A brief 3-verse description of one biblical leader is found at the end of Asaph’s summary of Israel’s history up to that point.
“He chose David his servant and took him from the sheep pens; from tending the sheep he brought him to be the shepherd of his people Jacob, of Israel his inheritance. And David shepherded them with integrity of heart; with skillful hands he led them.” – Psalm 78:70-72 -NIV
In general, David is held up as a good – yet imperfect leader. Besides being chosen by God, the writer of this psalm focuses on two other characteristics. David had a heart of integrity and he had leadership skills. Much of David’s growth in leadership was developed and tested in the 15 or so years between the time when he was anointed, and when he was crowned.
Our approach to leadership development in SIL has four equally important aspects: The Picture, The Heart, The Hands, The Support.
In order to provide a picture of what an ideal leader in SIL should look like, we have developed descriptions of Personal Attributes & Management/Leadership Competencies (see above). The Personal Attributes (PAs) describe the values, attitudes, and frame of mind that we want to see in all SIL staff. These statements could start with “I am or I have….” The Management/Leadership Competencies (MLCs) describe the desired skills and abilities for leaders at various levels of responsibility in the organization. These statements could start with “I can or I do ….”
“And David shepherded them with integrity of heart.” Other translations use words such as pure heart, devoted heart, upright heart, true heart, and pure motives. As we consider moving people into leadership in SIL, demonstrated Christlike character should be the starting point. After that we want to support them in developing the desired mindset, values, and understanding that all leaders in SIL should have at this time in the organization. The 4 Pillars events launched in 2017 were designed to do that. The four pillars, or perspectives, are Spiritual Formation, Leadership Understanding, Organizational Awareness , and Missiological Alignment. Since that time a fifth perspective, Global Insights, was identified and will be added to the original four and together will be known as Leadership Pillars.
“…With skillful hands he led them.” In addition to the right character, mindset and values, new and developing leaders still need to learn discrete management and leadership skills beyond the focus on heart issues. Global HR has been tasked with designing a skills development plan. The plan includes looking at what other similar non-profit organizations are doing in the area of leadership development. Also, the plan needs to rely heavily on digital learning courses for the sake of meeting global needs within a realistic budget and time frame. The plan includes courses in Managing and Leading People, and Managing Projects and Programs.
A list of courses to be developed has been created along with a draft two-year plan for new leaders, which is focused on Workday Level 4 leaders. After that is launched, multiyear learning plans will also be developed for leaders at other levels. More information about that will be posted to this site in the future.
In an attempt to ensure learning doesn’t just result in head knowledge without changed behavior, most digital courses are designed to be followed up with implementation support from line managers, mentors, or coaches. Therefore, mentoring and coaching are recognized as the fourth essential element of leadership development.