This week, I’ve invited my good friend and colleague, Rabbi David Teutsch, to share his knowledge about leadership.Rabbi Teutsch, an expert in many areas, has spent much of his life on helping leaders of synagogues and other organizations understand and fulfill their roles effectively. His most recent book, which grew from a leadership development program which Rabbi Teutsch designed and co-taught, is entitled Making a Difference. A Guide to Jewish Leadership and Not-for-Profit Management.
In his chapter on leadership, Rabbi Teutsch writes:
Perhaps most important, when organizations are out of kilter, genuine leaders ask the questions that need to be answered in order to find out why. You will not be an effective leader unless you’ve learned to ask questions. If you don’t know what is going on in your organization and why it’s happening, you must first find out in order to lead effectively. New leaders must be willing to ask questions about projects and how they work, and about how people in an organization work together, and about almost everything else… Empowering others means consciously involving them in discussion of the questions at hand (p.11).
So I’ve asked Rabbi Teutsch to suggest the kinds of questions that professional and volunteer leaders should be asking in today’s environment. In creating that “preferable future” that I wrote about in my last post, if one of the most important functions of leaders is to ask questions, what are the three most important questions lay leaders should be asking about their congregations? What are the three that clergy should be asking? Are these questions the same, overlapping or different? Answers matter, but I happen to agree that questions matter more. I’m looking forward to hearing from Rabbi Teutsch and seeing if all of us can agree about the big questions that we need to be asking!
Rabbi Hayim Herring