I came across a new book by Kate Coleman, former President of the Baptist Union of Great Britain. I haven’t read it yet, but its title is enticing: “Seven Deadly Sins of Women in Leadership” – and I think she is addressing women in any kind of leadership role, not just in the Church.
I’m a bit wary of viewing women as ‘a case apart’, a group who need special treatment or who have gender-specific gifts or foibles. On the other hand, the forces of society can shape us in ways we’d rather not admit to.
The synopsis of the Seven Deadly Sins according to Coleman are these below – do you think they are particular temptations for women leaders?
1st Deadly Sin of Women in Leadership – Limiting Self-Perceptions
Our leadership of others is affected by what we believe about ourselves. Many women cultivate an unrealistic and ‘limited’ view of themselves.
2nd Deadly Sin of Women in Leadership – Failure to Draw the Line
Unlike most men, many of the leadership challenges faced by women in work and ministry, are boundary issues. We need to empower women to establish boundary lines in healthier places and provide guidelines on how and when to say, ‘yes’ and ‘no’.
3rd Deadly Sin of Women in Leadership – Inadequate Personal Vision
Women are particularly susceptible to inadequate personal vision. Women need to discover their own compelling personal vision, that will inspire and sustain them throughout life’s many challenges.
4th Deadly Sin of Women in Leadership – Too Little Life in the Work
Most women seldom ever stop working, even when they are on ‘holiday’! They need to develop a healthier work-life rhythm that enables them to truly work, rest and play.
5th Deadly Sin of Women in Leadership – Everybody’s friend, Nobody’s Leader
21st Century leadership is said to be relational. Women have always been more concerned about relationships and therefore have the potential to excel at relational leadership.
6th Deadly Sin of Women in Leadership – Colluding and Not Confronting
Until the perception of leadership is both male and female, women in leadership will often face greater obstacles and may experience greater conflict, than men. Commitment to peacemaking provides an opportunity to deal with differences appropriately through confronting (facing up to), rather than colluding (conspiring) with others.
7th Deadly Sin of Women in Leadership – Neglect in Family matters
The people closest to a leader often determine the leader’s ultimate success. Regardless of whether women are married, single, with or without children, family members are often a very significant part of our ‘inner circle’, that is, our circle of influence.