Monday, 1 February 2016

2016 - The Year of Spiritual Leadership

The number 2016 has several elements:

  • 20 emphasises the number 2 representing duality

  • 16 adds 1 and 6 together to create the number 7 which represents wholeness

  • each of the four numbers of 2016 added together creates the number 9 which represents spirituality.

Therefore, these numbers have created 'The Year of Spiritual Leadership' and will usher in a time of manifesting a time of ethics, progress and community spirit. 2016 will be judged on integrity, standards, morals and boundaries because:
  • 20 is a questing energy which causes us to consider what qualities are ‘good’ and what are ‘bad’.
  • 16 seeks for the ‘big picture’, and brings together disparate parts to create something valuable which we can be proud of.

  • These numbers added together I've us 9, the number of spirituality, the non corporeal, the non material, the eternal part which desires purity and peacefulness.



How will we achieve a Year of Spiritual Leadership?


The word ‘community’ is based on a ‘common unity’ of purpose and understanding and for this reason, when we come together, we should work on our goals and ambitions - and help others to achieve their goals too. Each person should bring commitment, dedication and consideration to the community and, in this way, we all gain from each other. The easiest way to progress is to learn from a leader, that is one who has beaten a path through the jungle of life, and therefore has made it possible for us to walk quickly and without hindrance, in their footsteps. Progress becomes very difficult when we can only learn from errors that occur as a result of being poorly equipped or badly informed. This is what happens when we have poor quality leadership. Whenever something undesirable occurs, our psychic centres close down, our energy levels drop, and the efficacy of our immune system is compromised. As a result, we are too depleted to assist with strengthening and supporting others.



Leadership is a skill which cannot be learned from a book because it is experiential and requires practice. However, written information can provide guidance. In our society, we have two approaches to our leaders, either we idolise them, or we reject them! Everyone wants to be a leader, but no-one wants to be led! Though many would like to live without leaders, in reality, we cannot make progress without them! A good leader’s job is broad and often requires considerable sacrifice, expertise and dedication. Leadership needs to be conducted especially when there is no insightful or useful progress. The position of leader can be that of manager, teacher, caretaker, facilitator, steward, mentor, guide and coach!




What are the tasks and roles of a leader? anticipating problems in advance; arbitrating between people; articulating what has not been spoken; assigning tasks; assisting others to get the best from their own talents; building strengths and confidence; chastising when appropriate; coaching; consoling; defining the indefinable; demonstrating skills; developing abilities and opportunities; eliminating hindrances; emphasizing and maximizing strengths; empowering and encouraging; ensuring safety; evaluating; focusing on tasks; identifying needs; imparting knowledge; implementing changes; increasing expertise, awareness and competency; listening; maintaining order, ethos, standards, values and boundaries; managing and mentoring; moderating during conflict; monitoring; motivating; negotiating; observing; organizing; preparing; preserving what is good; problem solving; protecting; recognizing opportunities and dangers; refereeing in arguments; reinforcing skills; reviewing; setting an example; supporting those in need; stabilizing the group; taking necessary decisions; and helping all members get the best from their communal activities.






Effective leaders lead by example and should be applauded for their capacity to fulfil many responsibilities with calmness and goodwill. Theirs is the most prominent position within the group, and therefore the leader is usually scrutinised - and criticised - more than anyone else. A leader often suffers from the petty jealousies from others who do not wish for responsibility or commitment. A leader is usually held accountable when things go wrong, so it is not a position to envy. A leader will implement changes in order to maintain good practice and  should facilitate, motivate and stimulate others. A leader often looks after organizational and planning matters, and is aware of influences and time factors. A leader also has responsibility for the cohesion and collaboration of the community. Most leaders will fail to accomplish all these requirements at some time and should be given support for their attempts to do their job to the best of their ability.



When a leader is ineffective, the community will suffer, and conflicts will arise and will result in conflict and other difficulties. If a leader does not perform the tasks of leadership, anyone can take the initiative and organize what needs to be done, not by being competitive, but co-operative. In groups where no leader has been appointed, one usually emerges. Autocratic and self-serving styles of leadership are common in our society, and occur where one person manipulates or bullies everyone else, misuses power and often cause resentment. Gentler people who are eager for progress end up carrying those who are overly ambitious for personal power, and are good at getting it. Resentment against self-centred leaders is therefore often justifiable.

Lack of quality leadership requires a change of leadership!

  



It is difficult, without prior experience, to be a fair and aware, yet firm leader. The leader should be involved with problem solving but decisions should be by mutual consent and the initiative should be to build a strong community. Small problems may seem nit-picking, but if one waits, it may be too late to restore stability. Those who respond well to authority figures show a mark of emotional maturity. Spiritual people, such as ourselves, recognize the importance of inter-dependency and sharing. We also appreciate that every member has something of value to offer.



It is important to be able to feel comfortable in both roles; that of being led, and that of leader. All parts make up the whole, and all parts are necessary and have their place. If there is personal incompatibility within the group, interpersonal issues can be resolved by examining what each person expects, needs and wants from the group, and from their leader. Each specific problem needs to be brought to Spirit for resolution through meditation and prayer for guidance. Adjustments to the method, style and content of the work may also be required. The need for good leadership is present in all aspects of our life. In large groups, it is almost impossible to make consistent progress without a regular leader. Most groups work through differences and difficult times, and successful leaders take the pressure off themselves by sharing their power intelligently with others. Small, leaderless groups particularly thrive on the basis of communal responsibility. Democratic leadership can only ensure power for the majority over the minority, even if the minority is one person and the majority, two.



Where there is dissent, aim for a win/win scenario.



Equality is of utmost importance. It is useful to bear in mind that hierarchies frequently abuse power. When this happens, people form alliances, and begin to enjoy competing, and will scapegoat vulnerable people in their midst. If an organization is corrupt at the top, it will, without doubt, be corrupt at the bottom! However, organizations that are wholesome at the top might still be corrupt at the bottom – unless there is adherence to rules and consistent monitoring of ethical standards. I mention this because every small group still has many of the problems associated with larger institutions. The ultimate aim is to increase our capacity to care for others and to develop our sense of responsibility to those in need. 

A good slogan is ‘small errors grow large’

If leadership is necessary, an alternative to autocratic leadership is that of rotational leadership as this gives everyone the chance to take this high profile position. When one person has held a key position for a given length of time, another should be appointed to keep the workload circulating, so that there is an opportunity to be involved with different activities. Compromise and co-operation are vital parts of the learning and sharing aids life skills. This type of service is a self-sacrifice that we offer to others on the same path as ourselves. There are ways of sharing responsibilities fairly, such as by volunteering, by random selection (either spinning a coin or drawing straws), by rote, or alphabetical order. We are all responsible for creating the best community possible, and to be the best we can be within it. Whenever a community functions badly, change is necessary. When all else fails, the old order should be disbanded and a new order formed of fresh, new leadership. Wendy Stokes www.wendystokes.co.uk



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