Leadership development is a way of life at SFM

July 2022 · Forward in Hope

Supporting leadership development is a critical part of the Saint Francis Ministries culture. Through our work at the Kansas Leadership Center and the experience of our leaders, we embrace the idea that everyone is a leader – that it is an action, and not a position.

One of our favorite things we do is a “Leadership with the CEO” virtual learning event every month. Usually led by President and CEO William Clark, it recently was led by Ray Nunweiler, our Chief Support Officer. Ray opened his session about the “Four Factors of Leadership,” talking about conscious leadership. That is, making an intentional effort to be a worthy leader of our coworkers, which in turn leads to being a worthy leader and supporter of the children and families we serve.

What’s especially wonderful is the conversation that comes out of these sessions. They are by no means lectures, but a give-and-take with an engaged audience of about 175 people.

As Ray spoke about strengths and weaknesses and what that means from the perspective of leaders and those who are led, foster care trainer Terri shared a thought: “Training foster parents, we never talk strengths and weaknesses. We always talk strengths and needs. Weakness is a negative. Needs is a baseline. Like Joan said, she’s not good at the spreadsheets, and what she needs is someone to come alongside her to guide her and get the expertise.”

The give-and-take continued throughout the 30-minute session, drawing out a variety of views and pushing everyone to think creatively and differently about how they work together. Ray shared the four leadership factors: the leader, the led, the situation, and communication.

A few highlights:

  • “Effective leaders plan for all four factors to accomplish every task.”
  • “Honest communication in a professional fashion is the best. And that helps with respecting others’ opinions. I’m sure many of you have had bosses or even been in organizations where if you’re the lower person on the totem pole, your idea meant nothing. And that is not the way we should be doing business because everyone brings new ideas, new ways to accomplish tasks, new ways to solve problems – because they view things from a different lens based on their training and experience.”
  • “We’ve been talking about this a lot at the residentials – the key to communication. We’re seeing a huge struggle among the different generations right now. The younger generations kind of grew up with more helicopter parents, so you have to give them a lot more direction rather than assuming they know. That’s a huge key factor depending on which generation you’re working with.”

Want to join a team that focuses on developing leadership qualities throughout the organization? Check out SaintFrancisMinistries.org/careers. We can’t wait to hear your unique and thought-provoking views at our next Leadership with the CEO!