Training Outline for New Leadership Teams that are Leading Organizations that are in Transition

Anxious times call for steady leadership. When tensions emerge in a congregation, its leaders cannot be as anxious as the people they serve. To remain effective, congregational leaders must control their own uneasiness. This takes self-awareness and confidence to manage relationships and influence behaviors. Knowing how to deal with anxiety and how to work through complex challenges can lead a congregation to new insights, growth, and vitality. Anxious times hold not only the potential for loss but also for creation, important leanings, and changes that will strengthen the congregation.

Recently, due to the nature of our Church being a Campus in Lincoln, California of Bayside Church of Granite Bay we did a weekend of Team Building and Leadership Development. This outline has three components for you that may be helpful: (1) First, the opening session is a breakout that allows for members of the team to share their childhood. This part of the process is to help teams build trust by opening up and sharing what experiences in their past have shaped their present thinking and behavior. This leads itself into the second section- (2)  which is a Family Systems approach to unpacking leadership as an emotional process and not just a cognitive phenomena as well as “anxiety” and how we respond to anxiety is the key to healthy organizational transition. This has had a huge impact for us as it relates to the milieu of our praxis. In this section the process of transition is identified for our Campus. (3) Third, I give a presentation to the Leadership Theory that I adhere to (Servant – Leadership) and breakdown the process of how we come to a theory. The starting process is God Himself which is an ontological construct of the “First Perfect System” (God being Trinity) which then gives place to Scripture, then our theological construct which must deal with three key points of understanding that leadership of others is defined on ” How one views God?” and “How one views themselves?” and “How one views others?”  Leading transition into a new paradigm must involve these three questions being answered from a systemic understanding. To not do this is to not have members of the team honestly unpack the source points of their own anxiety. This embraces two extreme behaviors that must be avoided: First, the need for leader’s to give away power that diminishes their capacity to lead which has as a manifested outcome of codependency.  The second behavior, is a form of paternal or maternal approaches to leadership that become controlling and has a manifested outcome of producing systemic fear. The non-differentiated leaders broker this power may have overtones of collaborative leadership but in the end shrinks the circle of those empowered to do any initiative to a very small group of people. Identifying a Leadership Theory allows a leader to clearly articulate and bridge how an organizations core values can be identified to specific behaviors by Leaders and Teams.

I hope my short summary is helpful and if you desire to discuss anything that is presented in this presentation please feel free to comment or feedback to me.

Staff  Team Dynamics Retreat:




Sharing about the hits heartbreaks and home-runs of your childhood:




Three things that we must courageously face:

  1. First, a New season – a new me – identity
  1. Second, a new team – a new we – team
  1. Third, a new future – a new see – mission

Learning some New Ways

Isaiah 55:8-9, NIV


“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,

    neither are your ways my ways,”

declares the Lord.

 “As the heavens are higher than the earth,

    so are my ways higher than your ways

    and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

Our Starting Point is Always God!

  1. Ways to know God (Exodus 33:13)

“If you are pleased with me, teach me your ways so I may know you and continue to find favor with you. Remember that this nation is your people.”


  1. Ways Defined: A frequented Pathway. A way is the customs of god that sets culture. It is the model of life (Trinity).
  2. Jesus as the way:
    • Jesus is the culture of God.
    • He is the habitual pattern of god
    • He is the perfect portrayal of god.
  1. Converting to His ways (Isaiah 55:6-11)
    • God loves change and is the author of change
    • gods change is inside/out not from the outside/in – “seek”
    • Hebrew concepts of exchanging currency
  1. Some dynamic tensions (Ecclesiastes 7:18)

“It is good to grasp the one

and not let go of the other.

Whoever fears God will avoid all extremes”


  1. Fear of man – fear of god (differentiation)
    • Leadership is an emotional process rather than A COGNITIVE PHENOMENON.
    • leadership is more the clarity of self than it is technique or data.
    • leadership is a dance between people who are shaping and being shaped by each other.
  1. old ways (regressive patterns – off the frequented path)

Issue: in the midst of change there is great anxiety. greater the change the greater the uncertainty. in times of high anxiety groups get stuck.

two outcomes:

  1. Brainstorming and fresh thinking ceases in favor of lifeless, depressing, and compulsive discussion and behavior – think children of Israel. (ex 33)
  2. settling is more than important than advancement

Characteristics of regressive functioning: (going back to Egypt)


  • Polarized and totalistic
  • reactive rather than principle based
  • reductionistic
  • externally rather than internally focused
  • oriented toward crisis rather than opportunity
  • overly serious rather than playful
  • Given to group think


Key questions to identify regressive thinking patterns

  • what factors are contributing to the high anxiety within the group?
  • which regressive thinking patterns are dominating the group?
  • who in the group is most likely able to break free of these patterns?


  1. Knowing some things, and not anything


  1. Characteristics of a well- differentiated person who initiates the leadership process:
  • having clarity about one’s own life principles, vision and goals
  • being able to remain calm in the presence of other’s anxiety and reactivity
  • being separate while being connected (what I will be discussing at the
  • maintaining a non-anxious and sometimes challenging presence
  • managing one’s own reactivity to the automatic reactivity of others
  • taking a non-reactive stance that risks displeasing others & over functioning



  • advice-giving
  • doing things for others that they can do themselves
  • worrying about other people
  • feeling responsible for others: knowing what is best for them
  • talking more than listening
  • having goals for others that they do not have for themselves
  • experiencing periodic, sudden “burnout.”


Signs of under functioning include:

  • asking for advice when what is needed is to think things out independently.
  • getting others to help when help really is not necessary
  • acting irresponsibly
  • listening more than talking
  • floating without goals much of the time
  • setting goals but not following through with them
  • becoming frequently mentally and physically ill.

characteristics of triangulation:

  • talking against others rather than to them
  • gossiping or talking about others when they are not present
  • taking a morbid interest in other peoples problems
  • thinking more about other people than yourself.


  1. Three new ways
  1. choices
    1. undoing old patterns
    2. team means the capacity to disagree and debate well
    1. trust
  1. boundaries

commands: Seeing it through to the end

  1. relinquishments
    1. let go of things that attempt to control you
    2. let go of things that drive you to control.



Principle: common language for debate sets the boundary for


Plan and Process:

The Process that I have used in next step change is an eight step plan that we have already began:[1]


Step 1: 

Establishing a Sense of Urgency

  • Examine market and competitive realities, and identify and discuss crises, potential crises, or major opportunities – This has already been accomplished and will continue to remain that there is a sense of urgency based not just on fiscal realities but Kingdom realities related to Lincoln.


Step 2: 

Creating the Guiding Team

  • Assemble a group with enough power to lead the change effort, and encourage the group to work as a team. We have a new team and other members will be added and this is in process.


Step 3:  

Developing a Change Vision

  • Create a vision to help direct the change effort, and develop strategies for achieving that vision . Culture easily settles. We have changed the culture and will continue to do so as part of a one church many locations part of Bayside Church.


Step 4:  

Communicating the Vision for buy-in

  • Use every vehicle possible to communicate the new vision and strategies, and teach new behaviors by the example of the Leadership Team – stewardship of money, service, and relational connection


Step 5:  

Empowering Broad-based Action

  • Remove obstacles to change, change systems or structures that seriously undermine the vision, and encourage risk-taking and nontraditional ideas, activities, and actions


Step 6:  

Generating Short-term Wins

  • Plan for visible performance improvements, create those improvements, recognize and reward employees and volunteers involved in the improvements. This Fall we have several opportunities – August 17th at Lincoln High School for the character curriculum, Serve Day, Trunk or Treat, and Christmas.


Step 7:  

Never Letting Up

  • Use increased credibility to change systems, structures, and policies. Bottom-line Connection and Train. Have a great Sunday morning experience that is Bayside in quality and keep the level of excellence in youth and Children’s Ministry.


Step 8:  

Incorporating Changes into the Culture

  • Articulate the connections between the new behaviors and organizational success, and develop the means to ensure leadership development and succession- Bring Leaders from Granite Bay into training venues and expose people to who we are as Bayside.


“The Power of Team is grounded in the foundation of how participants

on a team views God and views people.”







Servant Leadership Theory

The magnum opus of Robert Greenleaf, Servant Leadership is a recent theory of leadership that argues that the most effective leaders are servants of their people. Servant leaders get results for their organization through whole-hearted attention to their followers and followers’ needs. Unlike many approaches to leadership, which offer suggestions on how top-level leaders can influence and motivate those further down the hierarchy, servant leaders puts its emphasis on collaboration, trust, empathy and ethics. The leader should be a servant first, leading from a desire to better serve others and not to attain more power. The assumption is that if leaders focus on the needs and desires of followers, follower will reciprocate through increased teamwork, deeper engagement and better performance.

Greenleaf first presented the theory in a 1970 essay, “The Servant as Leader.” However, numerous others theorists have contributed to our understanding of servant leadership. One theorist, Larry Spears, outlined ten characteristics of servant leaders by analyzing the writings of Greenleaf. These ten characteristics are listening, empathy, healing, awareness, persuasion, conceptualization, foresight, stewardship, commitment to the growth of others, and building community.


Ten Characteristics of a Servant Leader


After some years of carefully considering Greenleaf’s original writings, I have identified a set of ten characteristics of the servant leader that I view as being of critical importance—central to the development of servant-leaders. My own work currently involves a deepening understanding of the following characteristics and how they contribute to the meaningful practice of servant leadership. These ten characteristics include:



Leaders have traditionally been valued for their communication and decision-making skills. Although these are also important skills for the servant leader, they need to be reinforced by a deep commitment to listening intently to others. The servant leader seeks to identify the will of a group and helps to clarify that will. He or she listens receptively to what is being said and unsaid. Listening also encompasses hearing one’s own inner voice. Listening, coupled with periods of reflection, is essential to the growth and well-being of the servant leader.



The servant leader strives to understand and empathize with others. People need to be accepted and recognized for their special and unique spirits. One assumes the good intentions of co-workers and colleagues and does not reject them as people, even when one may be forced to refuse to accept certain behaviors or performance. The most successful servant leaders are those who have become skilled empathetic listeners.



The healing of relationships is a powerful force for transformation and integration. One of the great strengths of servant leadership is the potential for healing one’s self and one’s relationship to others. Many people have broken spirits and have suffered from a variety of emotional hurts. Although this is a part of being human, servant leaders recognize that they have an opportunity to help make whole those with whom they come in contact. In his essay, The Servant as Leader, Greenleaf (1977/2002) writes, “There is something subtle communicated to one who is being served and led if, implicit in the compact between servant-leader and led, is the understanding that the search for wholeness is something they share” (p. 50)



General awareness, and especially self-awareness, strengthens the servant-leader. Awareness helps one in understanding issues involving ethics, power, and values. It lends itself to being able to view most situations from a more integrated, holistic position. As Greenleaf (1977/2002) observed: “Awareness is not a giver of solace—it is just the

(The Journal of Virtues & Leadership, Vol. 1 Iss. 1, 2010, 25-30. © 2010 School of Global Leadership & Entrepreneurship, Regent University Spears/JOURNAL OF VIRTUES & LEADERSHIP 28)  opposite. It is a disturber and an awakener. Able leaders are usually sharply awake and reasonably disturbed. They are not seekers after solace. They have their own inner serenity” (p. 41).



Another characteristic of servant leaders is reliance on persuasion, rather than on one’s positional authority, in making decisions within an organization. The servant leader seeks to convince others, rather than coerce compliance. This particular element offers one of the clearest distinctions between the traditional authoritarian model and that of servant leadership. The servant leader is effective at building consensus within groups. This emphasis on persuasion over coercion finds its roots in the beliefs of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers)—the denominational body to which Robert Greenleaf belonged.



Servant leaders seek to nurture their abilities to dream great dreams. The ability to look at a problem or an organization from a conceptualizing perspective means that one must think beyond day-to-day realities. For many leaders, this is a characteristic that requires discipline and practice. The traditional leader is consumed by the need to achieve short-term operational goals. The leader who wishes to also be a servant leader must stretch his or her thinking to encompass broader-based conceptual thinking. Within organizations, conceptualization is, by its very nature, a key role of boards of trustees or directors. Unfortunately, boards can sometimes become involved in the day-to-day operations—something that should be discouraged—and, thus, fail to provide the visionary concept for an institution. Trustees need to be mostly conceptual in their orientation, staffs need to be mostly operational in their perspective, and the most effective executive leaders probably need to develop both perspectives within themselves. Servant leaders are called to seek a delicate balance between conceptual thinking and a day-to-day operational approach.



Closely related to conceptualization, the ability to foresee the likely outcome of a situation is hard to define, but easier to identify. One knows foresight when one experiences it. Foresight is a characteristic that enables the servant leader to understand the lessons from the past, the realities of the present, and the likely consequence of a decision for the future. It is also deeply rooted within the intuitive mind. Foresight remains a largely unexplored area in leadership studies, but one most deserving of careful attention.



Peter Block (1993)—author of Stewardship and The Empowered Manager—has defined stewardship as “holding something in trust for another” (p. xx). Robert

Greenleaf’s view of all institutions was one in which CEO’s, staffs, and trustees all played significant roles in holding their institutions in trust for the greater good of society. Servant leadership, like stewardship, assumes first and foremost a commitment to serving the needs of others. It also emphasizes the use of openness and persuasion, rather than control.


Commitment to the Growth of People

Servant leaders believe that people have an intrinsic value beyond their tangible contributions as workers. As such, the servant leader is deeply committed to the growth of each and every individual within his or her organization. The servant leader recognizes the tremendous responsibility to do everything in his or her power to nurture the personal and professional growth of employees and colleagues. In practice, this can include (but is not limited to) concrete actions such as making funds available for personal and professional development, taking a personal interest in the ideas and suggestions from everyone, encouraging worker involvement in decision-making, and actively assisting laid-off employees to find other positions.


Building Community

The servant leader senses that much has been lost in recent human history as a result of the shift from local communities to large institutions as the primary shaper of human lives. This awareness causes the servant leader to seek to identify some means for building community among those who work within a given institution. Servant leadership suggests that true community can be created among those who work in businesses and other institutions. Greenleaf (1977/2002) said:

All that is needed to rebuild community as a viable life form for large numbers of people is for enough servant-leaders to show the way, not by mass movements, but by each servant-leader demonstrating his or her unlimited liability for a quite specific community-related group. (p. 53)



Bennis, W. (1989). On becoming a leader. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley Publishing Company Inc.

Block, P. (1993). Stewardship: Choosing service over self interest. San Francisco, CA: Berrett-Koehler Publishing.

Greenleaf, R. K. (1977/2002). Servant-leadership: A journey into the nature of legitimate power and greatness. Mahwah, NJ: Paulist Press.

Hillman, J. (1996). The soul’s code: In search of character and calling. New York, NY: Random House.

Josephson, M., & Hanson, W. (Eds.). (1998). The power of character. San Francisco, CA: Jossey Bass.

Kellerman, B. & Matusak, L. (Eds.). (2000). Cutting edge: Leadership 2000. College Park, MD: James MacGregor Burns Academy of Leadership.

Spears, L.C. (Ed.). (1998). Insights on leadership: Service, stewardship, spirit and servant-leadership. New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons.

Zohar, D. (1997). Rewiring the corporate brain. San Francisco, CA: Berrett-K


















[1] This model that I have been using for twelve years was created by John P. Kotter. At every level constantly measuring success.

About PastorAl

Al Soto has been married to his incredible wife Valerie for 30 years and they have five sons and one grandson. Al has been in Local Church Ministry for 35 years as both as a Lead Pastor, Associate Pastor, and for five years as a Regional Overseer for his denomination. He has a BA degree from LIFE Pacific College and is currently completing an MA in Leadership & Spiritual Formation from Vanguard University. He currently resides in Lincoln, CA where he is the new Lead Pastor for one of the Campus locations for Bayside Church. He continues to coach High School Football for the Lincoln Fighting Zebras for the Junior Varsity Program and is facilitating Leadership training and coaching as well as facilitating Spiritual Retreats. His hobbies include Golfing and Scuba Diving as well as he is a veracious reader. His Life Statement is “Real Success is Helping others to Succeed!”
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