Managing a community of transformation
Healthy, thriving and responsive are many of the latest buzzwords being used to describe a positive organizational community or environment. These adjectives reflect what is most true about organizations, churches, companies, and ministries. They are people – living, breathing – heart, mind, soul, flesh. They are us. Good leaders wisely manage true humanity in the organizations they lead. This means that they recognize each individual as valuable, purposeful, unique and loved AND, in the same way, the entire company is valued, purposeful and loved. We are one, and we are many. We are whole and we are parts. And who we are individually affects who we are as a community.
Paul’s use of the human body for the Church is appropriate. His analogy shows the true nature of the Church – humanity. We need this reminder in all our organizations and corporations today. If we forget that corporately we are a body, then we forget that together we are bearers of images – together we have a soul. And what does the soul of our organization say about who we are and how we are doing?
When we reduce our analogies of organizational life to widgets and mechanisms, we disrupt a vital part of the transformation of the individual soul. God’s plan for us is not a single, isolated reflection of His likeness and image. God’s plan for humanity is a multitude – a community – connected and united. Good leaders direct organizational life to the collective renewal of the mind by the Spirit, to the corporate bearing of the fruits of the Spirit. Individual sanctification is delayed unless communal transformation is cultivated.
I believe that integrity is one of the highest achievements of organizational life. Wholeness invites us to integration and wholeness. Honesty calls for a change of heart, mind, and soul of the entire community for the love of God and others. Leaders must manage this integration by paying attention to individual hearts so that each is invited into the path of wholeness. Integration requires a fearless and honest look at our reality – to see our wounds and weaknesses.
When we see our breaks, then we know where we need healing. Leaders model this fearless introspection as they become agents of repair in organizational life. Integration leads to interdependence.
There is more to life than our physical body, and it is in the life of our community. Community life is about more than roles and functions. Needs for safety, belonging, commitment, and purpose drive motivation, beliefs, and actions. The emotional health and heart of a person determines the health and heart of an organization. It is more about the leader. Leaders attuned to their needs and emotions create a community where emotions are not shamed or invalidated.
This awareness creates an avenue for healthy expression of emotional needs. A wise leader is attuned to the emotional well-being of people because each person’s heart provides a glimpse of the emotional desires and fears present throughout the organization. This attention to emotional well-being and soul care is essential for any organization that wants to reflect God in this world. It transforms communities from mere producers to creators and creators of meaning. And it makes possible creativity, diversity, and even healthy conflict resolution because the community understands how difference and unity can coexist without competition or blind loyalty.
Going beyond transactions
In today’s American culture, it seems that much of our social life is transactional. There is such a temptation to reduce our needs to material needs – if I have a better salary, I will be secure or feel appreciated. Unfortunately, most of society thinks that human relationships are nothing more than quid pro quo – you do for me and I’ll do for you. Such an attitude deprives us of what God intended for us. Covenant life is more than a contract. A relationship is not a commodity. Good leaders build organizations that bring people together, not promote rugged individualism and consumerism.
In today’s world, unbridled loneliness dominates our pews and boardrooms. Lonely hearts long for something greater—a life full of connection and being. We are made for each other for richness and transformation in the context of community, not apart from it. I pray that we will be leaders who turn our eyes and ears to these lonely cries and lead God’s work to heal the body and make us whole – together.
Andrea Lee Capuyan is the executive director Lavr Pregnancy Center. Andrea holds a Masters in Organizational Leadership from York College. She is a Certified leader of a Christian non-profit organization with the Christian Leadership Alliance and a certified non-profit accounting professional.
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