Abstract

The article deals with the relationship between leading through visions and safeguarding employees’ welfare in a Christian organizational setting. A survey about leadership and organizational culture by the Norwegian branch of the international mission movement Youth with a Mission (YWAM), is used as empirical material in the discussion. The research question focuses on how visions, used as a core leading instrument in the organization, affects values associated with safeguarding employees’ dignity and welfare.

The survey was sent to former employees of YWAM. It had fixed questions and alternative answers but with the possibility to leave comments. A methodical approach was used to select the most relevant questions in the survey and analyze the answers and comments with focus on the research question. The analysis systematized the responses on the relationship between ideals (visions and values) and reality, and on experiences of being followed-up and safeguarded as employees.

Perspectives from theories of leadership and a power theoretical approach is used to discuss the material. A diaconal scientific approach is used as a normative guide in the analysis of empirical data and in choice of theoretical perspectives. The concluding remarks emphasize the necessity of dialogue and involving processes between the leadership and employees connected to the content of specific visions, and how to materialize and realize visions. The premise for a healthy, visionary leadership in this context is that visions should include safeguarding employees’ dignity, and the leadership should be aware of their own limitations in understanding and insight. The interdependency between the leadership and employees is a core point in a healthy judgement understanding in managing the dialectic movement between leading through visions and values.

Keywords: visionary leadership, human relational management, values, power