I’m in the middle of reading Leading Out of Who You are: Discovering the Secret of Undefended Leadership by Simon P Walker for a leadership training course I’m on next week. Some of the things he say have been really challenging:
The leader lives all the time with a discrepancy between the world that she wants (and wants others) to inhabit and the world she (and others) actually do inhabit. Psychologists call this condition ‘cognitive dissonance’ – there is a discord between the reality and the ideal. Now, there is plenty of evidence to suggest that this discord produces a certain mental and emotional strain in people. This can be constructive, generating passion, drive and energy; but it can also be destructive, producing frustration, disappointment and confusion.
Certainly that’s one of the real leadership challenges I struggle with – I desire so strongly for young people to grow up in a better world, and a better church and at times that creates great vision, and at times I feel so lonely and as though I’m constantly banging my head against a brick wall. More recently I’ve been feeling the need to learn how to cope with this cognitive dissonance – to not allow it to overwhelm me but for it to sustain my vision.