“Leadership is not about problems and decisions; it is a profoundly relational enterprise that seeks to motivate people toward a vision that will require significant change and risk on everyone’s part.”- Dr. Dan Allender
There always seems to be a shortage of leaders in any spiritual undertaking. There is always a need and a desire to grow more leaders—help people develop the skills and the capacities to lead toward the mission and toward building God’s kingdom.
What is often missed in developing leaders is this key component of being aware of one’s style of relationship as well as understanding the need to call people to significant change and risk. It is critical that leaders are aware of the way they relate and how it impacts those they lead. Some leaders come to mind:
-One so committed to being competent and in control—out of deep fear—they come across as demeaning and demanding. He has power but no relational capital. Relationship ends when he can no longer be in control or be viewed as competent.
-One desperate to gain affirmation of those who lead him—has no ability to say no. Those around him have no idea of the building anger—except those in his home. He has people’s affirmation but has not taken courage to challenge or confront needed change in the system at work. His relational style ends when he is not allowed to be nice.
-One who always plays it safe—covers his bases to not be blamed—Risk and courage are things to be avoided—not lead towards. His relational style ends when he must go as well as invite others to go outside of safe.
It seems all too easy to give skills and knowledge to people and call it building leaders and miss all together these two important categories. It seems vital to help leaders understand their style of relating as well as what is the necessary risk and courage they must move towards.
These styles seem to be rooted in fear—and those fears are probably a deep part of their stories.
It is vital to help leaders understand their stories and the themes that have shaped their stories. It seems particularly helpful to understand the fears that have been recurrent in their stories. These shape how they relate to others and often how their style of relationship is a protective layer to keep them from certain pain.
Courage and Risk are words that accurately describe our redemptive journey. Courage to lay aside things that have been a source of life and self protection—to embrace a path that is both vulnerable but also offers a deeper means of life and hope. Can I give up control to more deeply experience the one who is in control? Can I give up pursuit of affirmation for one who deeply loves and delights in me? Can I give up safety for the One who goes before and behind and surrounds me with His love?
These are the ways he continues to lead us toward change—with courage and risk—and hope. At the heart of any counseling or change process is a deep need for spirit led courage and risk.
Brian Boecker, LPC