Ed Stetzer: Recently, I invited Jenni Catron, founder of 4Sight Group, to guest lecture at our Wheaton College Graduate School. She did a Q&A about leadership in the church and about her book The Four Dimensions of Extraordinary Leadership: The Power of Leading from Your Heart. (Her book is one of the required textbooks.) If you are interested in the program, you can always email [email protected] for more information! Here’s our interview with Jenni, slightly edited for clarity and brevity.
Ed: Jenni, you’ve led change in a lot of different settings including churches, and now your organization continues to help people with change. Tell us a little bit about how you have thought about change in general, and how you apply that in churches specifically.
Jenni: Change is a complicated component of leadership. The reality is, many leaders who enter into situations of change do so without really having the skills or coaching to know how to do it. The big thing for me in change management is rooted in the emotional intelligence of the leader. Leaders engaging in change not only need to understand themselves, but the people they’re leading.
One of the qualities that I believe distinguishes effective leaders is the ability to see further than others see. Leaders have the insight of where God is leading and what change is needed to arrive at the place of God’s prompting.
It is easy for leaders to become impatient when leading through change because they can see the destination and understand the steps needed to get there, but they forget to graciously lead people at a pace they can stand. That’s not to say that leaders shouldn’t challenge and stretch their people or prep their people for discomfort at times. But emotional intelligence is important as it gives leaders the discernment to graciously bring people along rather than grudgingly dragging them.
Ed: How do you coach people through change?
Jenni: To lead people through change, it’s important for leaders to know where they are, where they are going, and how they are going to get there. This allows leaders to map out a plan for change. The map is important as it provides people with a clear understanding of both where they are going and how the leader intends to lead them there.
As leaders move people through this process of change, it’s important for them to pause in order to listen well to those (teammates, congregants) affected by the change. Listening to their feedback will provide leaders with an image of the kind of preferred future vision they’ll need to paint for them.
Once they can comprehend the preferred future, leaders then can offer simple steps they can take to help people start moving in the direction of the preferred future.
Let me sum it up this way: Build a plan, define the steps, listen well, start taking action, but then in that action, keep telling the stories of how the changes are really moving the body towards the preferred future.
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Source: Christianity Today