Using all the clubs in your leadership bag

Posted on November 6, 2013 by


GolfBag1Conventional wisdom says that we are who we are and the type of personality and way that we lead cannot be improved much.  I’ve believed for years that I was basically an encourager and team builder but that conflict was something I avoided like the plague.  And while we have the personality that the Lord has given us, our leadership abilities CAN be grown and improved to face the situations that He has put us in to build others up in Christ.

This is exactly what the best management studies are telling us.  Over the summer Wiley Scott gave me a book by the Harvard Business Review (HBR), called ‘On Managing People’, that has changed how I feel about our gifts and our leadership abilities.  In the first article in the book, Daniel Goleman (father of ‘Emotional Intelligence’) reveals new research that goes against that conventional wisdom and gives us some of the best leadership wisdom I have encountered in a long time.

Current research indicates that there are six distinct leadership styles- Coercive, Authoritative, Affiliative, Pace-setting, Coaching, and Democratic.  Each of us can probably self identify ourselves as having a leadership style that reflects one or two of those types.  But here is where it gets interesting!

Goleman writes, “And perhaps most important, the research indicates that leaders with the best results do not rely on only one leadership style; they use most of them in a given week– seamlessly and in different measure–depending on the situation.”

What interesting insight!  Think about it, we are called to exercise different leadership styles in different situations.  Goleman uses an analogy near and dear to my heart by referring to a golfer who uses a variety of different golf clubs in a round of golf to hit different shots in different situations.

The Apostle Paul uses an interesting word when he lists love, joy, peace, patience, etc in his list in Galatians 5.  He refers to them as the ‘fruit of the Spirit’ even though the list is plural.  The word ‘fruit’ is singular since it refers to the result of the Spirit dwelling within us, not a list of many and various types of fruit.

I think of our leadership in the same way.  God who has called us to lead, has given us many tools and types of leadership styles, even if we will tend to default to one or two if we are not aware of it.

For the next few times that I post, I will write about these leadership styles and how we can use them to maximize the role that God has given us to ‘lead with all diligence’ as Paul exhorts us in the book of Romans.

As you lead this week, take notice of the way that you lead and think what style of leading would work best in each situation.

Posted in: Leadership