THE WEST WING
From Founder & President Keith West
Grace-filled leadership will shape a dynamic, servant leadership culture in your spheres of influence through meaningful relationships and safe environments.
Latitude urges spiritual leaders to create and nurture grace-filled cultures in their organizations. Most leaders want this type of environment, but may not know how or where to begin. Jesus masterfully sculptured a grace-filled culture among his disciples that created the mold for the community of faith.
We teach five grace-filled leadership habits based on biblical models that help leaders create an environment where team members want to establish deep roots and develop relationships that are safe, mutually edifying and healthy. We want to help your work culture become a spacious place where creativity and innovation thrive, where people feel loved, nurtured and valued. Our desire is that they see themselves as stakeholders in the culture of your organization, not merely consumers of it. Is that how you see them?
Here is the first grace-filled leadership habit that we see demonstrated in the ultimate leader, Jesus Christ. John declared in his gospel, “We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:4)
Grace-Filled Habit #1: CREATE ENVIRONMENTS & RELATIONSHIPS OF GRACE
Bill Thrall, Bruce McNicol and Ken McElrath in their acclaimed book, The Ascent of a Leader, made the following observation: “Most people know an environment of grace when they see it. They simply point to the results: people feel safe, they grow up, they trust each other, they live authentically, they celebrate each other, they laugh a lot, they produce better…people feel empowered…they discern a positive spirit that acts as a catalyst in their soul, giving them a sense of hope that ‘this is a place where I belong.’” [Thrall, McNicol, McElrath, The Ascent of a Leader, 1999.]
Would that describe your current leadership culture? That’s what grace looks like in an organization. Theoretically, we all agree that this is the type of environment we want to help create.
On the other hand, if your work culture could more accurately be described as a culture of fear and intimidation, control and conformity, favoritism and competitiveness, negativity and isolation, or performance and insecurity, you have a big problem. Even the most loyal team members will eventually have no other recourse but to flee to the safety of another organization.
Toxic work cultures are characterized by constant stress and fear of failure. No one feels permission to be human or to make mistakes. People leave cultures of “ungrace” with deep wounds and festering bitterness which they often carry with them to the next culture.
The antidote to cultures of “ungrace” is first, to accept responsibility for helping to shape our current cultures. We all have influence, even if it is limited, so we can’t shift the blame to co-workers or senior leaders. What type of self-leadership are we demonstrating in our culture?
Second, we must make deposits of grace every day into our work relationships. Jesus was full of grace and truth because He walked by the Spirit and was filled and empowered by the Spirit (Luke 4:1,14). Spirit-filled followers of Christ will help create “environments and relationships of grace” as an outpouring of the Spirit’s internal work.
Third, we must have the courage to talk about the toxicity in our cultures. We have to stop the exodus of good people who quietly leave our organizations with wounded spirits rather than having difficult conversations that create temporary discomfort, but have the ability to affect positive change.
Will you join the Latitude community in being a catalyst for environments and relationships of grace?