Kets De Vries envelopes me within his text and dares me to go beyond the surface – He challenges me to question the WHY of my WHAT. For years, I have been compelled by the cries of my generation. However, ministering to Millennials and Gen Z is not the same as working alongside them. It’s easy to lead when you’re the only person on stage; however, it gets a bit more complex when you’re leading alongside a team of varied backgrounds, visions, callings and ages. There’s an old African Proverb that reads, If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together. Effective leadership requires us to go together – it requires us to lean in and create organizations that bring multiple voices and visions.
As I read through this week’s text, I gained a better perspective and appreciation for my team. I realized that I needed to change aspects of my presentation to minister to their personality. For instance, according to Kets De Vries, I think from both left and right hemisphere equally, which is why I respond well to organization, flexibility of schedule and outlined structure. However, the majority of my team are right brain thinkers and value storytelling, constant feedback and the opportunity to contribute their creative ideas. This is how they feel connected to LOUD. After reading The Leadership Mystique: Leading Behavior in the Human Enterprise, I realized that I was operating from my own personal preferences and then questioning their investment. I sent my team organized notes, kept them up-to-date on activities and tried to create a space of trust; however, that’s not what they were looking for, which is why they felt disengaged.
The world is no longer operating from a place of hierarchical leadership and blind company loyalty, which is why “organizational leadership, now more than ever, needs to find ways to bind people to the organization.” Kets De Vries suggests, “Anyone dealing in ideas needs to take into consideration people’s abilities to implement those ideas.” Effective leadership starts with team assessment. Therefore, the direction of the organization needs to operate at a communal pace in order to engage in purpose.
The majority of us in this program are either in full-time ministry within the church or parachurch, which is why it’s easy for us to place the same expectations on our team that we place on ourselves. However, the majority of our team members are voluntary or part-time employees. It’s unfair for us to demand the same standards of them that we demand from ourselves. In the words of the poet John Donne, “No man is an island, entire of itself, every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main.” Organizational success is contingent upon the leader’s ability to work within the constructs of their team, not their aspirational team, but their actual team.
Too many times in ministry, we focus on the insular – the comfortable bubble of isolation. However, this causes our organizations to be constructed in personal assumption. This type of mindset stunts the growth of companies because it serves to minster to only one – us. Kets De Vries reveals that, “Leaders shouldn’t look in the mirror; they should look out the window! Only if they’re externally directed can they remain close to their customer base.” Leaders are always going to be compelled. We are always going to be purposed in our search for meaning; however, only when we’re quiet enough to hear their whispers will we be able to give them a voice. “Any company’s success is directly linked to the degree that top executives in the company are trusted.” This is why successful organizations create space for differences, they welcome feedback and they grow on the foundation of shared values.
All of us have questioned our identity, our personality and our presentation. However, most of us have failed to look beyond the surface and delve into the depths of our soul. Manfred Kets De Vries colors the text with his experience of economics, management and psychoanalysis. He challenges us to understand that organizational success is dependent upon interpersonal relationships. “Effective business leadership is never limited to the acts of one heroic individual; rather, it operates in a context of employees and of the business, industry, and larger social environment.” Kets De Vries dares us to understand that effective leadership is not wrought through isolation, but through communication.
Manfred F.R. Kets de Vries, The Leadership Mystique: Leading Behavior in the Human Enterprise, 2nd ed. (New York: FT Press, 2009), 54.
“No Man Is an Island – Poem by John Donne,” www.poemhunter.com, accessed November 15, 2018, https://www.poemhunter.com/poem/no-man-is-an-island/.
Manfred F.R. Kets de Vries, The Leadership Mystique: Leading Behavior in the Human Enterprise, 2nd ed. (New York: FT Press, 2009), 71.
“Biography,” www.insead.edu, accessed November 15, 2018, https://www.insead.edu/faculty-research/faculty/manfred-f-r-kets-de-vries.
Manfred F.R. Kets de Vries, The Leadership Mystique: Leading Behavior in the Human Enterprise, 2nd ed. (New York: FT Press, 2009), 2.