As you lead throughout the day, do you find yourself motivated more through positive relationships or positive results? Obviously most leaders want to see positive results in their organizations. For corporations, these positive results may be defined in profitability or efficiency; however other organizations may look to attendance or population growth as a positive result. While organizations as a whole typically measure success through positive results, individual leaders may find that they are more drawn to the relational side of leading. While most leaders aim to influence and lead people, their styles are different when it comes to naturally valuing relationships or results. Even though leaders might be drawn to one side of the spectrum, some of the best leaders are able to find a balance between the two. Valuing relationships AND results is the fourth key in becoming a servant leader according to Mark Miller’s SERVE Model.
Think of relationships and results as the “love languages” of a leader. For a leader that values relationships, having a deep conversation with one of his team members could potentially energize and refresh him. Even better, when the leader sees growth and progress from that individual, he feels recharged and might even find purpose in his otherwise mundane responsibilities. These leaders tend to manage through influence and easily find common ground among the team. Often motivating their team through personal and professional development; this leader can easily make a champion out of the underdog as he determines what motivates each player, and relates that to the common goals of his team.
On the other end of the spectrum is the leader that is motivated through results. This leader is the kind of person that gets absolutely giddy over charts and graphs. Leaders that are results oriented can make sense of even the most complicated set of data and quickly turn it into an action plan for even more results! This leadership quality is very important and is necessary to lead a team. Even an endless number of warm, fuzzy conversations cannot make up for the fact that knowing the current state of an organization is vital to being able to cast a vision for the future. This leadership style might find an individual more comfortable analyzing numbers and leading through results, rather than building influence through relationships. These types of leaders easily inspire others by helping them find a sense of accomplishment through achievement and healthy organizational vitals.
Leaders can limit their own effectiveness if they find themselves in the “extremes” of this spectrum. An extremely relational leader might be so caught up in building connections with people that they eliminate professional boundaries or lose sight of the overall purpose of their organization. Highly results oriented leaders may be so focused on the tangible goals of the organization that they find themselves insensitive to the needs of their team members, or out of touch with their community or consumers.
Because there are strengths in both styles, it is often more convenient for leaders to stay within their comfort zone. However, it is important to realize that team members are also motivated through different styles. In an effort to properly serve them and be most effective for the organization, leaders should focus on finding the balance between relationships and results.
We have all been there… Your morning has been great. You’re walking into your office and your coworker meets you at the door with a laundry list of drama that somehow materialized between dinner last night and your first cup of coffee. Things you were blissfully unaware of before stepping onto the property that morning. As you are wishing you could go back to that first sip of coffee when all was right with the world; you become inundated with details of a personnel conflict and start brainstorming possible solutions. Maybe every once in a while you wonder how efficiently you could complete your daily responsibilities if you didn’t have to deal with conflict among your family or work team.
Of course, most people have that one acquaintance that seems to create conflict for their personal entertainment, but aside from that person, most people don’t seek out conflict. However, I think the most successful people in life (professionally and personally), realize that conflict is important and even necessary for growth.
In fact, Patrick Lencioni identifies “Fear of Conflict” as a major hindrance to team building in his book “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team.” It is easy to see the value and potential in conflict when it is quickly resolved and thought of as a learning opportunity. For instance, when it comes to relationships, a conflict with your spouse or loved one may become an identifier of a negative behavior in yourself, or the true feelings of the other person involved. Within an organization, these conflicts may reveal something as simple as lack of training, or something as profound as a lack of trust. In both situations, these factors can only be dealt with and identified once out in the open.
When it comes to team building and leadership within an organization, Tuckman’s Stages of Team Formation shows us that the “storming” phase, or the phase where most conflicts occur, is only the second stage in a team’s development on its way to becoming high performing. The four stages include Forming, Storming, Norming, and Performing; each one building on the previous stage. In this model, it’s as if the ability to resolve conflict and establish boundaries becomes the launching pad for growth and performance within the organization. Without this phase, the necessary depth within the team to build trust and work together simply does not exist.
During the storming phase, a lag in performance is always present, and it represents an opportunity for the leader of the team to take initiative and quickly coach the team beyond this phase. Once these necessary conflicts are overcome, roles and responsibilities within the team are defined and performance moves forward into the next phase quickly recovering and gaining efficiency.
Of course, it’s important to pick your battles, because not all conflicts are worthwhile. There is a fine line between healthy conflict and incessant quarreling. Proverbs 15:18 says, “A hot-tempered man stirs up dissension, but a patient man calms a quarrel.” Because of this verse I would say that difference lies between a calm discussion and an emotional confrontation. If you aren’t able to discuss the issue with a controlled tone of voice, it might be better to revisit the discussion when emotions have settled and the issue can be discussed calmly.
How has conflict built a more effective team in your organization?
Take a moment and imagine a battle scene (think swords and horses rather than bullets and machinery). Maybe you can relate this picture to something you have seen in a movie recently. The troops are getting nervous as they see the enemy approaching; they may look fearful or reluctant. Suddenly a leader emerges and takes charge. He reminds the soldiers of their mission and what brought them all together. In the midst of his inspirational speech, the men stand taller, and the leader finally calls them to charge. He sets the example by running with determination towards the opposing side. With an overwhelming roar and the intense sound of feet rushing along behind him, you quickly observe legions of men charging towards each other without regard for their eminent death. With intensity the two sides grow closer and closer, until finally they violently collide in the center of the battle field. The front line men are the first of many casualties, along with the leader that led them into charge.
Maybe the leader felt heroic as the first of his men to die. Maybe he wanted to pay the high price that many of his men would pay that day. I always wonder who is left to lead the men and direct them as they continue to fight. If the battle takes a turn for the worst, who has the authority to call for retreat? Who is set apart to direct the troops to the weak points of the opposing side? These important aspects of strategy are potentially left behind with the leader, who died on the front lines of battle.
This seems to be a common misconception of leadership, as many people lead this way in their personal and professional lives. Some leaders feel that the way to earn the respect of their team is to jump into the middle of an operation and lead from the “front line.” Unfortunately, leaders practicing this style fail to recognize that many aspects of leadership simply cannot be performed effectively from the front lines of an organization.
For example, casting a vision or creating a strategy must be done from a very broad view of the organization. The leader must be aware of many factors that can affect the goals of the overall vision. They should be in a position to anticipate the needs of their team members, and be aware of external factors caused by competition, the economy, etc.
Of course, by being responsible for the big picture, they are serving their organization by providing a clear vision and a strong course of action. Without this person, team members could find themselves shuffling in different directions, or discontented by a lack of purpose or clear expectations. Having a broad vantage point allows the leader to be in a proactive position, as they can much more easily direct, or redirect the vision when necessary. A leader who sees the big picture in this way would likely be much more effective than leading from the front lines.
Think back to the original battle scene. Imagine the differences there could have been if the leader set the charge and directed from behind. Leading in this way not only enables the leader to see the big picture, but allows his team members to lead the charge and become the celebrated heroes of the battle.
Leave your comments below. I would love to hear your thoughts on this article.
James had a heart cath done this morning, and the doctors found that the pressures in his heart continue to be elevated (no more than 1-5 points higher than normal). Because of the high pressures, they will be conducting several tests today to check for cellular rejection. If these tests come back positive, then they will begin TPE (Therapeutic Plasma Exchange). They still plan to remove all five chest tubes and the heart line today, and possibly the breathing tube from the ventilator this afternoon.
During our stay at the hospital, we have had many opportunities to minister to some of the families that we come in contact with. We had a good opportunity this morning with a spanish-speaking couple who had to put their child on life support this morning due to a heart issues. We were struggling to communicate and help the family, and I was able to call Joy Joiner, who spoke to the mother at length to help her better understand the situation and prayed for her as well. Joy has continued to text her Scripture in Spanish throughout the morning as we waited with her in the waiting room. Please pray for her and her child. Her name is Ingrid and her hcild’s Keila. Ingrid is a believer.
We cannot begin to express how thankful we are for the strong army of prayer warriors that have been praying with us and for us throughout this whole process. Your prayers are a blessing to us, and we continue to see them at work on a daily basis. Please continue to pray with us for the following things:
For wisdom for the doctors as they treat the heart pressures
For a decrease in the heart pressures
For no rejections
That he will be able to get off of the ventilator in the next 24 hours
For Ingrid and her daughter Keila
Once again, thank you for your prayers and for spreading the word. May God be glorified!
We are so grateful for all of you who have prayed for James, Buddy, Mallory, and Beau over the last 17 months during this journey. As most of you know, James was born on December 3, 2011 with hypo plastic left heart syndrome. He has had several heart surgeries as well as other procedures, and was placed on the heart transplant list a few months ago. This morning, we received the call that they had a heart for James.
We first want to mention the donor family, as they are losing a child this morning in order that James receive his new heart. Please pray that The Lord would give them comfort and peace as they endure the loss of a child as we are gaining new life for James.
When we first got the call this morning, my first thought was, “What better day to receive this call than on the Lord’s day.” We know that The Lord loves Buddy, Mallory, James, and Beau, along with thousands of our brothers and sisters in Christ. What an encouragement it has been! Even as were are driving to the hospital this morning, we received this video of our home church on their knees in prayer for James. We know that this will be a long day, but we will keep you posted with updates throughout the day. May God receive all the glory for what He does on this day!
As you all know, my family and I have been involved in the carnival business for many, many years. Just recently, the Winston-Salem Journal featured an article about McBride Brother’s Amusements and their feature turkey legs! Check out the article and the video about the history of the carnival business! Click here to read the article and watch the video.
As most of you know, my youngest son Tommy was in the hospital two weekends ago with stroke-like symptoms. Many tests were performed while he was in the hospital, including an MRI, MRI, CT scan, and carotid artery ultrasound to check for evidence of a stroke or a TIA. All of his test came back negative, and they said that it was what they call a “compound migraine.” Tommy was released from the hospital the following day and given some medicine in case he has symptoms in the future. He returned to work last Tuesday and has been recovering ever since. We cannot tell you how thankful that we were and are for the prayers for Tommy and his family during this time. Read more
Sheila and I have always aimed at preparing our children for marriage as they grew up, encouraging them to pursue pure, God-centered relationships. LIttle did we know that three of our four children would get married within months, and years of each other. My youngest son, Tommy was married in June 2009, followed by my oldest son Buddy in October 2009. And then, in July of 2011, our oldest daughter Victoria tied the knot. Needless to say, I learned a lot during these special times- especially on the planning side. On Victoria’s special day, she had two wonderful people record the events through beautiful pictures. Kim and Roger Russell, of K&R Photography were there to make her day special. Read more
James IV Update
Mallory took James to his heart doctor yesterday for his checkup and his echocardiogram. He was very pleased with his lung function, stating that it was better than ever. However, James’ heart function had not improved like the doctor had hoped it would improve by this point. As a result, he said that James would need to travel to Eggleston sometime within the next month to have another heart cath procedure. During this procedure they will be checking his heart function to see if there were any further improvements. Read more
Just a little over a week ago, last Tuesday night to be exact, I became “Papa” to not three, but four grandchildren. On July 31st, at 9:21pm, Penelope Lynn Lane was born to my daughter Victoria and her husband Mark. She was 6 pounds and 11 ounces and had a head full of dark hair. She is the sweetest little girl, and her mama and daddy are doing great. I am so thankful that she is healthy and happy, and that everyone is doing well. Here are a few pictures of the cutie! Read more