Today’s blog addresses the current stage of our human evolution which is quickly (and not so peacefully) replacing hierarchical, patriarchal authority with something of another sort all together. As we witness the destruction of all that has been founded on the patriarchal/hierarchical/power-over model, we must ask the question, what will authority look like in the new world? Well, it is probably already happening right underneath our noses.
It’s a man’s world, white male privilege, women acting like patriarchal men, and the glass ceiling
Having worked in the patriarchy of all patriarchies and the hierarchy of all hierarchies (the Catholic Church) and having lived 10 years before that as a peon in corporate America, I have first-had knowledge and experience of what DOES NOT work in the form of leadership. And it goes something like this:
“I’m the boss (most often male, or a woman acting like a man) and you will do what I tell you to do. Period. And don’t you dare to question or challenge me or there will be hell (sometimes literally) to pay!”
This is usually followed up with an unspoken, “Do as I say but not as I do” attitude.
Top-down leadership, driven by power and control, most often motivated through intimidation and fear, covered over with a lot of hypocrisy. Then the “boss” runs off on his pleasure trip of China and the Far East while the peons are left behind making WAY less than “the boss,” if they are getting paid at all (as often happens in the Church).
As anyone who is not in these positions of power and privilege can attest, this form of leadership DOES NOT WORK. In short, this is NOT how you get happy, healthy employees, enthusiastically willing to share their gifts and talents in service to the corporate/Church mission. Instead, you get disgruntled, unhappy, frustrated, anxiety ridden employees, just trying to make ends meet in a dog-eat-dog world, daydreaming about how they might stab you (the boss) in the back.
Times are a changin’
The good news is that this model of leadership is dying….and quickly. While it may not look like it – as our government ( GUILTY) plunges into more and more corruption, corporations are quickly trying to destroy the world (Monsanto, Military contractors, the Koch brothers, Big Oil, AMA, FDA, APA, and all the other alphabet soup companies) and the Church chases after women religious instead of cleaning up their own act – it IS happening. The more a new paradigm of authority peeks out its compassionate head, the more tightly those structures built on power and control cling to their power. This situation is very much like what my mother used to say about cleaning the kitchen, “The kitchen will get dirtier first before it starts getting clean.”
A new model of authority
The new model of authority, is really not so new. In fact, I believe it is exactly the kind of authority modeled by Jesus. Instead of a model based on power and control, top-down leadership, driven by intimidation and fear, what Jesus modeled was leadership based in SERVICE and SUPPORT. Jesus led, not by telling people what to do. Instead, he showed them through his own actions. And then, he supported them in doing the same. Jesus didn’t motivate people through fear. Instead, he showed them unconditional love and compassion. He helped them to love themselves in the same way and in doing so, helped them to uncover their unique giftedness, and then through his gentle encouragement and healing presence, helped them to heal the fears that were obstacles to fully utilizing those gifts. Then, Jesus empowered them to use their gifts in service to the betterment of the world. Instead of a hierarchical model of leadership, what Jesus modeled was one that doesn’t even have a name – one in which the leader stands beneath those he/she leads, upholding them in becoming a leader in their own right. And guess what, in Jesus’ model of leadership, women are given the same service and support as men and are empowered to fulfill their own magnificence – while honoring their own way of being female – in other words, in Jesus’ model, women don’t have to become like hierarchical men in order to find success. Oh yeah….and if we apply Jesus’ model of leadership to our current means of exchange, everyone is getting paid a just wage.
What model of authority would you like to see in the new world?