Leadership in the digital era
Leadership in the digital era
How do the Superior and her Council support the mission of communication for the Congregation.
In preparation for the First International Meeting on Communication in Religious Life, the UISG organised an online meeting for Superiors and General Councillors on the topic of Leadership in a digital world. Over 240 sisters attended the event.
What does it mean to be a leader in a digital paradigm and what is the role of leaders in digital communication? These were the questions that animated the dialogue at the meeting.
Patrizia Morgante, UISG Communications Manager, welcoming the participants, said:
"This meeting of reflection with Superiors and Councillors seems important to us: we would like it to be a forum where one can fearlessly share one’s concerns and positive experiences in communicating religious life. As communicators, we are aware of the central role that leadership plays in order to provide good communication: we cannot work well if not within a framework of collaboration and synergy with the General or Provincial Council. It is necessary to acknowledge the value of Communication as mission by nurturing an ecological and conscious culture of digital communication within congregations".
Prof. Juan Narbona, Pontifical University of the Holy Cross, and Sr. Patricia Lenihan, Superior General of the Sisters of Charity, shared two profound reflections from their perspective: the academic world and religious life engaged in effective communication.
Prof. Narbona said:
" It is only by weaving good relationships that mission can be built. Good relationships generate unity: no one is saved alone. Only by taking care of communication we can cultivate relationships.
In a world with a lot of cacophony, it is easy to neglect relationships and instead give way to divisions.
Interferences can undermine relationships, but maintaining relationships sometimes requires someone who cultivates the relationship and who has that communicative sensitivity that is indispensable today since it inspires the world in which they work.
What does a communicator do? In addition to all the technical aspects, he/she deals with generating passion for the institution. It is communicators who go out and weave networks creating relationships with others."
We are aware that, for some congregations, having a communication office or even just a sister or lay person in charge of general communication is not an easy option. "We feel unprepared to face this challenge; we are afraid to enter a world we do not know well.", stated one participant.
It is often the case that the sisters in charge of Communication also have other duties and this affects the quality of the content and care of communication, both inside and outside.
Listening to Professor Narbona, it is clear that communicating today is a mission that requires professionalism, technical competence and a passion for relationships.
Sr Patricia told us: 'It is necessary to keep the pace of the digitalisation boom in a professional way, also and particularly in terms of institutional communication.
I realised how crucial it is to have a good internal communication even before having an external one. What we need to understand is the role and importance of communication. I realised this when I went to Ireland, working with many lay people serving congregations. It was an important turning point for me.
I realised which was my desire: to tell the good stories, stories about ministries, stories about sisters evolving with their times, aware of the changes to which they are called to respond.
You have to be brave enough to tell the stories of congregations and sisters.
We are still lacking visibility, including in countries where our congregations are present. We must be aware of such situation and train our sisters to be present in social networks in a mindful way, providing them guidelines, explaining that they represent an institution, and therefore they must speak from their heart without offending anyone on social networks.
We cannot separate evangelisation and social digital life. Today, if we are not on social media, we cannot reach those who are in need of evangelisation. The dream of ecclesial communication can become true if the Church is close to those within it. Communication can only be clear and open, avoiding divisive hostilities."
The registration forms for this event, show that almost 90 per cent have a low or average knowledge of the topic, and over 90 per cent consider as very important and indispensable to be trained.
We hope that this webinar and the other initiatives, are gradually strengthening the culture of communication in UISG member congregations.
UISG Communications Office
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