This month's theme is Authority and Leadership. And, this month I will start leading dance classes again, meeting on Saturday, Jan. 11 and 25, from 2-4pm. The following quotes from out theme packet, speak to the relationship between another kind of dancing, in understanding the interplay of Authority and Leadership.
Authority, however it is conferred or seized, is the basis of leadership. Within Unitarian Universalism there are two broad models of leadership. One is the model of lay leadership for those congregations that do not have a minister. The other is shared leadership for congregations that have either a called or consulting minister. Shared leadership is often called shared ministry.
There is a yin-yang operating in vibrant congregations: leadership and followership. Both are essential, and each done well enhances the other. Rob Asghar likens it to a dance in which each partner’s moves are critical to the dance. A dance partner, whether leading or following, can be unskilled and ungracious. The result is not pretty. The partners are never in sync, the result is clumsy at best, and distressing at worst, and synergy is impossible. But there are also skilled and gracious partners. Such a partner, though following the other who may be somewhat less skilled, can help lead through his or her follower role. These partners, according to Asghar, are invaluable. He writes, “They encourage, they create space for risk and improvisation, they keep the mood light, and they create a great experience for both….” Given the yin-yang, good followers make a leader better, and good leaders help lead their followers to new levels.
Asghar concludes, “The dance metaphor gets close to that noble but elusive leadership ideal wherein organizations become arenas in which, no matter our roles, we help one another to shine. A skilled follower helps an inexperienced leader to shine. As the leader grows in skill, he or she is then able to help the followers to shine. And as they all grow in experience and skill; the interplay grows more productive and life-affirming.”As Unitarian Universalist songwriter Ric Masten wrote, “Let it be a dance we do.”
Keeping the Faith,