As part of our series about the four dimensions of leadership, today’s guest post is from Pat Rowland, our Family Ministries Pastor at Cross Point. Pat joined our staff almost three years ago and he has been through many growth transitions and changes that we have experienced. The thing I love about Pat is how balanced he is in leading his team functionally and relationally. He understands the value of managerial leadership but does it with a relational sensitivity.
Pat blogs at One Thing Family
You can also follow Pat on twitter HERE.
Managerial/Organizational Leadership style is probably the area I naturally lead from, which is why Jenni asked me to write this post. When it comes to leading and managing people there is always this tension of relationship and function. The team you are on has a function. Your team is also made up of people so you have to build relationally into them.
Teams that work well relationally have good chemistry: they work well together and they love being together. They know each other, care for each other, and support one another especially in the tough times. It’s not enough just to get along; they also have to work well together. Everyone has a role, they have to know their role, know the teams and individual objectives and function well as a team to accomplish those objectives. As a leader there is this tension: How do I care about the individual personal needs of my team, and yet hold them accountable to the objectives? This tension always exists!
This past year Cross Point launched it’s fourth campus in the Bellevue area. For months our team worked on designing the kids and students areas, recruiting and training volunteers, and praying for the families we were going to reach in that community. Three weeks before the launch the Nashville flood destroyed the homes of many of the families in the Bellevue area, including Wendy Pickering, the Bellevue Kidz World director. As a leader I faced the relational and functional tension. Wendy needed the relational care, but we also had the launch date just in front of us. She had been running point for us and was now consumed with “what am I going to do about my house and family?” I had to care for her family relationally, but I also needed to know where we were with getting the campus off the ground.
Leaders naturally lean to one side or the other of the function/relation tension. Your team has to perform, they have to accomplish their objectives and if you lead the team (volunteers or paid staff) then you are responsible for the team completing those objectives.
If you focus only or too much on accomplishing the objectives you will have a productive team, however, you’ll burn them out. There will be a wake of damaged people behind you, they’ll quit or you will cast them aside for more productive workers. If you focus only or too much on the relationship then the team will love each other and especially you as the leader, but will poorly complete objectives.
Do you naturally lean to the relational or functional side?
Boy this is a tough one for me. I probably lean more the functional but I have learned the last several years that it’s so much easier to get people on board with a goal when they buy into and understand how accomplishing something impacts them and glorifies God.
As an “achiever,” I can really become all about the “do” at times, so I wrestle with this tension more than I care to admit.
From one “achiever” to another, I feel your pain. I think the beauty is in understanding how our managerial style compliments the team. We may need to soften our edges, but not lose this naturally gifting.
I have the tendency to lead from the “functional” side of leadership, focused on the task/goal ahead. Especially in my early years of work & ministry. However, I few years ago our family was challenged by the discovery of health issues with my son. Both my wife, Shay, and I were blessed to be working in an environment & community that rallied to support us relationally, financially and in the workplace.
I was so taken back by that outpour, that it fundamentally impacted the way I lead. Our role, and Biblical calling, is to love God & Love people. I believe if we do that, people will rise up and do amazing things towards fulfilling vision and goals. That may seem a little “pie in the sky” or “soft” but I have learned to never underestimate people who feel supported, understood & loved.
Willy, I love how you allowed experience to shape you and balance you in this area of leadership. I too, can lean to the functional side, but God keeps stretching me.