Transformational leadership is visionary. God is faithful to provide the vision when we ask. You may choose to seek a vision through prayer by yourself or with a leadership team. However it is formulated, the leader must be wholeheartedly committed. This commitment must be more than lip service. The leader must continually choose to fulfill the organizational mission rather than relaxing into a life of maintaining the status quo. When communicating vision, the leader is responsible to see the vision
clearly, say it continually, and present it creatively.
Read Habakkuk 2:2 and Proverbs 29:18.
Change is frightening to most people. Therefore, they need both an urgent reason to leave the past, as well as the prospect of an unquestionably better future. People resist change for many reasons: loss of security, threatened personal status, implied criticism of the present or past, etc. In addition, different personalities produce different responses to change. An average group will consist of:
- Innovators (7 percent)—They have never met a change they didn’t like. They actually get an adrenalin rush out of change.
- Early Adopters (15 percent)—They process quickly and can deal with tension. They will know what the issues are and have made a decision by the time the presentation is over.
- ”Show Me’s” (30 percent)—They process more slowly. They need time to work through the changes.
- Tag-Alongs (38 percent)—They do not do independent thinking. They simply follow the influencers.
- Non-adopters (10 percent)—They have a negative outlook on life.
When you are presenting a new vision, understand that it will face opposition. But, each one of the group members is valuable in the change process. Sometimes resistors can help the leader clarify and improve the vision or the strategy for attaining the vision, thus avoiding hasty mistakes. To encourage the creative process, people need to know they have real freedom to say what they want about purpose, meaning, and vision. Shared vision spreads through personal contact. Therefore, informal networks are very important. Participants need the opportunity to meet in person and talk about what
they really care about.
Once the vision is communicated, three distinct phases must occur as change takes place:
- The Ending Phase—Even those who are positive about the need for change will often experience a sense of loss and sometimes defensiveness concerning the past. The wise leader will anticipate this by honoring the past and using it as a stepping stone to the future.
- The Neutral Zone—There is no clear line between what was and what will be. People have to let go of the old before they can begin to become comfortable with the new. The neutral zone can be a place of insecurity, but it can also be an opportunity for innovation. Listen carefully, question the usual and encourage people to try things. Learn to develop new ways to deal with old problems.
- New Beginnings—This is a period when people learn to feel at home and productive in the new way of doing things. Avoid, however, making it sound too easy. Acknowledge new risks and new challenges.
Tie the vision to a strategy. Goals bring target to the vision—make them specific, tangible, and concrete. They make the vision real in the minds of followers. Add urgency by explaining the differences between the way things are and the way they will be once the vision is fulfilled. Share the vision with passion. Passion brings energy to vision.
A shared vision must be built between the leader and the participants in an organization. An individual leader’s vision may carry an organization through a crisis but, at some point, the larger group—both leadership team and the women being served, must understand and buy into the vision. Vision will bring inspiration and energy by helping them see themselves as a part of a future that they want to experience.
What is the vision that God has given you for ministry to women?
What is the next step in the implementation of that vision?
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV®. COPYRIGHT ©1973, 1978, 1984 BY INTERNATIONAL BIBLE SOCIETY®.
“Transformational Leadership” is published by the National Women’s Department at women.ag.org, 2020. Permission granted for personal use or within a teaching setting. Do not reproduce.