Category Archives: Leadership

Styles of Leadership

When I was a curate part of the training we were given was about styles of leadership, and again in industry our styles of leadership were tested for to see whether we fitted with the corporate culture.  There are many different models of leadership (and I will write in a minute about one), but my main argument is that to be healthy an organisation needs different styles represented in its leadership.

The model we were taught was one which separated leaders into:

Engineers – use strategies and visions to come up with plans which everyone is then expected to execute.


Gardeners – use trial and error, they plant something and see whether it works, and if it doesn’t they plant something else, or plant the first thing elsewhere as it may have been in the wrong place.


Surfers – spend time waxing their surfboard, so that when the big wave comes along they are ready to ride it.


Diplomats – use their connections to network and negotiate solutions – often behind the scenes.

In industry I had lots of experience working with Engineers, and discovered that one of the traits is an attachment to an idea.  They have started so they will finish – however bad an idea something is.  However, without that drive from the Engineer the others are less likely to get things done.

Why, you may ask, am I blogging about this in Lent on a church blog?  The reason is that I believe that the church is becoming monochrome in its leadership style.  Bishops are increasingly interested in defining strategies and visions, and are encouraging clergy to do the same.  If like me you believe that there is a place for multiple styles of leadership this is a concern.

It is also a concern in a religious setting, as with a solely Engineering focus there is a danger that we get caught up in today’s plans and visions, and without other leadership styles may lose sight of the main thing – God.

In industry a new meaning for the acronym FIFO was introduced – Fit In or …. leave.  For a denomination that was founded to allow for differences of opinion this is not an option, yet I see many who are hurt by the current emphasis.

I am sure that God can sort things out – but how long, O Lord?

Ministry team grows again

Wendy Edwards, Bishop Andrew and Craig Nobbs outside St Paul's, Dorking, after the serviceThe ministry team in the parish has grown again. With the licensing of Wendy and Craig as Licensed Lay Ministers (LLMs) last Saturday the team has grown to three full-time clergy, three LLMs and two retired clergy who still conduct services, preach and carry out pastoral work in the parish.

Wendy Edwards and Craig Nobbs were both licensed to the parish by the Bishop of Guildford, the Right Rev’d Andrew Watson in a service at St Paul’s, Dorking.

Wendy, the daughter of renowned local journalists Ted Parratt and the late Jean Parratt, started her training in Southwark, but returned to her childhood home of Farnham in 2017, following her mother’s death the previous year, and continued her training with the Diocese of Guildford.

“I returned to the church in 2007 after a very difficult time in my life, and I felt a calling to ministry but it was too early,” she said. “The feeling came again at the end of 2013 and I started exploring it and began my training in 2014. Licensed Lay Ministry is a preaching and teaching ministry in a pastoral context and I will have a particular funeral ministry. In my previous job I worked as a chartered legal executive specialising in wills and probate. I always supported people around the time of deaths in the family through the legal side and felt a call to support them through ministry.”

Wendy will be particularly attached to St John’s, Hale, the church she chose to go to when she returned to Farnham, in part because she had been a bridesmaid there twice in the late 1960s.

Craig Nobbs was already an LLM when he moved to Farnham 18 months ago but was licensed to another parish and wanted to continue his ministry in his new home. He has been relicensed to the Parish of Badshot Lea and Hale and his ministry will mostly be at St George’s, Badshot Lea.

Speaking after the service Craig said: “The service was out of this world and an affirmation of what I am doing in the parish. This parish is one with a big heart. During the licensing service I was conscious of waves of love from both the parish and from God himself. What kept going through my mind was a line ‘Ransomed, healed, restored, forgiven’ (from the hymn Praise, my soul, the King of Heaven), as that has been my experience.”

Craig’s ministry will mostly be at the weekend as he works full-time in London as a Whitehall civil servant taking a lead in educational policy.

Lesley Crawley added: “We are delighted and blessed to have both Wendy and Craig with us and look forward to their continuing ministry as the parish grows and seeks to express the love of God in our community”.

The Nature of Work

Today the Guardian published an article on Uber, suggesting that the culture at Uber was making it difficult of their employees to get jobs elsewhere because of the way they were encouraged to behave at work.  This seems to me to fit with my earlier post on valuing everything by money, and seems to be a reaction against that kind of attitude.

I worked in business for nearly 30 years and worked in two very different businesses within the same group.  One had adopted Total Quality and believed in the empowerment of the employees; the other had a command and control management structure.  The first worked collaboratively, and relied on personal relationships, the second worked antagonistically.

For example, in the first when something bad happened the whole company pulled together to correct it and make sure it didn’t happen again.  In the second, when something bad happened all effort went into proving that it wasn’t your departments fault.

In the first, if someone had a good idea they could go an talk to people from other departments about the feasibility, in the second if you wanted to talk to some one in another department you had to talk to your boss to talk to their boss to talk to them.

When the first company was taken over by the second additional accountants were employed to produce all the reporting required to allow people at the top to make decisions.

The links above generally suggest that the first company was the way of the future, and the second the way of the past, and yet zero hours contracts and increasing monitoring of performance against tightly defined metrics (for example delivery drivers speeding to achieve their targets) seem to be increasing at present.

Which of these might be God’s way?

Guildford Diocese have recently been looking at faith in the workplace under the title Transforming Work (the Diocesan Vision is Transforming Church, Transforming Lives) and this video, which was made as part of this initiative, feels more like the first than the second.

What do you think?


Doable Hard versus Destructive Hard

Alan came back from a group yesterday with the concept of ‘doable hard’ versus ‘destructive hard’. I googled it and it is a Bill Hybels theory. He talks about how he likes to have challenges, indeed all of us thrive when we are doing tasks that are neither too easy nor too hard. However, when he planted a church he was amazed at how hard it was and wondered whether it really should be that hard, especially in the light of Jesus saying ‘my yoke is easy’.

So he called a meeting of his team and asked the team to talk about how hard their work was. For some, when they talked about the tough challenges they became animated, their eyes shone, yes it was hard, but it was fun hard. Others talked about the hard things with despondency, they were losing sleep at night, they were becoming more and more fearful.

As a group they started to understand the difference between the two – doable hard and destructive hard – and they made two agreements among themselves:

  1. When it was ‘doable hard’ they would help encourage each other to achieve these tasks.
  2. But when it was ‘destructive hard’ they would flag it up and shift things around or not attempt it, they agreed never to do things that were ‘destructive hard’.

Bill Hybels went home that day and wrote in his journal:

The way that I am doing the work of God is destroying God’s work in me. Something must change. Soon.