Articles of Faith: Leading in Tomorrow’s Culture

This post is part of our Sunday Series titled “Articles of Faith.”
We investigate leadership lessons from the Bible.
See the whole series
here. Published only on Sundays.

When leading people, understanding and appreciating the environment and atmosphere in which you are leading is often just as important as understanding and appreciating the people you lead. Also, understanding that environments/atmospheres can change is also very important. And sometime changes come quickly!

So what is a leader to do?

Inevitable Change

Things can happen that totally change what it takes to lead a team. For instance, a perfectly functioning and well-adjusted team that performs well in great economic conditions may be quite a different story when trying to lead the same team when economic calamity hits.

Here is an example:

Say your company accidentally ships out faulty product and the liability severely hurts the ability of your company to run. With huge profit losses and costs associated with correctly the problem, your firm has to layoff people and re-do how they do business. Or, if your company’s products are recalled due to no fault of your company or product, your organization can still suffer a big loss.

If you remember the case of the recall of Tylenol, you can understand that things can change quickly for an organization.

This would be an extreme example of a changing environment in the workplace, but rapid change can happen that lead to a shift in leadership behaviors. Changes that leave uncertainty, doubt, guiltresentment or an overall fear in the workplace is a big deal to have lead through.

This is easy to imagine and understand: when change comes quickly, leaders must react quickly.

Negotiable Change

On the other end of the upset-your-apple-cart spectrum that would probably bring less noticeable change into the workplace environment could be something that is cultural in nature.

Imagine a time in the not-too-distant future when a cadre of younger generation employees begin coming into the office wearing never-before-seen  fashion elements and doing crazy dance steps between cubicles with their new hologram 3-D dance partner from your Tokyo office.

This new cultural change strikes you as odd because it is so out of the ordinary. It’s like you woke up after a 20-year sleep and are witnessing office decorum change in a big way. Unlike the a swift-moving economic/fear-based change, the change in this case is one in which you have more control.

“Hey, it’s the new way to do business” they say. “It’s Full-Blown Culturallaboration”

This sort of change appears to have come quickly, but how does one lead through it?

  • Do you reject this new cultural collaboration and shut down the practice?
  • Do you start doing the dance in between the cubicle and contact your counterparts overseas to dance with their virtual 3-D hologram image during work hours?
  • Do you first seek to understand the change and determine the merits and drawbacks?

Any of these reactions are legitimate for a boss to do.

  • If this proves to be only disruptive and problematic for normal businesss, then shutting it down could be very valuable.
  • Jumping right in to the new dynamic might really help with the environment by easing tension and making things lighter if this is something needed.
  • Or, taking one’s time to digest the new change and reacting in time might also be the best thing to do.

I think all of the above can prove to be good. It depends on the time, the conditions, and the needs of that team and their environment.

Where Do You Go?

But in arenas and circumstances at work, at home, or anywhere in between that may be turbulent or require greater thought and discipline, what is the best way to look at culture and changes that occur around you? Where can you go for reliable counsel to help you keep your bearing during change? How do you help others you lead in dealing with tomorrow’s cultural changes?

If you need help in understanding what your creator thinks, see what He has to say here:

Romans 12:1-2 (The Message Version)

Place Your Life Before God

1-2 So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.

So, do you go to Paris Hilton, TV, movies, news, the internet, or blogs for your cues on culture? See what Tamara Lowe says about Jesus and culture!


WWJR? (What Would Jesus Rap?)

Bookmark Articles of Faith: Leading in Tomorrow's Culture

Tom Schulte is Executive Director of Linked 2 Leadership
He provides leadership training fit for the Blackberry-Attention-Span

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