consistency is synonymous with longevity though. I have some sense that the consistency/authenticity debate is similar to the chicken or the egg question. What develops first; authenticity and then consistency or consistency and then authenticity? Or maybe perceived authenticity and then perceived consistency and vise versa?

I'm not sure anyone worth following can be real or authentic with out being consistent. And maybe this is the dilema; would I want to be lead by someone who claims to be real but is inconsistent? (Maybe inconsistent between public and private life, yo-yo emotions, not dependable, or piles of other inconsistencies). I don't think so.

Boomer said...

So what is the foundation of inconsistency?

"I'm not sure anyone worth following can BE real or authentic with out being consistent."

I hear it constantly, be this, be that, I wanna be, we should be.

You cannot be except that which you are.

So attempting to "be" something would theoretically create inconsistency, because in the effort to be, you are not being, but trying. You tracking with my thought? The issue is not authenticity or consistency, but might lie in self. You are who you are, I am what I am. I find that when I try to make myself into something, it becomes and cheap facade that quickly falls off off me. Yet I am significantly different than I was 3 years ago. The changes that now define who I am, are not the ones that I strived for, but the ones that I all of a sudden realized that I was. It not a conscious effort to "be" something, consistency and authenticity are found in who we are, not what we want to be.

Any thoughts?

revwood said...

Hmm...Having dug myself out of the snow bank of dread and thawed this issue out...(hehe) I wonder if my learned response from the culture, church and family..."consistency, consistency, consistency" has bowed to the reality of truth. None of us are consistent to the level we ought. And the culture and church corporate guilt trip encourages us to repeat this perfection mantra incessantly (adv : with unflagging resolve; ceaselessly to strive higher and higher toward the shining pinnacle of perfection).
(Sigh) Can't we just be real as leaders instead of forcing this thought and buying into the world's concept of leadership? They believe that the goal of the leader is to somehow be a shinning example of what we should all obtain.
Consistency is the ideal but the reality is often far from the ideal.
All Pastors are equal but some pastors are more equal than others.
Paul was likely one of the most effective leaders in the history of the church yet his inconsistency (his treatment of Mark), his ugly looks and hunchback (Josephus), and his lack of effectiveness as a speaker 2 Corinthians 10:10b ..."His letters are weighty and forceful, but in person he is unimpressive and his speaking amounts to nothing." flys in the face of successful leadership 2006 style.
But he rather lays aside every burden and runs the race marked out before him. I need to not only lay aside every burden but like Paul allow those being lead to see me do it.
So I come back to my contention that it is not consistency, longevity nor any other benchmark establsihed by existing earthly leadership that is the mark of a Godly leader...(for Hitler was nothing if he wasn't consistent)but rather it is authenticity ... honesty if you will. Warts and all as my mother says.

Now...where did I leave my snowshoes?

jeffro said...

thanks jer.
that cleared some things up.


im a struggling blogger.


Jeremy Postal said...

I am forced to resign 'consistency' from this post. It doesn't quite fit all together and I need to give this some more thought.

I still don't think that authenticity fits the bill (though I feel strongly about it's high value in leadership)....There is something that allows a community to begin to feel safe enough to get weird, twisted, creative, and diverse.

That's all for now kids! I send all my love (and sympothy to anyone lving in Alberta or Deadmonton!).

CaseyD said...

Trust is the issue today for many people, adults included. So many don't trust their 'spiritual leader' because of inconsistancy or authenticity.

As a screwed up guy, I won't trust you, until you build trust with me.
So, don't try to be my leader, when i just need a friend I can trust. Consistency builds trust, trust releases authenticity, authenticity, opens the door for a more deeper trust, thats when I become who I really am.

There are so many pastors out there building their own empires, or kingdoms, they don't care about me, or my life, just their egos.

Once we ralize that it isn't about us, we then can be there to help others become 'who they really are'. Thats grace.

Z said...

Boomer you said, "So attempting to "be" something would theoretically create inconsistency, because in the effort to be, you are not being, but trying." I don't know if I agree with you completely. I think we can change who we are by consistently trying. If I want to be more of a servant in my leadership and I consistently and intentionally ask people where I can help them or help out where I see a need, and have a good attitude about it, then eventually I will naturally become more servant hearted. I think it's a balance between what God changes in us through experiences (i.e. changing without realizing it like you were saying) and our striving to become more like Him in how we lead.

Mark said...

There are basic virtues that all humans strive to 'be' and vices the strive to 'not be'... has nothing to do with striving to be something we are not... I want to be humble and not proud... I want to be 'just' and not 'fair' to be real and not fake. One of the challenges is that we add to this list by virtue of our supposed spirituality many other things [I want to be close to God]. These things are unquanitfable and leave us running from guilt to guilt and shame to shame trying to attain the 'un-human human.' I love what bonhoeffer says - 'To be Christian is to be truly Human.' WE tend to think that to be a Christian leader means we have to be competnat in a list of many things ... to be honest not even Jesus would qualify for some of our unrealistic standards of leaders [or ourselves]. But yet there is this part of me that says what I am or who I am is not good enough to lead... there is always a tension of this internal battle and the battle of what we think a leader should be and who we are. However In my 15yrs of 'ministry leadership' I have found my strongest leadership comes out of when I am operatig out of my strongest sense of who I am....Thoughts???

Jeremy Postal said...

It is very difficult to say who I am though....
If you asked me who I am probably I would say something like, "My name is Jeremy, I am married, I love Jesus, I work as a pastor in a church, and I like being outside in the mountains." Are these who I am or simply what I do?

"I want to live a simple life that please God and provokes others to follow him" Again, this seems to be what I do. How do you distinguish who you are???????????????????? ANy insight into this?

Mark said...

What is it that makes you come alive when you speak, do, act, play? Those moments when you say to yourself 'this is what I am truly made for?' What is it that inspires you to get up and do the things you do? These might shed a little light and give us soem thoughts on who we are. I am a pastor because something inside me comes alive when I help people accomplish their dreams and become more like Jesus in the process. What we do, talk about, think, play, and people we hang out with give small indicators of who we are. These things do not define us but are lenses in which we can see who we are. I think the challenge is when we try to define what we do through an idealistic and unrealistic lense.

Chad said...

Boomer - I hear what you're saying with the striving and being bit. It can feel really fake and forced sometimes. But I think there is still responsibility to be aware of our need to be growing. God gives us commands, not because we already are those things, but because we aren't. And probably more likely, to realize that we aren't those things, and that only He is those things, and only through Him will I ever be any measure of those things. So yeah I agree that "to be Christian is to be truly human" as Boenhoeffer put it.

Because to be a Christian you are continually faced with God and embrace the fact that you aren't Him.