Leadership Development 2

Leadership Development 2

Leadership Development 2 is designed to build upon the knowledge attained in Leadership Development 1. This course will assist students in examining theoretical knowledge and provide opportunities for application of this knowledge. The primary goal for this course is for students to increase their knowledge and skills for effective group leadership and public relations.

1) Using the ADF vision statement at https://www.adf.org/about/basics/vision.html as a guide, how would you (as an ADF Priest) promote the growth and vision of ADF? (minimum 100 words)

The ADF Vision Statement is a good starting point for where we are as an organization and accurately represents what we stand for as an organization. I believe we have already started arriving at some of the things outlined in the Vision Statement, such as respect on an interfaith level, televised events, and trained clergy.

When we discuss having ADF clergy and leaders respected on an interfaith level, this is something I have been working towards in my personal work.  I have already taken part in interfaith discussion panels at multiple universities, and would like to continue to do so as the opportunity arises.  I’ve also been involved in research studies that focus on pagan beliefs and families. Having ADF clergy and other leaders be respected on an interfaith level can be advanced even further by writing more content that can be presented to a diverse audience.

The vision statement also presents the idea that we will have live, televised events.  I have done this both with my grove, as well as on my own.  I plan on continuing to do work in this fashion, by recording and releasing and by live casting things like rituals, workshops, specialized workings, and discussions.  This is particularly important for our small grove and solitary members, and will help to promote the growth and vision of ADF.

Finally, the vision statement also talks about how neo-pagans of the future are going to need teaching and “to learn how to connect to the divine fire within.”  Part of my vocation and vision for ADF is creating and providing accessible resources for children and families.  Without resources for the next generation, our religion will effectively die out. I am currently working on a wheel of the year cycle for use by pagan families that pushes us towards being a more inclusive organization.

Something I believe the Vision Statement doesn’t address in enough detail is our drive to become an inclusive organization. I am working towards that in my own work both in personal examination and external action. I am confronting my biases in my work, and working on becoming better equipped to make my work accessible and inclusive. I am also creating content to further the aspects of the Vision Statement that most closely align with my vocation (Bonewits).

2) Describe five techniques you can use in your own life to improve your management of time. (minimum 300 words)

I’ve been really working on using a lot of these techniques as Initiate Council Preceptor. I’ve delegated some of the tasks, like the mentorship program and compilation of new resources, out to competent volunteers.  I’ve also gathered a team of folks to work on the circle 1 revision process.  We schedule meetings for a specific day and amount of time, and focus on just one course at a time and we divided the revision process as a whole up into a course-by-course progression.

            1. Delegating everything possible and empowering subordinates

One way to help with your own time management, as well as with work life balance is to delegate tasks to competent folks.  This will often include some form of mentoring, but once the task is delegated, it removes the details of that work from your plate, leaving you with the important end result that feeds into a larger goal that you’re managing (Clark “Time…”).

            2. Ensuring all meetings have a purpose, time limit, and include only essential people

This is definitely a big one.  If there is no purpose or agenda, then there can’t be a focus for the meeting, which means that the majority of the time may be spent trying to figure out what the meetings was for in the first place.  Additionally, by making sure there is an agenda, you mitigate the issue where some meetings would have been better off as an email.  By including a time limit you keep the meeting focused, and are also respectful of your team’s time.  By only including essential people you make sure that the details can be worked out without too much tangential discussion before presenting the work to a larger group (Clark “Time…”).

            3. Maintaining accurate calendars; abiding by them

I like to say I live and die by my calendar.  What I mean is that I keep a very detailed calendar so that I’m able to easily know what tasks and appointments I’ve got coming up, as well as making sure that it stays up to date so I can schedule new things around my existing commitments (Clark “Time…”).

            4. Do not say yes to too many things

I think most of our leadership struggles to some extent with this one.  We’re all pretty passionate, and want to help in as many ways as possible.  The way I’ve been trying to mitigate this is by determining if by taking on something new it would make a current job I have suffer in the time or quality that I have to offer.  I’m at a pretty good workload right now, which means lately if I take on a new job, I also step down from something else (Clark “Time…”).

            5. Divide large tasks

Dividing tasks helps with motivation.  When you are able to see that you’re making progress towards a goal you’re more likely to keep working on it.  I also focus better when I break down a large task into component parts.  It allows me to organize my work so that I complete related pieces together and in a sensible order (Clark “Time…”).

3) Describe four ways to run an effective meeting. (minimum 50 words each)

1. Define the objectives and desired outcomes. Know what you are trying to achieve by having a meeting.

This is one of the biggest things to determine to have an effective meeting.  If you don’t have an agenda, then you are not prepared for a meeting.  You’ll end up spending way too much time trying to figure out what it is you’re supposed to be addressing in the meeting, which will either mean you run out of time or focus for the actual topic (Clark “Conducting…”).

            2. Estimate the length of the meeting. People need to know how much time they need to allocate for the meeting.

People are more likely to maintain their focus and get down to business if there is a set time for the meeting.  This goes hand in hand with having an agenda.  Knowing what you will talk about and for how long are imperative to running an effective meeting.  It is also respectful to your team if they know how much time they need to allocate to the meeting, and know that you, as a facilitator, will keep everyone on task and not allow the meeting to run over the scheduled time (Clark “Conducting…”).

            3. Ask for different points of view; protect new ideas./Keep the focus on ideas and objectives, not people.

This is particularly necessary when you are running a meeting that is trying to solve a problem or brainstorm new ideas.  There is sometimes a tendency to throw out new ideas if they come from someone you don’t typically agree with or if the idea is too off the wall.  It is important to allow for each idea to be presented in the brainstorming phase of a meeting, and for each idea to be considered for its pros and cons in the evolution stage of a meeting (Clark “Conducting…”).

            4. Review assigned next steps. Ensure each person knows their duties to perform. Ensure everyone goes from “meeting” to “doing.”

An important final step of each meeting is to review what was discussed, and then determine action steps that each person should be following through on before the next meeting.  This also means setting a time for the next meeting so that everyone knows when their to do items need to be completed by and when they will be reporting back on what they’ve done in the interim (Clark “Conducting…”).

4) Describe four barriers to running an effective meeting and discuss how you would overcome each barrier. (minimum 50 words each)

            1. No purpose

Sometimes meetings have no purpose.  They end up having discussions that aren’t related to a topic the team is supposed to be focused on, or they end up on a topic that team has no reasonable control over.  This means that even if something is decided on during the meeting, there can be no follow through with anything (Clark “Conducting…”).  To overcome this barrier I make sure that all meetings have an agenda that we will be working from, and that this agenda is followed to keep folks on task.

            2. Could have been done in an email

This is my personal pet peeve.  If all you are discussing in the meeting is a list of things to do, or reviewing concepts, then there was no reason to have a meeting in the first place. You could have simply sent an email detailing the information you covered. Meetings should be reserved for things that require discussion and feedback, when it is useful to have other people physically present at the same time (Clark “Conducting…”).  To overcome this barrier it is useful to come back to the agenda you created and give folks a heads up on all the points on it. If you do that and realize you have covered everything you would in the meeting and won’t be asking for feedback, then you shouldn’t have the meeting, and should just send the email.

            3. Tangents/socializing

This is a problem that we often run into in Grove meetings because everyone knows each other on more than just a professional level.  This means that it is hard to keep meetings focused because if this is one of the few times that people see each other they will want to catch up with each other and will have other random thoughts to share.  They are also more likely to interject personal experiences in the discussion, which can lead to tangential discussions unrelated to the focus of the meeting.  Another issue with this is often that it can become unclear who is supposed to be running the meeting, which means that it is harder for any one person to bring the meeting back to its focus (Clark “Conducting…”). Again, if you have an agenda that you are following, you can bring the topics back around to the task at hand. Agendas help to keep folks more focused.

            4. People come unprepared to the follow-up meeting

Since an important part of any meeting is to come up with action steps at the end of the meeting, that means at the follow-up meeting folks should be prepared to discuss how they progressed on the actions that they were supposed to be tackling.  If a person did little or no work towards their assigned action steps then it can very easily halt the follow-up meeting because the items that needed to be done to progress weren’t completed, which means no new tasks can be effectively assigned (Clark “Conducting…”). To overcome this barrier the biggest thing you can do is set expectations from the outset. Make sure everyone knows at the previous meeting what they are expected to come to the next meeting with, and send out a reminder a few days before the upcoming meetings to give those who procrastinate a nudge to make sure their piece is done and they’re prepared for the upcoming meeting.

5) Define and describe the characteristics of the term “effective communication” and discuss at least three barriers to effective communication. (minimum 200 words)

“Effective communication occurs only if the receiver understands the exact information or idea that the sender intended to transmit” (Clark “Communication…”).  In order for this to happen communication follows a three step process: thought, encoding, and decoding. Thought is the idea that the person wants to communicate to someone else.  Encoding is the combination of oral, written, and/or non-verbal communication that they use to transfer the idea from their brain to the other person.  Decoding is the process that the other person goes through to take the information you communicated and interprets it to understand your meaning.  If any of the parts of this process break down, then communication as a whole will break down.

There are various things that can become barriers to effective communication.  One is our perception of the person communicating and is something we often do on an unconscious level.  When we are decoding the information that someone is giving us, we may dismiss their ideas based on their accent, perceived status of intelligence, or other forms of bias we hold. Another is culture, which also serves to inform our biases.  Our own experiences will color both the way we communicate to others, as well as the way we receive information and interpret it.  Finally, we can be our own worst barriers to effective communication.  If we’re focused on ourselves in the communication process it can lead to confusion and conflict.  We may feel like we know everything already, and thus dismiss what is being communicated.  We may feel like someone is attacking us, and thus ignore what is being communicated.  We may feel like whatever is being communicated doesn’t apply to us our understanding of the situation, and thus dismiss what is being communicated (Clark “Communication…”)

6) Describe three avenues of communication that you have utilized to raise awareness about ADF in your community and name three more avenues that you may utilize in the future. (min.300 words)

When raising awareness about ADF in my community, it is most often within the context of raising awareness of Three Cranes Grove in the Central Ohio area.  The biggest way we’ve done this is through social media.  We have a strong social media presence, both locally and virtually.  The biggest methods of social media that we use are Facebook and YouTube. With Facebook we’ve been strategically boosting our posts so that those related to events (both in person and broadcast) get the most viewership and thus have a higher likelihood of increasing our attendance.  Another way I raise aware about Three Cranes Grove and ADF in general is by attending pan-pagan events.  Many of these take place at the Columbus Sanctuary/The Magical Druid, as that is the local hub for pagan related events to happen.  I participate in a quarterly oracular group, as well as make myself available for pan-pagan events that are hosted throughout the community.  Another way I raise awareness and Three Cranes Grove, ADF, and paganism in general is by participating in interfaith discussions.  I have been to two separate ones at different universities in the area, and have spoken about our beliefs and practices, particularly in how they relate to common themes in religion in general, such as the idea of “Welcoming the Stranger.”

Ways that I may use in the future to raise awareness about Three Cranes Grove and ADF in general include fliers in local establishments, advertising within pagan circles that we are a parent/kid friendly community, and possible radio ads through one of our local NPR stations.  Our grove used to put more fliers out around town, but hasn’t in several years.  I think it’s time to pick that work back up again.  We have also found that there is a lack of a kid-friendly pagan community in our area, and as we have as many kids as we do members of our grove, we’ve considered advertising that we are welcoming to families.  As far as radio ads, during the on-air fund drives they offer a special discounted rate to non-profits who want to have ads on the radio, and I think we could take advantage of that.

7) Choose three of the following questions that you might be asked by the media or public and write a response that you might give. (minimum 100 words for each response)

1. A reporter asks, “A member of your Grove has just been reported to have molested a number of children over the last three years. Does your organization condone this behavior and what steps is it taking to protect its members from this behavior?”

Unfortunately ADF International has dealt with this too often in the past couple of years.  Our Grove put out a statement relating to the allegations against Isaac Bonewits, which I have included.

“Isaac Bonewits, and Where 3CG Goes From Here:”

Like much of ADF, we were shocked, angered, and saddened at the recent accusations regarding ADF’s founder, Isaac Bonewits.

Our Reaction:

Unequivocally, Three Cranes Grove, ADF, denounces the abuse outlined in the book. We stand with victims, always, in our work, and pray for healing by our fire for the author. The Wild Hunt’s article on this topic is worth a read (trigger warning: sexual abuse of minors) to obtain context on this topic.

The space we have built aims to be sacred and safe for all, and we will actively continue to work to make it so. We invite questions, and we will answer honestly and as fully as we can, given what we know at the time, if anyone has questions about ADF, our space, or our work.

Background:

Isaac has never attended a 3CG ritual or event. Most of our members have never met him. He originally left ADF in 1996 (3CG was founded in 2002), and he passed in 2010.

We take the accusations, as presented, extremely seriously; we have been working hard to be proactive on this front for some time. As an ADF Grove for over 15 years, we were unaware that this might lurk  in our past, and everyone in the Grove learned of the accusations (at the earliest) only the night before The Wild Hunt ran their article on the topic.

Two years ago, we began training our priests in consent culture through Cherry Hill Seminary, and providing that training out to our members as well. We revisited how we deal with harassment and similar issues, and found new ways to respond to them. We wanted to deepen our commitment to creating safe spaces, and we think we’ve been successful at that.

Where This Leaves Us, and Where We Go:

Much of this has left us raw and questioning a lot of our foundational work. We want to address that foundation, and where we are today.

Our Grove, like much of ADF, was founded on a vision statement that Isaac outlined in 1983. It was idealistic, forward-looking, and it spoke to us in deep ways that led to a lot of joyful work and fellowship. It was the vision, not the man, who inspired us as a Grove.

We have, for some time, considered that founding vision to be primarily historical, a relic of where we were when we started: for a working group, it has always been too broad, and it was not updated over the past 30+ years. What has happened within our Grove (and others, I expect) is that the Vision of ADF that we work in is no longer a product of Isaac’s lonely vision, but instead a collective work that focuses strongly on being an open, safe space for ritual and service to the community.

ADF is founded on Isaac’s vision, and we cannot change that; but ADF’s Vision, and our Grove’s Vision, has become something bigger than any individual. Isaac doesn’t have a bearing on our future. In so many ways, we’ve grown beyond his vision.

Our Vision has become more collaborative and brighter without him, and we think it can get brighter still. One person doesn’t make or break our work. We are not, and have not been for a long time, “Isaac’s Org.” We’re very much a co-created Org with autonomous subgroups that do what we want to do, how we want to do it, benefitting the whole as we go along.

We hope that you will ask questions, and we hope you will still feel welcome with us. We’re prepared to show our community that we mean it when we say: our space is safe, our fire is good, and our arms are open.

Bright Blessings & Deep Healing to All,
-the Officers and Clergy of 3CG

            1. A varied response:

We were shocked to learn of this reprehensible behavior from one of our members and unequivocally say that we stand against child abuse in all its forms.  We stand with the victim(s) and offer prayers for their healing.  We take the accusations, as presented, extremely seriously. Two years ago, we began training our priests in consent culture through Cherry Hill Seminary, and providing that training out to our members as well. We revisited how we deal with harassment and similar issues, found new ways to respond to them, and were already in the process of reviewing our policies to promote a culture of consent. We wanted to deepen our commitment to creating safe spaces, and we think we’ve been successful at that. We hope you will still feel welcome with us. We’re prepared to show our community that we mean it when we say: our space is safe, our fire is good, and our arms are open.

3. A fireman says, “Your neighbors have reported that you have a fire in your backyard. We need to see what’s going on!”

Sure thing.  We’re in the middle of a religious service, but you’re welcome to watch from there or come on in and join us.  As you can see, our fire is safely contained in a fire pit and is more than 10ft away from any structure.  We also have a fire extinguisher right over here in case of emergencies, as well as a hose over there ready to put out the fire when we are done.  Fire is essential and integral to the practice of our religion, and is the manner in which our offerings, such as grain and olive oil, are carried to the gods.  I’d be happy to answer any other questions you may have.

5. A reporter asks, “I understand that ADF views itself as a legitimate church. Why do you think you should be treated as a real church?”

ADF and its local congregations, such as Three Cranes Grove, are a public facing church, recognized by the United States Government and the IRS as a legitimate religious organization and donations to our church are tax deductible. We do the work of our religion with sincerity and competence, as well as serve the needs of our local community through various community service outlets.  We have a rigorous training program for our clergy that in some cases is more rigorous than that of other religious organizations. We are invited to participate on equal footing with other religions at interfaith events.

Works Cited

Bonewits, Isaac. “The Vision of ADF.” ADF.org, http://www.adf.org/about/basics/vision.html.

Clark, D R. “Time Management for Leaders.” The Art and Science of Leadership, A Big Dog, Little Dog and Knowledge Jump Production, 13 Oct. 2015, http://www.nwlink.com/~donclark/leader/leadtime.html.

Clark, D R. “Conducting Meetings.” The Art and Science of Leadership, A Big Dog, Little Dog and Knowledge Jump Production, 13 Oct. 2015, http://www.nwlink.com/~donclark/leader/leadmet.html.

Clark, D R. “Communication and Leadership.” The Art and Science of Leadership, A Big Dog, Little Dog and Knowledge Jump Production, 13 Oct. 2015, http://www.nwlink.com/~donclark/leader/leadcom.html.

Three Cranes Grove, ADF Officers & Clergy. “Isaac Bonewits, and Where 3CG Goes From Here.” Leaves of the Willow, Three Cranes Grove, ADF, 11 Jan. 2018, http://threecranes.org/blog/?p=443.

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