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Toward a new model of global leadership

globe image courtesy of PixabayThis research discovered and set the tone for the development of a more synthetic model for global leadership. Beginning with the chaotic transition of the information age to the era of globalization, the need for a change in leadership is apparent. It was discovered that leading missional movements requires different skills than those needed in past generations. We need a new understanding of leadership for the future that addresses the increased complexities.

While a catalytic person or event may provide the key launching point, a movement sustainable for the long term is led by a multiplicity of leaders. These leaders are able to cast vision and mobilize others through simple actionable steps without falling into micromanagement. Cultural and cross-cultural acumen in leading networks is paramount if a movement is to thrive in the current global context.

A team of teams, built on enduring relationships and grounded on a foundation of deep trust, makes a network or movement strong. Speed and adaptive leadership are crucial skills. The team of teams must also exhibit an ability to empower others more than themselves and foster a culture that encourages information sharing and decentralizes authority to the ground levels.

Making a difference in a complex ecosystem requires that we work together. The ability to rally people and groups around purpose and vision is critical to leading a partnership well. Building deep relational ties and developing trust bind movements and teams together. Listening to the network and movement leaders is critical, as it is in listening that the team not only feels heard, but valued.

Facilitation fosters the capacity for leaders to influence rather than directing toward an organizational objective. The importance of management skills is juxtaposed with the need to hold matters more loosely, combined with a tolerance for ambiguity, a commitment to hands-off management, and allowance for goals to be developed from a variety of cultural vantage points.

Further work needs to be done in order to contribute toward a new theory for polycentric leadership. That said, a more comprehensive model of leadership for the global era in missional movements involves all of these traits and begins to move away from more centralized forms of leadership and toward a more polycentric model.

Some traits endure through time—the importance of a solid foundation in Christ, competence, character, and a reliance on the leading of the Spirit. But it is ever more apparent that leading a movement effectively requires more facilitative and less directive approaches, ones that empower leaders at all levels throughout a movement.31 

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Rev. Joseph W Handley, Jr., Ph.D. is president of Asian Access. Previously, he was the founding director of Azusa Pacific University’s Office of World Mission and lead mission pastor at Rolling Hills Covenant Church. He serves on the International Orality Network leadership team.

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More Information

This article was originally published in EMQ, Vol 54, Issue 2. Copyright © 2018 by Missio Nexus. All rights reserved. Not to be reproduced or copied in any form without written permission from Missio Nexus.

Used by permission from Missio Nexus, PO Box 398, Wheaton, IL 60187. Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Website: www.MissioNexus.org/EMQ

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