Japanese Garden in Jackson Park (Chicago, IL)

One of my favorite Joni Mitchell songs begins:

Every picture has its shadows And it has some source of light
Blindness, blindness and sight…

When I talk about leadership qualities, I find that many of the qualities can be either strengths or weaknesses—or somewhere on a continuum between the two—depending both on the intensity of the personality and the dynamics of the situation. Here are a few examples:

Self Confident…………..Arrogant Good leaders need to be clear in their mission and their direction, but they also have to be open to other possibilities.

Knowledgeable about the Organization…………..Micro-Managing Good leaders have a good “birds-eye” view of the organization and how it operates and where it is headed, but they also need to empower others to use their own creativity to work out the details.

Responsible…………..Over Functioning Good leaders don’t just take all the responsibility upon themselves; they empower other leaders so that everyone can be a part of making the mission a reality.

Mentoring…………..Bossing Good leaders don’t teach others how to be carbon copies of themselves, they help other emerging leaders find their own leadership style and to work with their own strengths and weaknesses.

It is important that we learn how to not be blind to the shadow sides of our leadership qualities, and to find our own source of inner light so that we can transform our weak spots into new strengths.

About the Author
Rev. Renee Ruchotzke
Leadership Development Consultant, Central East Regional Group (CERG) of the UUA. I have a vision of Unitarian Universalist congregations being led by thousands of diverse, spiritually mature and passionate people ready and willing to spread the good news of liberal religion.  I believe ministry is best when shared between lay and professional leaders. More information about me can be found on the UUA website.