This week on the podcast we had the pleasure of speaking with Steve Foran, founder of Gratitude at Work and author of Surviving to Thriving – The 10 Laws of Grateful Leadership. Steve is an expert on the topic of gratitude, specifically how gratitude is tied to leadership. It was an incredible conversation that we would encourage you to watch or listen to.

There was something that Steve spoke into that we wanted to touch upon this week because it speaks to a problem we almost always see when we begin working with parishes to help them bring their parish from maintenance to mission.

“Who are your leaders?”

Many parishes, if you asked them about their leaders, will name for you their pastor and they might mention a director of one of their major ministries. This is a symptom of a very large problem where we see parishes lean heavily on the one person that they see as their leader. This process burns out priests, alienates parishioners, and simply does not work. Instead, we focus on teams who are constantly working towards building up more and more leaders through a leadership pipeline.

Steve explains that when he talks about leaders, he’s not talking simply about CEOs. People who influence people are leaders, whether they choose to see themselves as such or not. When you’re in a room and people look to you to answer a question, this is an opportunity to be a leader. You will lead those people, whether you choose to or not, and if we’re not intentional with that leadership the places we lead into may not be ideal.

Leadership is not a choice. Good leadership is a choice.

This brings us to something that we constantly delve into with pastors. This brings us to vision. Not only must vision be clear, it must be communicated and reiterated. It’s not something that you say in a homily one time or include in a bulletin for a couple of weeks. Your team should know what that vision is. Your parishioners should know what that vision is.

If you’re a member of those teams, or you’re a parishioner, do you know the vision of your parish?

When we share that vision and communicate it in meaningful ways, we help develop leaders within our community that will help us carry out that vision. Without a community of people investing in a vision, it’s an idea and nothing more. When you start to see individuals carry out that vision, that’s when you know that you’re leading and that you’re raising up leaders.

When we speak to successful leaders, they all seem to have the same thing to say when it comes to the objective of leadership. Leadership is the removal of obstacles. Leadership is about giving “followers” the tools and the permission to move forward, thus realizing their role as leaders. .

What are you doing, right now, to empower leaders in your parish?

What are you doing, right now, that’s creating obstacles to leadership for people that aren’t seen as “leaders” within your parish.

Answering these two questions will go a long way towards raising up leaders within your parish.

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