There are many leadership styles in use in Christian ministry today. What kind of leadership style do you use? I have learned that leadership is not just defined by one style but requires a delicate balance.
Confidence vs. Arrogance
There is indeed a fine line between confidence and arrogance. Confidence is believing you are equipped and capable. Confident people do not necessarily have all the answers nor do they believe they are always right. They will know where to go to find the answers they do not possess and they will admit when they are wrong. Confident people are still teachable.
Arrogant people tip the scale beyond humble confidence. My personal determination of arrogance can be summed up by one simple question, “Is this person teachable?”
Indecisiveness or Dictatorship vs. Servant-Leadership
We hear a lot in the Christian community about the virtues of being a servant-leader. Indeed, Jesus did demonstrate for us how to be servants. What I have seen too many times are distortions of this concept. To miss the mark on one side means that a leader is paralyzed by indecisiveness.
- What happens if someone doesn’t agree with me?
- If I don’t have complete consensus can I still make a decision?
- Have I taken enough time to hear all perspectives?
Questions similar to these are not bad, but they can paralyze a decision making process. Some people can worry so much about being perceived as a servant-leader that they can’t make any decisions. On the other side of the scale, being too decisive and not taking team member concerns into consideration can be viewed as being a dictator. People want to really be heard, not just listened to generally.
People don’t like to follow a dictator but they don’t like to follow someone who is consistently indecisive either. It is important to find the balance of biblical servant-leadership. That balance includes not only being a servant, but also being a good steward and being a shepherd as well, just as Jesus taught us.
Structure vs. Flexibility
Many people desire a highly structured, organized and scheduled work environment. It provides security and comfort to them. Others feel confined and restricted by structure and desire the freedom that comes with flexibility. I have found that there is a necessity for both in leadership. As leaders, we need to be structured enough to be efficient and get tasks accomplished, but we also need to be flexible enough to have time for those many things that cannot be scheduled. From someone who just wants someone to talk to for a few minutes to the full blown crisis that must be managed, interruptions to the schedule are inevitable. I have found it is always important to be comfortable with both structure and flexibility.
Action vs. Observation
Do you remember the saying, “Look before you leap”, or “Engage brain before putting mouth in gear”? These are prime examples of what I mean here. Both observation (to evaluate conditions and circumstances) and action (to carry out a task) are important. They must work hand-in-hand. One without the other is a recipe for failure.
Fire Fighting vs. Fire Prevention
So many times leaders can be consumed with the Tyranny of the Urgent. We are forced to react to circumstances in which we have the responsibility to make decisions. Emergencies arise, conditions change that force us to react quickly and decisively. I call this fire fighting. I’m not saying we don’t have to do this; we do.
I strive to reach a place where I can not only fight the fires, but conduct intentional fire prevention to keep some fires from blowing up. Can we put new policies or structures in place that will help prevent fires? Can more care and concern and leadership help?
Balance on that fine line does not come without a close personal relationship with God. He has the supernatural ability to give you balance where it would not otherwise be possible. Above all, spend time with Him. It is a good investment which bears much fruit.
(c) Rick Weston. All rights reserved. Used with permission.