A printable PDF can be found at the end of this article.

So you have accepted a leadership position! It is an exciting time and sometimes, if you try to “go it alone,” it can be a frustrating time! Consider trying … Leadership in Pairs!

Our Lord and You

How often have you read about people who put Jesus first and then report how much better things go for them in their daily routine? They are telling the truth, you know. Getting up a few minutes early for Bible study and private devotions is a start; an attitude of praise will support you through tough times in the day. Faithful attendance at worship and participating in the Sacrament are strengthening. Finally, remember to ask His help with the challenges you encounter!

Your Mentor and You

She’s “been there, done that.” You do not need to reinvent the process! Your mentor can live next door, in the next state, or clear across the country. With e-mail and telephone so handy, you can be in contact with her every day. Ask for her prayers and her advice; let her know when you meet a problem that seems too deep to conquer. Remember, your mentor might be older than you are — and she might be younger! Always be ready to learn and share with women of all ages.

Your Peer and You

Peers are usually our age and a part of our own culture. They share interests outside of LWML; they know the women of the parish and the community. They help you see what will work for the majority of the women with whom you are working. One of those peers might just “leader-share” in the “job-share” sense: you chair half of the meetings, she will chair the other half.

Your Ancestor and You

The older woman in your society has used her years of experience to gain the wisdom in how things worked — and didn’t work! — at earlier times. If you ask and listen, she will help you cross the intergenerational lines to see if your younger/newer ideas are at all acceptable to people of another era. Remember, you share the same LWML mission statement; you might not share the same ideas about how to fulfill it!

Your Predecessor and You

She has the records, the minutes, and the memory. She will fill you in on the all-important zone, district, and national expectations of your office. She knows what has happened and what is “on the table” in your local group. Keep her telephone number and her e-mail address close at hand. There is no question too basic for you to ask!

Your Co-Leader and You

She could share leadership tasks equally with you — or on a 60%-40% basis. She might take six months in a row, or every other month for a year. You would need to plan together before the year starts so that you (and the membership) will know who is doing what when in order to avoid confusion in the group. Dreams shared are more liable to come true because TWO people are working toward the goal!

Your Protégé and You

She will watch you, talk with you, walk with you, and be ready to step into your slippers when you have completed your leadership task. She can then move easily into a committee chair, a group presidency, a zone position, or a district position with more enthusiasm because she has walked WITH you in the training process.

Your Neighboring Society and You

Why not plan a retreat together? It could be a society in your zone or in a neighboring one. Choose a location midway between your cities; involve women in both societies in the planning. Share Bible study, the message of a speaker, the combined ingathering for a service agency in your area — all of these might just perk up BOTH local groups!

Your Neighbors Near and Far and You

Have you ever thought about having a “regional meeting” by putting two zones together? “Distance Learning” video capabilities through our Synod and Synodical schools would make it easy to put “Sister Societies” together from Maine to California. Today’s technology allows interaction among people that was not possible when LWML was organized. God intends that we use it fully in our Mission and Ministry!


LWML Presidents’ Endorsements

From Janice M. Wendorf,
LWML President, 2007-2011

The past presidents of the LWML decided to have an intentional mentoring “program/ministry” for each new president. While the immediate past president is in very close contact with her successor, especially in those first days, months and biennium, as the day to day realities of the position settle in on her, the assigned mentor is the woman who served two terms before the new president. Gloria Edwards was Linda Reiser’s mentor; Virginia Von Seggern is my mentor; Linda Reiser will mentor the president elected in 2011. What a blessing to have someone who has “been there and done that” for the president to call. So few people know the stresses and challenges that face the LWML president; I knew I could call or e-mail Virginia at any time and she would be available for me. It seemed that I often had the opportunity to see Virginia and talk with her about ideas, plans, and questions. One of the best things for me was a gathering of six of the past presidents in the first year of my term. We had a special retreat where they shared things they had learned and each one gave me a Bible verse on an index card. I had those cards laminated and often carry them with me when I travel. In some ways the past presidents of the LWML form a special sorority of prayer support, love, and care for each other and especially for the new president.

From Linda Reiser,
LWML President, 2003-2007

Exciting, fun and successful! “Leadership in Pairs” is all of that and more as you allow several LWML women to lead by their example and actions as well as their words. LWML has promoted the leadership of women for many years and this product continues that through these ideas. Using some of the ideas in this publication, women of the LWML can follow the example so prevalent in business today — team leadership. Sharing the responsibility, sharing the joy and providing new innovative ways to lead in our organization makes implementing “Leadership in Pairs” a great idea in your local group.

From Virginia Von Seggern,
LWML President, 1999-2003

“Leadership in Pairs” is something Lutheran Women in Mission have needed for many years, and it’s my pleasure to say that I’m proud of this particular project. It’s always been much simpler and more pleasant to lead any group with a strong supporter at your side. You can discuss together, plan new and better ways of accomplishing the task, and rejoice together when the task is completed. It is my hope that LWML women will enjoy using this concept and accomplish great things together!

From Gloria Edwards,
LWML President, 1995-1999

Question: When is the sum greater than the parts? Answer: When leadership in pairs is used. It’s called synergy. Picture this. Lutheran Women in Mission placing Jesus first in their lives. Lutheran Women in Mission sharing responsibilities, learning from each other, giving and receiving advice. We are all asked to use leadership skills in our daily walk. It’s important we learn all we can and share our learnings with others. “Leadership in Pairs” is a great way to make that happen.

From Ida Mall,
LWML President, 1991-1995

If you want some new ideas for encouraging current leaders and equipping new leaders, consider “Leadership in Pairs.” Children are taught to share. The LWML promotes mentoring. The LWML has recognized for some time our need to develop the gifts of leadership. Sharing, mentoring, and leadership all come together in this publication; it provides some new and innovative ideas about leadership to help us consider “good” changes to meet our mission.

An Example from Janet Hurta, Chairman,
Texas District LWML Convention 2000

Dottie Kulp and I shared convention chairman duties. We worked together to plan and shared communication duties with our sub-committee chairmen. When the rubber hit the road at the convention, she knew as much as I did about what needed to be done and she plowed right in and did it. It was like duplicating myself. It was wonderful! It surely eliminated lots of stress and people had two informed leaders to contact at all times. As chairman, I was the leader, responsible for initiating the vision and planning, but it was wonderful to have a cohort to help, promote, and share legwork.

Leadership in Pairs

Have you read something in these ideas and comments to spark interest and your imagination? If you want more information or want to share your personal experiences, contact the LWML Leader Development Committee.

© 2001 Lutheran Women’s Missionary League, Revised 2010 #71223

View printable PDF of this article, Leadership in Pairs