It’s official! As of last Thursday I am a certified leader. I concluded the last session of my leadership courses last week, and I have to say I feel way more competent than when I started. Coming to Sacred Heart three years ago, I would have said that I felt fairly competent in the Spiritual department, mostly competent in the social department and less than competent in the administrative department. Some of you may be nodding your heads saying now it makes sense why xyz happened. I’ve been told that admitting weakness doesn’t inspire trust in your followers, but I don’t think getting nailed to a cross would score high in that category either. You’ll all be happy to know that I am significantly more competent in all areas, which should bode well for our future here at Sacred Heart.
One of the most helpful pieces for me was a breakdown of personality types we did at the beginning of our classes. It suddenly became clear why people may act the way they do. I learned that some people just like to talk and that information isn’t always being passed on. I also learned that I am not one of those people, but that’s OK too. As I’m sure you all have noticed, I have also started to take better care of myself the longer I have been here. I learned in the early sessions that my go-to personality trait is to want to help everyone, which is great, until you wake up one morning and you can’t move because you’ve been running too fast, for too long. It turns out that being nice to people can sometimes work against you, but with better boundaries I think everything has leveled out and I think I have been smiling a lot more lately.
The lesson that will probably bear the most fruit for the parish as a whole is the one on collaborative governance. Coming in, I knew that what other people thought was important, and that I was in charge of everything. The problem was there was really no guidebook to the balancing of these two principals. I’ve spent some time over the last few years bouncing back and forth, but am pretty sure I found the best method with the team building structure we were given in the classes. It incorporates a huge amount of input from all participants, which is helpful in seeing all the options, but still ultimately comes back to me, as leader, for final approval and implementation. Once we have our Pastoral Council running to full capacity I think we will be in a place in which everyone’s voice is heard and decisions are truly made for the common good. Thank you for your support as I have learned these lessons.
Prayers Always, Fr. Joseph Altenhofen