In reading about leadership, I stumbled upon research that studied people who led others out of danger. Specifically, the study focused on fires in underground mines. The leaders who successfully led others out of danger had 5 characteristics.
#1: "The leader of each escape may be described as an aware, knowledgeable person or as an individual who is alert to his environment, attentive, and discerning. This person notices things - more so than do other people."
#2 - These leaders did not force themselves and their suggestions on the group - the leadership developed in a natural way. The psychologists who studied the groups examined how the leaders led people out of danger. The effective leaders naturally evolved from the community. They did not force themselves into leadership, force people to to follow, or force ideas. Rather, they knew their people and used that knowledge to bring the best out of everyone. The key was understanding group dynamics and being able to use it to lead.
#3 - Third, the leaders were decisive, yet flexible. They made decisions; yet if circumstances changed they adapted. Change is never easy, especially for institutions. Sometimes it seems that the sheer size of our governing bodies prohibits flexibility.
At the local level, how do you train and equip elders to be decisive, yet flexible? How can we create a culture among our elders defined by being great students of the culture and the ability (and willingness) to adapt to its needs?
Do you have good examples of how to create a culture of decisive, yet flexible, leaders? Or examples of what NOT to do?