25 Mar '13
Good leaders are flexible leaders
Leaders with good EQ are both self defined and flexible. Their self definition becomes a compass directionally but within that direction they are highly flexible. For some, leadership is telling others what they will do and getting their way. For healthy leaders, direction setting includes other key stakeholders and then they are flexible on the strategies needed to go in that direction.
Most issues where leaders are inflexible and need to be right or get their own way are not worth the inflexibility. The very reason that church leadership was designed as a team, for instance, goes to the value of the counsel of multiple wise leaders. Most of the hills leaders choose to die on cause blood to be shed – rarely their own – for causes not worth dying for.
This is where being self defined but able to invite dialogue and stay in relationship becomes so important. Without this it is our way or the highway. With this it is possible to come to a corporate strategy to move in the direction that has been set.
Many of the conflicts that leaders find themselves in are a direct result of either poor self definition or inflexibility to negotiate a common course of action. Good leaders are highly flexible and are masters at helping other good people come to a common strategy on ministry that allows the ministry to move in the preferred direction. Black and while individuals, on the other hand tend to polarize rather than bring people together.
I recently watched a senior pastor lose a number of staff, key leaders and volunteers from his church because of inflexibility over issues that could easily have been avoided and which were hills not worth dying on. Rather than bring a group together to help find a common consensus, he found it necessary to personally define what would happen and in the end lost key supporters in the church. His lack of flexibility and black and white thinking caused polarity rather than inclusiveness which ended in great and unnecessary pain.
There are issues that are non-negotiables for leaders in order to achieve missional effectiveness. Most are not. The flexibility we have is a sign of good EQ - or lack of it.