Arthur Larrabee's Quaker Model for Leadership

I'm at Philadelphia Yearly Meeting summer sessions for the first time. It's comfortingly similar to Pacific Yearly Meeting, though with some striking differences I'm still thinking about. Meanwhile, here is a summary of the talk by Arthur Larrabee, General Secretary for PhYM, on the Yearly Meeting's theme this year, "Powerful Beyond Measure: Trusting the Call to Leadership."

Arthur Larrabee’s Top Six Recommendations for Quaker Leaders
as delivered at evening plenary to Philadelphia Yearly Meeting, 7/29/2011

1. Think globally about your meeting (or organization).
What is God’s big idea for us? Take time for retreat & reflection. Consider not just the temporal health but also the spiritual health. Consider our diversity and our oneness.

2. Share with us the fruits of your big-picture thinking.
Then release those thoughts back to the meeting. By releasing, we welcome the Spirit to come among us.

3. Take risks.
Be vulnerable in service to the meeting. Ideas and truth will inevitably trigger resistance. We need leaders to be fearless. Don’t fear rejection of ideas. Accept the result either way with equanimity.

4. Be spiritually grounded.
We expect you to be Spirit-led and open to the Spirit.

5. Test and season your ideas with the community.
The community’s temporal and spiritual input is necessary for discernment. The Quaker model is not the “power over” model of leadership.

6. Find primary satisfaction as a leader in the success of your meeting or organization.
We don’t expect you to be egoless or not want recognition of your gifts and skills. However, we expect you to measure your success by the success of the community.
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To conclude, Arthur said, “Quakers have always had leaders… We need to be clear about what we expect of our leaders. With shared expectations, we’ll know what will make for trustworthy leadership."

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