Like A Team

A Resource for Christian Leadership Development and Teamwork


What Kind of Leader Are You?

3 Powerful Tips in Making an Effective Transition from Employee to LeaderSome leaders are unusually good chess players because they can move the bishops, knights, rooks, pawns, and kings and queens around the board at will—no relationships are needed with inert chess pieces.  Unfortunately, leading flesh and blood, animate people is not quite so simple.  Relationship-building is the very heart and soul of productive leadership.  People don’t like to be treated as abstractions devoid of personalities, feelings, and uniqueness.  As headstrong Captain Kirk of Star Trek was fond of reminding the rationalistic Vulcan, Mr. Spock:  “People are messy and emotional. They’re hard to understand and control!”

High-relationship and low-relationship leaders are as different as humans and Vulcans:

The Low-Relationship Leader:

  • Prefers working alone
  • Is uncomfortable in spontaneous social settings
  • Lacks insight into the subtleties of human behavior
  • Makes decisions analytically with facts and figures
  • Is perfectionistic and perceives reality in “black and white” terms
  • Dislikes “wasting time” with small talk and fellowship
  • Displays a “cool,” detached demeanor
  • Avoids conflict, hoping it will just go away
  • Believes motivating and inspiring people is unnecessary

The Relational Leader:

  • Enjoys working with others on teams
  • Is stimulated by socializing
  • Is perceptive about what makes people “tick”
  • Factors feelings and political realities into decision-making
  • Takes a flexible, creative approach to managing
  • Is patient and friendly with others
  • Conveys warmth and empathy
  • Strives to resolve conflict in order to maintain healthy relationships
  • Encourages and equips others

Low-relationship people can make a number of contributions in service organizations, but leadership is seldom their strong suit.  Since interacting with others tends to “drain their battery,” they are much better suited to perform valuable technical assignments (such as financial management, computer projects, writing, and problem-solving), Strong team organizations shouldn’t expect their low-relationship members to carry a heavy leadership load. 

Phil Van Auken 

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