Who's in charge? Always be sure that your congregation’s leaders are clear about what they’re being asked to do; what their scope of authority is; with whom they need to communicate; and the timeline for the work. That kind of clarity is essential for success.
Read up. Check out the articles and books on the topic of Leadership Development listed below.
Get help. Your district office can be your first call for help with leadership development in your Unitarian Universalist (UU) congregation. The district staff is experienced in working with congregations of all sizes and has lots of ideas to share. Some districts offer leadership schools or workshops for presidents and other volunteer positions, either online or in person. Others have information or archived workshops on their websites. Find out what’s available by contacting your own district, or email congleadership @ uua.org.
Articles on UUA.org
- Leadership Starts with Ownership
An overview of current thinking about leadership development in UU congregations, with links to resources other congregations have created or found helpful. Just one example: a six-session leadership program that congregations can use to help them assess and improve their leadership culture.
- Leadership Development in the Large Congregation (PDF)
Congregations of all sizes would find this article valuable, as Rev. Stefan Jonasson discusses the benefits of having a Leadership Development Committee rather than a Nominating Committee, and outlines the tasks the committee would do.
A newsletter for congregational leaders, with a searchable list of resources.
- Churchworks, by UU minister Anne Odin Heller
Has an excellent, practical chapter on the responsibilities of Board members.
- Leadership Without Easy Answers, by Ronald Heifetz
Makes the distinction between technical and adaptive problems [having to do with values], and guides leaders through challenging adaptive work.
- Healthy Congregations: A Systems Approach, by Peter Steinke
Teaches leaders how to view their congregations as emotional systems and how to influence them.
- The Heart of Change: Real Life Stories of How People Change Their Organizations, by John Kotter
A classic on how to move an organization through change.
Church-Related Organizations, Articles, and Books
The Alban Institute publishes books and has an online library of articles. Written from a Christian or Jewish perspective, they sometimes need a little “translating” by Unitarian Universalists. Start with these two articles:
For more information contact distservices @ uua.org.
This work is made possible by the generosity of individual donors and congregations. Please consider making a donation today.
Last updated on Tuesday, April 23, 2013.
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- Dependency in Congregational Life
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