Stanley Hauerwas on Leadership

Stanley Hauerwas answers questions about Christian leadership in this 10 minute video, which is below. Hauerwas is the Gilbert T. Rowe Professor of Theological Ethics at Duke Divinity School. Thanks to Scot McKnight for putting it on my radar screen.

Here are some excerpts just to show you how good this interview is:

“Leadership is always persuasion.  It’s persuasion all the way down.  So much of how creative authority works is by being articulate for the community about what needs to be done in a way that defies limits.”

“I think many of the proposals about leadership are quite perverse, exactly because it gives the impress that you know what leadership is abstracted from communities that make leadership possible.”

“You must discuss these matters because leadership is about power. Power is rightly one of the gifts God has given us for the formation of good communities and good people.”

“I think about the book of Acts and how they chose Matthias. I think it is a very interesting to ask—and it’s a leadership questions—‘What kind of community do you need to be that you can choose you leadership by lot?’ Because basically, whether you’ve done it officially by lot, that’s the way it turns out.”

“Don’t lie.  It’s very simple. You may very often not know what the truth is.  Tell me that.”

“For any person that wants to be in leadership, if they try to lead in a way that means they don’t have to deal with people and to tell the truth to people, they automatically defeat community.”

“People called to administrative positions, if they are good, have to undergo a deep ascetical discipline. The ascetical discipline is because you are dealing with people who have possibilities and limits, and the limits will sometimes drive you crazy and you can not take it personally. This is to provide space for the different gifts of the community.”

“Recognize how fragile the power is and that you wouldn’t have it otherwise. Have enough confidence that you don’t have to win all the time. That’s a real ascetic discipline.  There really is a discipline of the ego that is absolutely crucial for being a kind of administrator that will allow the institution to go on once you are not longer there.”