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DMin, Leadership and Global Perspectives: Crafting Ministry in an Interconnected World

The Leader in You

Written by: on October 27, 2016

Leadership through the world’s view is somewhat distorted. The styles of world leaders have ranged from fear to courage, low self-esteem to confidence, inexperience to experience, overcompensate for a lack of attempt, disrespectful to passionate, and more. If we were truthfulin the Christian community, these same world leadership traits are present in some Christian Leaders.cat mirror

Lowney found in his admiration of St. Ignatius Loyola’s ability to achieve great heights in the Jesuit community. He found in his pursuit of success, traits that reflect great leadership skills. He condensed them into four pillars and he explained them as follows:
• Self-awareness – where the men understood their strengths, weaknesses, values and worldview, (Lowney, Kindle location 82)
• Ingenuity – where they confidently innovated and adapted to embrace a changing world (Lowney, Kindle location 82)
• Love – engaging others with a positive and loving attitude, (Lowney, Kindle location 82) and
• Heroism- energized themselves and others through heroic ambitions. (Lowney, Kindle location 82)

Three of these pillars (Self-awareness, ingenuity, love) are a part of the 25 character traits now share in our education system and Christian character building programs. We are trying to aid students in being a productive person by strengthening their self-esteem and providing them with tools to use in their lives.

In chapter 2, Lowney provided ideas and tips on how to be an effective leader. He says that one should:
• Establish direction by developing a vision of the future, (Lowney, Kindle location 104)
• Aligning people by communicating the direction in words and deeds to others, (Lowney, Kindle location 104-107)
• Motivating and inspiring energizing people to overcome political, bureaucratic, and barriers to change, (Lowney, Kindle location 107) and
• As a result of the three acts above, producing change. (Lowney, Kindle location 107)

Lowney’s view of Loyola’s leadership skills would probably receive a great review from Ken Blanchard, author of the Leadership and the One Minute Manager. In my managerial career, we taught the principles of leadership in his book “The One Minute Manager.” In the review provided by Primary Goals website, Blanchard’s book, Leadership and the One Minute Manager, provided these four points and he explained them as follows:
1. “Directing – The leader provides specific direction and closely monitors task accomplishment. (p.46): Involves telling people clearly what to do, how to do it when to do it, and then closely monitoring their performance. (p.57): for people who lack competence but are enthusiastic and committed.”[1]
2. “Coaching – The leader continues to direct and closely monitor accomplishments, but also explains decisions, solicits suggestions, and supports progress.(p.57): for people who have some competence but lack commitment.” [2] 3. “Supporting – The leader facilitates and supports people’s efforts toward task accomplishment and shares responsibility for decision-making with them.(p.46): Involves listening to people, providing support and encouragement for their efforts, and then facilitating their involvement in problem-solving and decision-making.(p.57): for people who have competence but lack confidence or motivation.” [3]

4. “Delegating – The leader turns over responsibility for decision-making and problem solving to people.(p.57): for people who have both competence and commitment.” [4]

Lowney and Blanchard both recognized traits that parallel in good leadership skills. My views on them are as follows:
• Directing is necessary for providing leadership to those under your leadership. So that all may be on the same road towards the purpose, everyone must understand the expectations of the task.
• Coaching and Motivation both provide encouragement to complete the task.
• Supporting and aligning people with similar skills and abilities will assist in the task becoming successful.
• Delegation and producing change nurtures new ideas.

In Chapter 12, Lowney states we must do a self-check of ourselves. We must: “(1) appreciate our dignity and potential; (2) recognize our weaknesses that block that potential; (3) articulate our values that we stand for; (4) establish personal goals; (5) form a point of view on the world and how we will relate to others; and (6) see the wisdom and value in examen and commit to it.” (Lowney, location 2866)

When I served as a manager at my career job, I was always labeled as one of the best managers based on my working relationship with my employees and ability to encourage them to succeed as a group and achieve our goals. My management skills were similar to many of those skills above. In my self-check, one of my management challenges was being over protective of my employees. I felt they were mine and I sometimes boldly protected them when upper manager’s challenged them. There must be balance in management styles, and we must be willing to learn and grow.
As the executive director, of a non-profit, that is volunteer supported presents new challenges. They are not employees, so the managerial style is slightly different. Some employees are motivated by a paycheck and rewards while volunteers are driven by passion and appreciation. Negative impact for volunteers may result in the loss of volunteers.

In our Christian studies, Jesus’ leadership skills are one to follow and have been duplicated by many, even in the skills Lowney found in Loyola and addressed by Blanchard. With the disciples, He gave them instructions and directions for their task as well as demonstrated how to perform the skills before them. He coached and motivated them with encouraging words. He supported them by partnering them together as they went out to perform their assigned task. He delegated a specific task to some because He knew to reach the ultimate goal, He needs others to take charge, even when He was no longer in His position on earth.

The picture of the cat and lion was my model for the development of our youth program motto “Living My Destiny.”

___________________

[1] Blanchard, Ken, and Patricia Zigarmi, and Drea Zigarmi, Leadership and the One Minute Manager: Increasing Effectiveness Through Situational Leadership (New York, NY: William Morrow and Co., 999), http://primarygoals.com/teams/books/one-minute-manager/.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Ibid.

sorry the format changed when published.

About the Author

Lynda Gittens

12 responses to “The Leader in You”

  1. Lynda, I’d like to have had you as one of my managers. I wouldn’t have minded you one bit being protective of me. There is not enough of that in the managerial world in my opinion. Thanks for sharing about you. I enjoyed how you paralleled the One Minute Manager Book to this one. It helps to compare good leadership qualities and reinforce what makes a good leader. So much of it is about having good self-awareness. Does this get easier with age?

    • Thanks Jennifer we would have had a ball together. Does it get easier with age? I say this-
      The Elders would say “growing old gracefully.” I have learned that it should be “grow old with grace” because there ain’t nothing gracefully about old bodies. Lol.
      As you mature, some of us learn to discern what’s important and what is not. Some mistake my patience as passive. But! I will still attack when someone comes for those I love and respect! 🙂

  2. Geoff Lee says:

    The difference between volunteers and paid staff is an interesting one, particularly in light of passion and motivation. I think it takes a different set of skills to motivate and lead volunteers, than it does regular staff, though both are important. I’m with Jennifer – it’s always nice to have a manager who has your back!

  3. Geoff,
    As a leader, I treat my volunteers as I did my employees when I was a manager in the workforce. But on the same hand, if a volunteer is not doing a great job, you don’t face union or labor problems when you dismiss them. But in that process, there still needs to be compassion and thank them for their time and service. I always struggled with that part, unless I was totally fed up with them. 🙂

    • mm Katy Lines says:

      The “advantage”(?) of volunteers is that they must be motivated by a commitment to a purpose, whereas paid employees may be financially motivated– and why not? It just means they may not necessarily buy in to what they’re doing.

  4. Coaching and Motivation is so important and yet one of the most challenging traits to implement. Leading other leaders with different personalities and needs adds complexity. I have found this to be a constantly evolving skill. I do believe that motivation comes from both external and internal factors. Being able to align both of those is key to successfully motivating others.

    Being a coach is so different than being a task manager. Coaches provide leadership through strategic focus and trust their teams abilities by empowering them in their given roles. Coaches expect mistakes to be made but have trained their teams to self correct. In doing so, the team gains confidence and remains motivated.

  5. Coaching does provide leadership to a team but all team members do not self-correct. My experience with some coaches, whether with the job or sports are not always receptive to their team making mistakes. When the team has reached a moment of challenges, defeat, etc. then motivation is a good skill to employ and encourage the team to keep moving toward the goal.
    Maybe we don’t consider them coaches. 🙂

  6. Mary Walker says:

    Lynda, I found your comparison between Lowney and Blanchard to be really astute. You must have great directing and coaching skills. I can tell when I read your posts that you really love people and I’m sure that contributes to your great leadership. You can be my boss anytime!
    This whole thing with motivation and attitude works both ways. I’ve had bosses who were only in it for the money too. This led to a lot of cynicism and apathy. Surely those companies could take a lesson from you!

  7. mm Katy Lines says:

    Blanchard’s characteristics are what a leader might DO; Lowney focuses on who a leader IS (doing vs being). Lowney would argue that it is our internal characteristics that play out (in positive or negative ways) in our leadership interactions.

    Why am I not surprised that you would be “accused” of being protective of your employees? That sounds like Lowney’s description of the Jesuits’ love for one another: “They create environments bound and energized by loyalty, affection, and mutual support” (32).Yep, I can see that.

  8. I agree with you on the differences of Blanchard and Lowney. Putting them together you get how you should be and how you should interact with others.

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