Welcome to The SHAPE of a Leader. I write this blog with the SHAPE leadership development program (for women pastors) I lead in mind, but it is for all who are interested in leadership, faith, and the intersection of the two.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Martin Luther King Jr., On Change

This blog is a repost from Seth Godin. I couldn't have said it better myself. Happy MLK Day!

"Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle. And so we must straighten our backs and work for our freedom. A man can't ride you unless your back is bent."
Martin Luther King, Jr.
And a few more thoughts, from one of the greatest men of my lifetime:
“On some positions, Cowardice asks the question, "Is it safe?" Expediency asks the question, "Is it politic?" And Vanity comes along and asks the question, "Is it popular?" But Conscience asks the question "Is it right?" And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must do it because Conscience tells him it is right.”
. . .
“We must rapidly begin the shift from a "thing-oriented" society to a "person-oriented" society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered.”
. . .
“The saving of our world from pending doom will come, not through the complacent adjustment of the conforming majority, but through the creative maladjustment of a nonconforming minority.”

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Leading Through Uncertainty

I had a boss once, Mark Furtney, who would say,"Mary Kay, proceed with confidence even when you have none." 

These are uncertain times and it's difficult to lead in uncertain times - confidence wanes. And the truth is, people will follow the one who seems to have the answers, or perhaps the one who seems to have confidence in some outcome. I wouldn't say that exceptional leaders pretend to have confidence; I think people see through that pretty quickly. But exceptional leaders examine the environment or situation, find the nuggets they can hold on to and know to be true, get in touch with their values and beliefs, and lead from that place. And exceptional leaders aren't afraid to make mistakes, knowing that they've stayed true to their core beliefs. If she makes a mistake, she learns from it, redirects, and moves on. 

With this brand new year ahead, in still uncertain economic, political, and religious times, get in touch with the truths you can hold on to, set your course within that framework, and proceed with confidence, so others will follow.

UPDATE: Interestingly enough, after writing and posting this entry, I read my daily update from Harvard Business Review and found this post:  Confidence is a Numbers Game