What it’s about.
This is in line with emotional intelligence, and developing social awareness and human behavioral management abilities that the rest of the semester has also focused on. It’s the “working with people” problem that people never seem to be able to get away from.
What I liked
Many business leaders and many who succeed in management and leadership, or rise the corporate/ministry ladder are often left brain people. This causes them to have a tilt toward left brain tactics and a natural devaluation to right brain or “soft” concepts. The most important of these soft issues would be “emotional intelligence” but also this would include, work-life balance, a new model for hierarchical work relationships and emotionally processing change. Much has been written about emotional intelligence today, and it is beginning to be more commonly addressed in all types of circles. I recently sat through a church administration skill training where they spent the first hour walking us through “emotional intelligence.”
De Vries says, “Emotional intelligence plays a vital role in the leadership equation. It comes down to this: people who are emotionally intelligent are more likely to be effective as leaders.” De Vries lays out three essential tasks of emotional intelligence and they are, Recognize your own emotion, Managing your own emotion, and Dealing with others emotions.
Its not about the keeping the perfect spot on the teeter totter. Its not about this idea that if work get something better, then your family or life will suffer. It means integration. It means that Every part of your life gets the best of you. And if you finding yourself working too hard in an area that degrades your best self in another, just stop. Don’t rise to that level of stressed that you were not designed for. This also means doing work in which you can use your best self. As strength finders would argue, spend 85% of your time in your strengths. This is a way in which one can eliminate what De Vries call the Dilbert Phenomenon in which work has becoming a soul-sucking force of doom. With this emphasis on working in your strengths (and hopefully passion) one can pursue their emotional, personal and professional goals simultaneously.
De Vries gave some good questions for his readers on how to measure a balanced lifestyle and they are worth repeating here. What is also worth noting that many have said, including John Ortberg and Dr. Mary Pandiani that a “balance” in life is not possible. But as Christians we can live a well-ordered life, or a centered life.)
- How do you divide your time between home and work
- How much time do you spend wit your family
- How do you assess the balance between giving and getting emotional support?
- Do you ever reflect on your own life goals and periodically reassess?
- How well do you cope with stress and anxiety?
- Do you have hobbies?
A new model
The old model of paternalistic management is done. People look for to be engaged more like adult to adult relationships without the hierarchy of parenthood. The employee is also not looking to stay in one career or family for life, but to move around based on their own places of their career trajectory. For pastors, “Your challenge as a leader is to forge relationships anyway, despite employees who are suspicious or who keep an eye on the exit.” I was surprised by this focus on relationships from a non-christian voice. Even secular bosses are told to be relational with their employees. I viewed this more as something pastors did as a shepherding heart, and not just as a management style. In Manfred’s similar theme Ted Talk he gave this statement, “A healthy organization should have a healthy disrespect of the leader.” Not insubordination, but the ability to see and say the missing link. The maxim goes that a CEO says, “I want my employees to tell me the truth even if it costs them their jobs.”
The five Cs of change was helpful in processing through if your own change will be possible, as well as leading others through change. Concern, confrontation, clarification crystallization, and change lays out a clear emotional process that needs to happen for transformation to occur. To get more specific though Kets De Vries lays out four steps for in the organizational change process. Crating a shared mindset, changing behavior, building attitudes, competencies and practices, and improving business performance are the four steps of change. I think the most difficult of these is creating a shared mindset because they involves culture and core values.
What I’m using
The idea of whole-life strategy vs deferred life strategy is something that I think is worth incorporating into my dissertation. This book was especially easy to apply to my dissertation because I am currently writing the curriculum and degree plan for a Master in Leadership Studies with a Ministerial Emphasis. Many colleges already have a masters degree, so why is this degree different? Great question, and one I should make sure I have an answer to.
Secondly, the idea of processing change is of paramount interest to leaders and pastors, obviously because the pastors are always wanting to grow their church, or grow their people. These two nuggets from De Vries will influence what I am writing.
Side note: I liked reading from another international author, just for the sake that not every book I’m reading is coming from an American, but De Vries being Dutch help me feel what I am learning is more applicable than just my own culture. De Vries references some of this in chapter 9 of his book Leadership in a Global Context.