Appreciative Leadership

ALI’m finding a lot to appreciate in the rhythms of congregational life from the book Appreciative Leadership: Focus on What Works to Drive Winning Performance and Build a Thriving Organization. 
If you are like me, you hear positive stories and happy endings and get all fired up. How can I lead my congregation into a beautiful story? Where might we be on the lookout for sources of positive potential to engage? Chapter 2 in Appreciative Leadership gives a nudge in the direction of where we might experiment:

  1. Strengths – Success breeds success. Study strengths, capabilities and high performance patterns.
  2. Past Success – History is a source of positive possibility. Share stories of success from the past and inquire about them.
  3. Cynicism – Behind every cynical statement, there’s a dream wanting to be realized. Ask about the dream; listen for it and reflect it.
  4. Big Emotions – Validation releases emotions and creates a clearing for ideas. Listen with compassion; affirm and reflect feelings.
  5. Edgy Ideas – Innovation lives on the edge. It is never the norm. Seek out and playfully consider unlikely and disliked ideas.
  6. Connectivity – New connections create new opportunities. Reach out and get to know new people, and people anew!
  7. Opposition – Unity is harmony among differences. Seek out people with whom you disagree. Respectfully seek a new “mash” of ideas that resonate with all.
  8. Novelty – Novelty is the seed of learning. Regularly try new things, try new ways of doing things, and reflect upon ideas that are new to you.

 In what one area might your congregation try experimenting?


Doug Hanner
Southeast Director