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Books for those in ministry organizations who desire to take their leadership, teams, governance, and ministry effectiveness to the next level.

28 Dec '14

Leaders who do not allow free expression of ideas are operating out of insecurity and fear

Posted by T.J. Addington
I run into them from time to time: leaders who demand that their staff think like they do. They are intimidated and fearful of those who freely express their opinions rather than simply agree with their views. Often, they try to find ways to ensure that independent thought is stifled or discouraged whether through intimidation, policies or signed documents (you must agree with me to be in leadership or on staff).

Whenever leaders must try to enforce agreement with their views, they are not only losing a valuable asset (diversity of views and opinions) but are displaying their own insecurities and fears. Let's be real: healthy leaders not only invite their staff to be honest and candid but value their opinions while unhealthy leaders are afraid of views that disagree with theirs. The end result is that leaders who insist that staff agree with them lose both the value of robust dialogue and the best staff who will not stay in a (dysfunctional) culture that demands conformity.

The more coercive the culture (you must agree with me), the more dysfunctional that culture is. Healthy leaders lead out of influence and persuasion, not out of control and policies. When a leader must turn to control and policies to ensure agreement with them it is always a sign to beware!

This is why we (in ReachGlobal) have a policy that any issue can be put on the table - we call it robust dialogue. The only exceptions are hidden agendas or personal attacks. We value the free exchange of ideas and we value the opinions of good leaders. We agree on the philosophic boundaries of our ministry but in strategy we encourage candid and honest dialogue. Does your church or ministry encourage robust dialogue or do you live in a culture of control and fear where leaders insist you agree with them? It says much about the health or dishealth of your leaders.

When leaders start being coercive in insisting that others agree with them they are operating out of insecurity and fear, rather than out of health. The best leaders listen closely to a variety of views and never insist that staff agree with their views.