Challenge is far more comforting than comfort. It is through challenge that one develops hope. – Ed Friedman
I have been a devotee of Rabbi Ed Friedman for years. Friedman was the first to connect Bowen Family Systems Theory to congregations and the way they function. His seminal work Generation to Generation has formed me and countless other pastoral leaders.
I spent today at the Franciscan Retreat Center in DeWitt at a seminar led by two women, one a student of Murray Bowen, the other a student of Ed Friedman. It was called "The Brain, Reactivity and Sabotage." Myrna Carpenter, the one from the Friedman Center in Bethesda, Maryland, reminded me of Ed's guide to good leadership:
1. Have a sense of self. Know where you begin and others end.
2. Observe and work on your own reactivity. What sets you off? How can you regulate your reactions?
3. Have a vision for your life. Know where you are headed. Be able to say "This I believe ..."
4. Stay an "I" when the system is demanding a "we." Know how to stand alone if necessary.
5. Watch out for resistance. It's coming ... how will you handle it?
6. Stay on course. Persist. Hang in there.
All of us are leaders in some aspect of our lives ... in our families, in our places of work, in our groups and affiliations. Ed Friedman's Generation to Generation and his posthumous work, A Failure of Nerve: Leadership in the Age of the Quick Fix can help anyone be a better parent, a better boss, a better committee chair or even just a better person.