Work Across Factions

For the next three installments of the Adaptive Leadership Series we will be looking at three components of the competency of Energize Others. It would be easy to read that and think this area of leadership is about motivation. Motivation is getting others energized to do something, like all the work. If you were looking at a situation and seeking the quick fix, that might work. But if your challenge that is unfolding is adaptive, Energize Others moves far beyond simple motivation. Energize Others is about engaging others. Instead you Energize Others to engage.

This takes some willingness on the part of everyone to engage. When the heat is turned up and people are feeling uncertain this can be a difficult request. This can be slow work because it means that the processes used draw and invite people to be a part of the adaptive work that needs to be done.

One way this takes place is through one of the principles of Energize Others is called Work Across Factions. Factions here isn’t a negative work about opposing each other, but in this context factions are groups of people who hold shared values. There are many factions that we could identify in our lives and in our churches. Why is this working across factions so important? Because if we don’t do adaptive work together we are imposing our values on other people and expecting them to go with them. Rather than crafting shared values together in a way that seeks common ground.

The Kansas Leadership Center would identify that working across factions is actually working together when someone holding certain values and beliefs engages productively with another with different values and beliefs. The key here being productively. I think we could all recall a time when this kind of exchange happened unproductively, because those are more glaring. However, when a good process is in play, these can be and are some of the most productive conversations.

This is hard work. This is slow work. A quick fix will not apply in these situations of adaptive work because it can all too quickly lead to alienation. One way to gain skills in this area, is to imagine the situation from a point of view of another in an authentic way. It is part of our calling as followers of Jesus to engage others, where they are, but not to be stuck there.

--Amy Nissley Stauffer