Presiding in a season of transition

Posted: February 1, 2013

Transitions can be difficult challenges to navigate. 

President Dwayne Uglem says during this season of leadership change, his biggest challenge can sometimes come from within.

"My perspective on leadership is that the hardest part of leadership is leading yourself," he exclaimed.
"In a time of transition there's more work than ever in that. You're uncoupling your identity from a role and that's really healthy and important, vital work. I think that's the challenge of this season."

The president admits that a leadership change at Briercrest during this particular time could cause some to make the wrong assumption.

"People might perceive that Briercrest in this transition is going somewhere Dwayne doesn't want to go," he said imagining out loud how the conversations might sound. "So Dwayne's led as far as he was comfortable leading and because we're going liberal arts - and we know Dwayne is theological - this is now the time Dwayne has to gracefully step back because he couldn't lead with integrity into where the school's going."

The president says that there is a grain of truth in the imaginary conversation.  He knows that the next season of managing the issues surrounding integration will be full of unique challenges.

"I haven't established in myself the same confidence about managing in that world after having worked 20 years in this world," he said. "In some ways that makes it a question for me, but in other ways I think the Lord could really have an important role for Briercrest to play in the next chapter. I marvel at what the Lord has been doing in the team He's been building.  The depth and caliber and quality of the people He's been sending here doesn't resemble at all something He's just about done with."

Uglem say leading Briercrest into this unfamiliar terrain is a challenge for someone with different talents than he possesses.

"I'm a doer," he explained. "I'm an operations guy; an implementer. Briercrest profoundly needs a vision-caster to actually help us see this preferred future. I know it's preferred. I know it's right and it's good and it's where we ought to go."

Uglem says this dilemma has left him with one "unfinished piece of business" in his term as Briercrest's fifth president.

"Briercrest needs someone who God has especially enlightened to tell - to paint the picture - of where we're going," he said. "I'm really trusting that the Lord will give us that person because we so need it.

With that said, Uglem is confident that for the rest of this school year, his mandate is to lead Briercrest.

"We've got really good people," he said. "We've got an amazing board. I don't feel at all any sense of vulnerability about whether or not I have permission to lead this year. The authority structure is really clear. I'm expected to lead this year. I intend to work to the last day and to give my best."