There is much written in the business world about the difference between leaders and managers. From the Havard Bussines Review:
Managers and leaders are two very different types of people. Managers’ goals arise out of necessities rather than desires; they excel at defusing conflicts between individuals or departments, placating all sides while ensuring that an organization’s day-to-day business gets done. Leaders, on the other hand, adopt personal, active attitudes toward goals. They look for the opportunities and rewards that lie around the corner, inspiring subordinates and firing up the creative process with their own energy. Their relationships with employees and coworkers are intense, and their working environment is often chaotic.Harvard Business Review
One could of course then apply this to church leaders/managers. Hugh Nibley gave a very famous Commencement speech at BYU where he talked about the difference in Leaders and Managers. He listed some key differences here:
Leaders are movers and shakers, original, inventive, unpredictable, imaginative, full of surprises that discomfit the enemy in war and the main office in peace. For managers are safe, conservative, predictable, conforming organization men and team players, dedicated to the establishment.
The leader, for example, has a passion for equality. We think of great generals from David and Alexander on down, sharing their beans or maza with their men, calling them by their first names, marching along with them in the heat, sleeping on the ground, and first over the wall. A famous ode by a long-suffering Greek soldier, Archilochus, reminds us that the men in the ranks are not fooled for an instant by the executive type who thinks he is a leader.
For the manager, on the other hand, the idea of equality is repugnant and indeed counterproductive. Where promotion, perks, privilege, and power are the name of the game, awe and reverence for rank is everything, the inspiration and motivation of all good men. Where would management be without the inflexible paper processing, dress standards, attention to proper social, political, and religious affiliation, vigilant watch over habits and attitudes, and so forth, that gratify the stockholders and satisfy security?Hugh Nibley, BYU 1983
It is not to hard to figure which category the current
leadership management of the church fits in. Does any of the current Q15 seem to be “movers and shakers, original, inventive, unpredictable, imaginative, full of surprises” I don’t see much of that. What I do see is a bunch of managers that are “safe, conservative, predictable, conforming organization men and team players, dedicated to the establishment”.
How does the current management of the church do with some of Brother Nibley’s other items?
Equality is repugnant: Check (LGBTQ, Females and the priesthood, etc)
Inflexible Paper Processing: Check
Dress Standards: Check
Attention to proper social/political affiliation: check
Vigilant watch over habits: Check
Brother Nibley then went on to say Joseph Smith was a great leader, but not so good manager and Brigham Young was a great a manager.
I’ve had about 18 bishops since I turned 8, including myself as one of them. Some of them were leaders, and some were managers, and some were a mixture of both. My father once served as a counselor to a bishop who was a great leader, but a very poor manager. I remember him coming home from bishopric meeting so frustrated. He would tell anybody that would listen that Bishop Smith just spent 45 minutes in the meeting opening each piece of mail he had received as a bishop (way before the internet/e-mail) and then deciding what to do with each.
Obviously a good bishop needs to be part leader and part manager, although they get training in neither (at least I didn’t, things could have changed in the last 20 years.). I was probably 70/30 (leader/manager). I didn’t like the paperwork, didn’t like the “safe, conservative, predictable, conforming organization”. As such, I got in trouble with my Stake President on more than one occasion. But my attitude was: “what’s the worst they can do to me, fire me?”. That is pretty much what they did, at the exact five year mark. 
What kind of bishop do you currently have? What kind have you had in the past? Do you think the church in it’s current state as a large cooperation needs managers or leaders in the Q15, or maybe a mixture of both? In the current Q15, which ones are leaders and which are managers? And lastly, do you think Bother Nibley could get away with that same speech today at BYU?
 I learned from a friend who has been a stake president, that SLC pushes back on releasing bishops before the five year mark unless they moved or something serious happened. For anything else, the word back from SLC is “you need to train them better if there are problems”.
Nibley’s categories leader/manager were a deliberately provocative rhetorical device not much different in kind from the indulgence in rhetorical exaggeration we sometimes see from Church leaders/managers. I’m not quite sure why you’d acknowledge the need for a mix of leader/manager mindsets in a bishop, but seem to deny it in the Q15, Nibley himself insisted on the appropriateness of the mix at the top:
“There is necessarily some of the manager in every leader (what better example than Brigham Young himself?), as there should be some of the leader in every manager…The Lord insisted that both states of mind are necessary, and that is important.”
In retrospect I personally prefer the more openly chaotic nature of the mix we had among GAs in the 60s and early 70s to the mix that we seem to have currently. Perhaps it is now thought to be too disturbing to the sheeple, but for me contrasting the thoughts and style of Hugh B. Brown and Ezra Taft Benson was illuminating (and at least in our private interaction Benson took an approach rather different from what I’d have expected from his public persona). Perhaps we really do have more imaginative leaders among GAs than would appear from their public expressions of unity.
Good thoughts as usual. I would put you closer to 90% leader, 10% manager. Sorry, but you think like a leader, or a rebel/grumbler.
As a grumbler myself, I obviously think the church needs more real leaders. But with the structure of the church as it is, they cannot come up through the ranks. They try to change too much while they are junior management, and senior management can’t stand them “causing trouble.” So, bishops with natural leadership ability are popular in their ward as bishop, but they don’t make stake president.
Sociology studies have shown that women exhibit slightly different leadership. They network more and hierarchy less, which makes them more egalitarian in their leadership style. I think they are forced to because they work with sexist males who don’t like a female in the hierarchy above them, but will follow a woman’s natural leadership if they like and respect her. The woman has to inspire them more for them to follow, because they will resent following because she demands it. In other words, they will happily follow her if she is right and resent following her just because she is the boss. So, women with natural leadership skills will rise in an organization that slaps down men with natural leadership in favor of managers.
This is where the church would improve by opening up priesthood to women. They not only double the talent pool, but they actually would allow more with natural leadership skills to rise in the organization. Then they would have more of that egalitarian attitude going to the top, which would cut down on the leadership worship, and cut down on the packerism of “which way do you face,” meaning that you listen only to the people above you and instruct the people below you, but never listen to those below you and pass problems up the chain of command. I think this attitude of strict hierarchy of information going only one way is the biggest problem in the church today. Top management have no idea what it is like for the people on the bottom of the hierarchy, meaning especially single women, and those “not worthy” of full membership because they are not as active as expected.
My worst bishop worked for a defense contractor…he was all about sticking to the ward budget, and also telling people to do indexing if their commitment to the Church was wavering for any reason.
OP – Are you also Chino_blanco? I ask because I found this same graphic and a few identical lines posted on Mormon reddit a few minutes ago under the Chino username.
This is hilarious – and worst offenders are always stake presidents & counselors. It’s like they’re thinking, “I’ve gotten this far, maybe if I double-down w/ the company-man routine I’ll get another promotion.” This “routine” goes so far as to actually copy the Brethren’s speech patterns and intonations, right down to the significant lip-smacking pauses. The Lord always seems to inspire these guys to give the exact same fantastically boring sermon on repentance they’ve given 50 times before. This is the upper money manager clique in the business cult (see Forbes $100B “secret” LDS fund). At least in the olden days they’d occasionally bring up interesting topics like the evils of oral sex. No longer unfortunately. Pray pay obey to the max. Who wants to listen to this?
TC, nope, I’m not Chino_Blanco on /Mormon. He just links to Wheat&Tares posts from time to time. He quoted and linked to mine.
Wondering, you are correct. While it was in my mind, it didn’t make to to the post about leader/manager needed to have qualities of both, and the Q15 should be no different. So a better question should be “Which of the Q15 are more managers, which are more leaders, and which are the perfect mixture of both?”
I’ve had many leader bishops which is probably why I stick around — generally positive local experiences even though the Q15 at HQ drive me nuts.
As for the Q15. I think Uchtdorf is a leader but keeps getting smacked down. I suspect Gong could be a leader (I knew him 15 years ago) but is too junior to act like one. I’m sure Nelson considers himself a “leader” with all his changes, but if he is he’s not one I’m keen to follow.
The extremely hierarchical nature of the Church patriarchal gerontocracy really makes it hard for leaders to ascend and, even if they do, make any kind of impact.
Also, what Anna said.
There was an interesting book on this topic published a few years ago by a female LDS executive. It discussed leadership styles and how to develop more of a growth-oriented leadership style. Made the Wall Street Journal bestsellers list. Worth a read. Multipliers by Liz Wiseman
Everyone should read Nibley’s full speech. Everyone.
It is full of valuable insights no matter one’s views on faith. If corporations hired leaders instead of managers we would avoid so many fiascos.
Managers are absolutely essential for survival of organizations. I would assume leadership and management skills exist to some extent in everyone but it’s interesting to consider whether we have too much manager and not enough leader in our church.
Playing devil’s advocate, I’m not really a fan of RMN, but most orthodox members would definitely consider him an inventive, imaginative leader. After all, he has made a ton of changes that his predecessors haven’t. We can debate the merits of these changes, but there’s no denying he’s demonstrated a willingness to buck trends.
@p, “This ‘routine’ goes so far as to actually copy the Brethren’s speech patterns and intonations, right down to the significant lip-smacking pauses.” Don’t need to look to stake presidents and counselors for this. I knew one of those guys as a 19 year old in the Language Training Mission. BTW, he did eventually get promoted to a general church office and I burst out laughing when I heard his first general conference speech. He sounded just like the 19-year-old him.
On the other hand, I’m sometimes grateful for ecclesiastical climbers. After all, they want to do jobs that I don’t. 🙂
Leaders do, managers follow
President Nelson’s effective management is often mistaken for leadership because the pace of change and adaptation in the Church has become sclerotic. What President Nelson has actually done is catching up with administrative business that had been neglected for a while. He has expressed familiar organizational themes with new vigor. He has not, at least in my opinion, brought a renewal of vision for where the Church is headed.
Based on the statement issued recently, I’d say the Q15 at the very least come to a consensus like managers (ie how do you look like you’re saying the right thing while not offending anyone?).
I agree with Loursat on the changes. And it’s getting tiring hearing every administrative change heralded as divine revelation by members of my ward and local leadership.
I am afraid the management perspective is pretty well baked into the cake. I have served 10 years before the mast — as both bishop and branch press. (less than 15 because I moved or the unit moved). So I have been to just a few bishopric training meetings, and several regional leadership meetings where an apostle or two were in attendance. And then there are PPIs coming and going. This then is the transmission model. I can tell you that just about every bit of it has been about administering, very very little if any ministering. So how is a bishop going to interpret his role? As an administrator of course! The handbook of instructions takes a much more prominent role in these meetings than the scriptures.
I should say that my entire experience as Bp or Br Pres was confined to a relatively small area on the Upper Gulf Coast of Texas. But my service was under 4 stake presidents, at least of couple of regional council coordinators (not sure what the title really is), and likely at least 3 area presidents. Sample size a bit small, but some variation. I would be happy to be told that my experience was unusual.
Over time, I became less and less tolerant of this state of affairs. So in my last term, Bishop Bill, I was indeed fired –a good 6 months before my time. And very close to being fired 6 months before that. In this case, the grief was from a SP who did not call me originally.
But serving as bishop was actually quite liberating for me. The most important thing as bishop can do is set the tone. I am sure I didnt get it just right, but I can tell you the tone was absolutely not centered on administration!
The handbook does not allow for leadership, just maintanence management. So the message is leadership is for the prophet only. Believe whatever he says.
I have read some of the comments on the first presidencies message about US politics. About half the comments are from disciples of trump, spreading trump lies. Trump won, we now have to fight against communism, and baby killing, why is the church not helping us fight satan.
The church has had leadership of these people for all their life. Trump 5 years. Why are Christ teachings so easily replaced. Were they already replaced? If you wondered how the very elect could be decieved, perhaps the church leadership has been grooming members, (inadvertently?) so they would be suceptable to accepting his lies. Is following trump, similar to following the prophet?
Leadership, or lack of it, has consequences.
Back in 1981 I was hanging out at the mission president’s home while Robert L. (tough as a boot) Backman – of the 70 – was visiting. He told me that “the 70s are the managers of the church”. If so, it makes sense that they would look for talented, church-broke managers for that role.
Then some graduate to apostleship. I presume that the managerial spirt that possessed them in the 70 goes with them to the 12.
In the 12 there seems to be little innovation/leadership. I understand that each apostle has broad oversite of a number of specific areas – managing the vast bureaucracy. Steading the Good Ship Zion.
In that body, “once the prophet has spoken, the thinking is done” is truer than anywhere else in the church.
For at least 30 years, when I have heard the brethren refer to themselves as our leaders, I wince a little. Being in charge isn’t the same as being a leader.
Some of us have served on a stake High Council. A member of the HC has the opportunity to lead if he tries really hard, but 99% of the time he’s going to manage. This is due to the “group think” mentality that prevails. When decisions are to be made by the Stake President, he will often seek the council of the HC before doing so. But I rarely saw a lively discussion or anything close to debate. What I saw, instead, was some gentle discussion in which each subsequent comment would more or less conform to the previous comments. You’d often here, “I agree with brother x and brother y…”. It was basically useless. And then when the SP made a decision, everyone was expected to support him in unanimity. Other than Church courts, I never once saw a member of the HC challenge or contradict a SP.
It seems as if we were there to check off the boxes so that the stake presidency could follow the appropriate procedures, But the decisions that were made could have been made with exactly the same results whether we (the HC) were there or not. We were all managers and there was no room for leaders,
I think most in manager-mode wouldn’t have revoked the Nov 5 Policy.
I think about the leader of large Fortune 50 companies. The best tackle hard questions from reporters (often unfriendly reporters). They may have oversized egos, but they admit when they are wrong (and they are ousted when they are really wrong). They inspire their employees through messages of hope not fear.
Wouldn’t it be great if the Q15 regularly took hard questions from non-members? I’d love it if they stood up and admitted, “We don’t always know what we’re doing; sometimes we make mistakes.” The current “beware or you’ll be eternally separated from your family” message isn’t at all inspirational.
@jpv, disagree. Even managers can reverse horrible earlier decisions, and the Q15 never took responsibility for the decision – they blamed God. A leader would take ownership of the decision; that’s a classic manager move to blame “the boss”. Also, the fact it was a “handbook” change and we are so worked up over handbooks exactly proves the manager point.
@Elisa, While I agree with your disagreement with jpv, I have not found the Q15 blaming God for the November 2015 policy. I’d be glad to be pointed in the direction of evidence that they did. I’ve found only RMN blaming God — in January 2016 and again in September 2019. Perhaps I’ve not looked in the right places.
Several times lately there have been threads on a FB group that I am in about bishops not allowing members to do the sacrament at home, even when there is priesthood. Where I live there is no such prohibition. I don’t really care either way, but my husband does, so we do it during the time when sacrament is blocked out during the sacrament meetings which are streamed to our home. This makes me realize that bishops have a fair amount of autonomy on some practices. What is that all about? Are they trying to force people to return to meet in person when they don’t feel safe to do so? I know this is meandering a bit from the theme of leaders and managers but can some of you who have held the calling give me your thoughts on this and other similar situations with styles and practices while going through a pandemic,? There seems to be considerable regional differences in how things are managed and handled, that don’t seem to correlate to how high the covid numbers are within those regions.
Just because Nelson has made changes, even reversing an unpopular policy, does not show leadership. The brethren send out a survey asking questions about how active temple holding members feel about certain things in the endowment ceremony. Then they use those results to make changes. They have people who monitor discussions like this and some feminist blogs. Those people write up reports that are summarized and then reported to the general authorities in their meetings. This process filters out a lot, so that the feedback that general authorities is condensed, homogenized, pasteurized, and cooked before it ever reaches the ears of general authorities. Then they do their survey. Then talk things over, with input from lawyers and whatever. It is a very long and cumbersome process to figure out changes. They are so “above” the common members and they purposely cut off all communication from the common members, then they use these artificial means to figure out why people leave the church.
A leader doesn’t use artificial means to find out what is going on with the common members. They go talk to them. Good CEOs bring in potential customers and talk with them. Find out what they would like in a new smart phone, new coffee maker, new car. Then they set their employees to developing new products. They get together a bunch of kids to test their new toy line. Even in the military, good leaders talk to the people under them. We had one base commander who visited with groups of his lowest ranking people to find out what they had problems with. He didn’t use layers of people to filter the problems, but went directly to those who were struggling. There is a big gap between a private or airman and his commanding officer, but I this base commander was not above going directly to those who were struggling.
But think about when the GAs do go out on a speaking assignment and think they are talking to “common members”. They interact with those who are stake president level and above. They never visit with the couple who just went inactive because they have a gay kid. They don’t talk to the young woman who went through the temple and was so horrified that she vowed to never go back. They don’t talk to the former Sunday School teacher who was looking for background information on their D&C lesson and dug into church history and found out the parts that are carefully left out of lesson manuals. These people normally drop out without talking to anyone above bishop level. And general authorities seldom have a down to earth “what’s bothering you?” Conversation with anyone below the level of …what, mission president? They are just not getting the feedback from below they need to lead.
Instead, Nelson’s changes are based on things like the fact that the nickname “Mormon” bugs him. Did he talk to people to see why the evangelicals don’t think Mormons are Christian? Did he talk to rank and file Mormons to see if it bugs them? Did he ask those who had participated in the “I am a Mormon” campaign to see how they felt about claiming the nickname? Did he ask any language experts what we could call ourselves that is actually usable instead of a whole sentence replacing one word? Did he even do a survey on this one? Did he talk to any baptists to see what would improve the likelihood they would see us as Christian? Nope. He just had something that bugged him and finally had the power to force others to do things his way.
@Anna, Generally agree, but “never” may be going too far. At least DHO has in fact done a number on in home visits with families troubled by the Prop 8 campaign and in conjunction with a stake conference has held special question/answer meetings with women invited because they had concerns. On the other hand, I don’t think such visits and meetings happen nearly often enough or that the concerns expressed are taken seriously often enough.
Wondering, thanks for that. I was unaware of those attempts to meet with “troops on the ground.” I experienced another when I was a social worker working with childhood sexual abuse victims, and a personal friend of Marvin J Ashton told him about some of my clients, and how they looked for answers from the church, but couldn’t find what they needed. He met with some of my clients who were willing and they told him some of their questions. He promised to pass their concerns up the line. Then Richard G Scott gave a talk in general conference (1992] suggesting victims stay away from professional help and support groups and that if victims looked hard enough they might find how they were to blame. Yeah, less than helpful. By the time my clients needs got up the chain of command, it was twisted into some of the very problems my clients needed the church to address. My clients were suicidal. Talk about a backfire. But I still give Marvin J Ashton credit for trying and actually listening to us. If he had given the talk in conference, it would not have been a disaster. Or, if Richard G Scott had been the one to listen to us. It showed me how much gets filtered out before information gets up the line to the top. But someone tried.
But I do try to give credit where credit is due, and like to hear when something goes right or someone tries. And you are right, that for me to say they never get feedback from troops on the ground is wrong. Some of them do try. There just isn’t enough. As was said above, people are not “leaders” or “administrators”. Everyone is a mix of some traits of each. So, to say there are no “real leaders” is not true. I think Uchtdorf has some real ability to inspire, but in general, I don’t feel very inspired by anything from the general authorities.
Leadership requires vision. And among the Q15, I don’t see a lot of vision. At least, vision that they choose to share with us. There is also a hesitancy to deal with difficult issues. Procedural items they role out. The same tired conference talks they give over and over again. They obsess over issues that don’t seem Christ-like. They refuse to openly admit mistakes. Where is the leadership?
@Wondering you are correct, it was RMN’s statements I had in mind, and I think fair to assume he’s purporting to speak for the Q15 (even though I recognize he may not be) but I take your point. There are some other references like Elder Christofferson’s Q&A in 2015 and DHO’s statements in the press release announcing the 2019 reversal (link below).
I do want to give a bit of a different take on your statement about general authorities not visiting members with faith crises. They actually do these “rescue” visits at every stake conference they go to, but I think they do it in a way that doesn’t really help them understand the membership. In my experience as a bishopric member, before any stake conference the SP will ask all the bishoprics if there are people that the GA should visit with. At least in our area, every ward was expected to come up with two or three possibilities for such a visit. Later on, when I was our ward mission leader, I had written a very long letter to our stake president about why I didn’t feel comfortable answering the “do you sustain…” TR question with “yes”, since I supported gay marriage and thought that the then recent excommunications of Ordain Women leaders was terribly wrong. A few months later, we had a GA for stake conference and he and the stake president came to visit my home. That GA had read my letter (or at least got the gist of it), and we talked a little, but it was mostly him talking. Not really much of a conversation, he was definitely not there to really learn more. But he did say that he didn’t think that support of gay marriage was an issue in terms of the TR question. I did learn from him that his brilliant and loving daughter, who had served a mission and had been a spiritual giant in his eyes, had subsequently left the church over its position against LGBTQ people. So that was enlightening. I realized if he hadn’t had his heart softened by his own daughter, nothing I could say would help him understand. Anyway, sometime later when I was serving as the HP group leader, my faithful wife left the church and sure enough, next time there was a GA in town, they asked if they could come visit. My wife wasn’t interested. I not sure that his visit would have helped that GA gain any insight into why people leave unless he was really trying to understand. So in my experience GAs do talk with people other than stake leadership, but since they see their job as being to rescue, not to learn and understand, its often not very effective for really gathering helpful perspectives.
Indeed, church leaders today, local and general, are managers. Great observations. Joseph Smith was the ultimate leader and it is around his ideas that the church is built.
That said, I don’t condemn managers. They are predictable and steady. Leaders can be people you love and those whom you hate. They can inspire hope and dread. Organizations can realistically handle only so many leaders.
Personally I am more of a manager type of personality and see myself in that role, and in a very real sense, too. My quixotic, and paranoid, built a real estate model that seemed to work well, but that he nearly led off of a cliff. I stepped in to manage it from falling off of that cliff. I have only been able to do so without my brother in the picture. He is a person who cannot be corrected in his thinking. A person who is deeply cynical about mainstream thinking and rejects textbook knowledge. I, on the other hand, come from a textbook traditionalist rigorous method and like to hold close to the mainstream and ideas that have been well tried and tested. There can be value in my brother’s way of thinking when harnessed with the proper constraints. But his way of thinking lends itself to conspiracism and danger as well. Generally I’m wary of leaders, although I derive inspiration from a select few.
During my stint as bishop, I was definitely more manager than leader. I knew for a fact that there were people much better at leading than myself, so I gathered around me those individuals to form the bishopric and ward council. It worked well. That left me with time to work with the youth and people whose issues only I could deal with.
I remember the “training” I received after being called to that position; I met with the previous bishop for about 15 minutes. He filled me in on a few people he was working with then handed me the key to the building and said, “Good luck!”
@10ac that reminds me of DHO’s common refrain that our members “don’t understand the doctrine of the family.” He assumes that the reason people reject the Church’s position on gay marriage is because they either haven’t been taught properly, don’t understand what they’ve been taught, or are willfully rebellious. It doesn’t enter into his conscious that the problem may be with the doctrine.
I imagine most such visits are around trying to help the struggling member resolve doubts, not trying to understand what the Church can do better.
Not to veer too far off topic but my 13 yr old has let us know he doesn’t want to have anything to do with a homophobic, sexist church. (I know I express a lot of strong and sometimes cynical views here, but I can tell you that he isn’t getting this from me, I’m more measured with my kids). Anyway, my husband is feeling like he’s failed as a parent. I think the Church is what is failing our kids, and I’m sick of the Church blaming the membership when the problems are all outside of our control. If they aren’t offering a worthwhile product they can’t expect us to effectively sell it to our kids. A leader would recognize that the product needs changing. A manager would keep blaming the employees for not doing a good enough job.
@Elisa, I think it’s likely true that it doesn’t enter DHO’s head that there could be something incomplete, let alone, erroneous about his doctrine. On the other hand those home visits I know of him doing were not about “trying to help the struggling member resolve doubts”. They were visits in which he mostly listened and appeared to try to understand (whether he was going to do anything with that understanding or not). I do wonder whether all that listening may have played a part in getting to a reversal of some of the most objectionable parts of the November 2015 policy — a reversal that could have come much sooner if only RMN hadn’t purported in January 2016 to be speaking for the entire Q15 claiming revelation, claim that I still cannot find any others publicly claiming — not the Christofferson “interview” in 2015 and not the Oaks announcement in 2019. Maybe I’ve understood them incompletely.
@Elisa, couldn’t agree more. I still find some value in Mormonism, but the institutional CoJCoLDS holding on to its sexist, racist, and homophobic policies has driven away many of the younger generation, including my kids and wife. The managers keep trying to keep the product the same, when the expiration date for many policies has long passed.
When general authorities meet with those that they are trying to rescue, and they listen just enough to try to find where the member misunderstands doctrine, that is manager behavior. They are not listening to find out what is really wrong, they are looking for the mistake the other person has made. When I say they don’t listen to members, I mean that they go in with a preconceived idea that the member is wrong and they are right and all they have to do is listen enough to find where the member misunderstands the doctrine. That isn’t listening. That is fake caring and fake listening. They are not looking for the real problem. They are looking to fix the other person, not understand that person. They have blinded themselves to the real problem. The real problem is the church has a faulty product. So, they can’t really listen, or they might find out they are wrong.
Do what is right, let the consequence follow. Really listening takes a willingness to find the real problem and do what is right, let the consequence follow. But our sister church, the reorganized LDS, did that and lost half their members. What, admit that polygamy was never from God, that banning blacks and women from priesthood is racist and sexist, that maybe gay people are just exactly how God made them, that maybe transgender folk really are a female spirit trapped in the wrong body or male spirit born into a female body. Nope. They are not willing to let the consequences follow. So, they really can’t afford to really listen because they might find out they are wrong.
So, they manage the church, rather than leading the church. Meanwhile the church loses its best and brightest, but it also loses its leaders and settles for those willing to go along and not try to change things or take risks. It loses any inspiration and settles for good enough instead of best.