• By Clinton Dix, in Space for Grace Network

Reflecting on Church Leadership in Global Contexts


Daring to be Vulnerable

By Clinton Dix, in Space for Grace Network.

I was recently leading a session on cross-cultural leadership with 25 mission agency staff from Brazil. As I spoke about the potential pitfalls and methods of preventing cultural mistakes, the chairman of the board whispered me a question, “Can I share with the group the email that you sent the board earlier this year?” I stopped and quickly considered it. I had sent an email a while back carefully explaining our consulting requirements. It turned out that people reading my email completely misunderstood my intentions. So I agreed (slightly reluctantly). To my surprise the chairman had a copy of my email with him and proceeded to read it out, but without mentioning any names. The entire group howled with laughter that a mission leader could have sent such an email. After the laughter died down I dared to admit: “I was the one that sent the email.” Stunned silence… I continued facilitating. From that moment on our discussions got deeper and more open. I thought about this afterwards. Why had I dared to be vulnerable? I realized that it was only because we had worked together before and we trusted each other. What difference had it made? I also realized that after the “confession” the trust level deepened and our discussions also deepened. Research backs up both observations:

  • Vulnerability and transparency are stronger when trust already exists.

  • Vulnerability and transparency can deepen trust.

But…what about when there is no trust, either because something has occurred to break trust, or where there is no history to establish trust?

  • Are we willing to be vulnerable, to be transparent in those situations?

  • What stories can we share with others that allows us to be vulnerable, that can create that first spark of trust?

What does listening to God; being a steward of grace; depending on the Holy Spirit really look like in the messy realities of our organisations? How do we put these principles into practice? Have a look at this talk that Rick James gave to members of the Danish Mission Council. Get in touch with us at info@spaceforgrace.net.

Creating Space for Grace is integrating our Christian faith into our leadership and organisational change in inclusive, creative and transforming ways.

#Leadership

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About Me

I'm Gustavo Driau, ELCA Global Mission regional representative for Bolivia, Brasil, Chile, Colombia and Peru, since December 2016.
 

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