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Occasionally I wandered in where I was not wanted and gave truthful answers.
Sometimes I even did it deliberately. A little disruption now can prevent disaster later.

On Pagan Leadership

This is a page from the third version of Technopagan Yearnings. There are some formatting differences. Originally published at www.neowayland.com/C65989237/E20100511135052

Build them up

You know, I almost called this On Leadership.

Reader juliaki sent me a couple of links about a different aspect of some things I have been thinking about for a while.

My coven/group/grove/circle experience is fairly limited. But my people experience isn't. Two of the major reasons why we make small groups is for a specific project or long term development.

Usually I think of projects in terms of film or stage production. You get the best you can, you put the plan together, you do the job, and then you party. For projects, the leaders don't necessarily have to know what they are doing if the others are good enough. If the project is important enough, you tolerate nonsense in order to get it done.

Long term development is trickier. I always based mine on the simple fact that I want allies not servants. If I'm the leader and they aren't getting better at their part while making me get better at mine, then I screwed up.

Yep. You read that right.

Being a leader isn't about who has the best technical knowledge or who read the most books this week or who has the shiniest toys. And it's not about making sure that there is a place to meet and having munchies close by. It's about making the the other people better today than they were yesterday. It's about trusting them to do their job.

Plenty of stuff has been written about leadership. I'll give you some of the basics.

Yes, it can be learned.

No, there is not one best way to do it.

Yes, there is YOUR best way, and it is up to you to find it.

These days, I believe that persuading someone works better in the long term. If I've done right by them and they know I honor them, they're more likely to pull an all-nighter at the last minute to get my toes (and other assorted body parts) out of the fire.

Here's a hard-won lesson that I will pass along free of charge. Real leadership is earned in blood, sweat, and tears. The title comes later after you've proven you deserve it six or seven times. Leadership comes from building others up so they are strong enough and get stronger. Effective leadership comes from making the team flexible so the job still gets done no matter what happens along the way. Inspirational leadership means they volunteer for dirty parts so the job is done and done right. And amazing leadership comes from them doing all this and more without you telling them what to do.

If it's not your nature, it's hard to learn and harder still to practice. My grandfather's life taught me that the measure of a man is in the lives he touches. I've tried to live by that rule. Some days worked better than others.

Heres another hard-won lesson, and it's one that hardly anyone talks about. Real leadership means giving it your all and then some. Everything you do as a leader is going to get practiced AND exaggerated by the people you're leading.

If you maintain your power by succeeding, you'll pass that along. If you maintain your power by being a conniving manipulative son-of-gun who leaves damaged lives in your wake, well, you'll pass that along too. Of course then you won't have anyone to watch your back when the stuff hits the fan…

Like calls to like. It's more than the magick.

Posted: Tue - May 11, 2010 at 01:50 PM

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A narrow slice of life, but now and again pondering American neopaganism, modern adult pagans & the World.

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