Top Ten Quotes: Developing Female Leaders
If you’ve been around this corner of the innerwebs for a while, you know that I’ve often crowd-sourced your input to help me diversify my reading list. And you’ve delivered! Over the last few years many of you have introduced me to new authors and titles that have been incredibly helpful to my ministry and leadership.
One of those was 2019’s Developing Female Leaders: Navigate the Minefields and Release the Potential of Women in Your Church. Kadi Cole does a masterful job of…well…navigating the minefields of how different denominations and churches handle this important topic. I found it to be a great catalyst for crucial conversations for all of our church staffs, ministry teams, committees, and leadership groups to have. You’ll notice below that it’s almost impossible to distill Cole’s work to a series of one-liners. There are some deep insights that need to be dug into and feasted upon. That said, here are a few appetizers:
- If you want to understand the holdup, you must understand the pushback. You have to learn what many of the women in your congregation are battling internally so you can encourage and challenge them in the right ways.
- …if there is a job opening available, research has shown that a man will apply for that job if he is 60 percent confident that he can perform the job well. He knows he can likely figure out the other 40 percent as he goes. On the other hand, if a woman looks at a potential job opening, she will wait until she is 100 percent sure that she can perform the job well even before applying.
- Men need to ask questions and then listen…really listen. This is the first and best place to start.
- …I fully support whatever your theological beliefs are and where you draw the line around the issue of a woman leading in your church. I can understand, appreciate, and have been a part of almost every belief system on the spectrum. What I do want to call out, however, is the space between what your theology will allow a woman to do in your church and what she thinks she is allowed to do.
- Administrative assistants are incredibly valuable on any team…but their gifting and contribution are very different from those of a leader. Administrative skills are not the same as the spiritual gift of administration.
- “Mentors give, whereas sponsors invest…Their chief role is to develop you as a leader.” (Sylvia Ann Hewlett)
- When we are talking about male leaders intentionally investing in the development of female leaders, I see sponsorship as a public relationship (twelve feet apart), mentoring as a social relationship (twelve to four feet apart), and coaching as a personal relationship (four feet to eighteen inches apart), which is why I think female leaders receiving coaching from an experienced female ministry leader is best. There are often aspects of one’s personal life, family, relationships, and spiritual growth that require this type of closer connection to address. The key is for male leaders to make sure their team members have all these types of relationships with someone and that each of their team members receives the same development.
- The tendency to give women shallow feedback with few steps for improvement creates this “case of niceness.” … In an effort to value these women and appreciate them, many of their leaders shower them with vague praise, introduce them publicly as the “glue” who “really holds this place together,” and celebrate their value on the team frequently.
- I recommend auditing your weekend services – or whatever your ministry or role – for how women are portrayed. It can be surprising how many times we send a message we didn’t mean to send.
- To try to be someone else is to miss what God wants to do now through me. Leadership is personal because how I lead is an expression of who God has made me to be.
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