Thursday, 14 January 2010

Organisations & Structures

I've been following the stories about clergy bullying and found my Bishops blog on this thought provoking.  During my career in industry I have seen a lot of change and an increase in bureaucracy, and I know a lot of teachers and have heard about it in teaching too.  My observation on this is that bureaucracy raises the standard of the worst, but hampers the best - it standardises the experience.

My question - to anyone out there! - is how, as the Church of England moves to common tenure, we can avoid the worst aspects of appraisals.  When the system works well it is brilliant, but when it works badly it is dire.  For it to work well there needs to be an understanding of what it is and isn't supposed to be about - in both appraiser and appraisee - as well as a good practical understanding of the process.  Comments I have heard from clergy involved in the nascent process suggest that this is not yet the case.

At one level I don't want to argue against greater competence, but at another the following spoke to me:
Once chosen, it is their weakness itself that becomes the anchor, the insight, the humility and the gift of an abbot or prioress, a pope or a priest, a parent or a director. But only if they themselves embrace it. It is a lesson for leaders everywhere who either fear to lead because they know their own weaknesses or who lead defensively because they fear that others know their weaknesses.
(from Joan Chittister's commentary on the Rule of Benedict - changes daily - so won't be there for another 4 months!).

If we get into a process of appraisal will we find ourselves wanting to hide our weaknesses?

This perhaps also links to the Naked Pastor's post today, and particularly the comment from a person whose church has someone reading their clergy blogs for comments which are "theologically naughty or somehow subversive to the organisation".

By adopting management processes from an environment where consistency is valued are we in danger of becoming consistent?  (For clarity I think this is a bad thing - and don't get me started on the Anglican Covenant!!!!!).

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