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Feature Article: Which Kind of Leader Are You?

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Inspirational Women's Garden Club, Wednesday, August 27, 7 pm EST

  • Which Kind of Leader Are You?
    Wed, Aug 27 at 7 pm EST

Which Kind of Leader Are You?

I recently watched a very inspiring movie with Gil. Throughout the movie, I was reflecting on the different styles of leadership the various adult characters demonstrated in the movie. There were three key "father" figures in the movie: one was a young son's actual father; the second was an uncle of another young boy who had just lost both of his parents in a tragic accident, and his care had been entrusted to this uncle, who had been his father's brother, and his wife. There was a third father figure, an eccentric, middle-aged man named Jim, whom most everyone in the town feared. His experience in the Vietnam War had left him changed, and he remained isolated at his home with his dog, shunning all other social interaction.

The young son who had recently lost his father was struggling in his relationship with his uncle, who was treating him harshly due to unresolved issues with his brother, the young boy's deceased father. The young son reached out to Jim, the town's hermit, because he discovered Jim had been a soapbox derby hero in his younger days, a love which the young boy and his deceased father had shared. Jim initially fended off the young boy's interest, but over time, responded to his desire for help in building his own soapbox car to enter an upcoming race.

The other young boy worked with his father, preparing for the same soapbox derby race. This father was competitive and placed pressure on his son to win, especially during the dry run races with the other kids. This father was building the son's racer himself, rather than allowing his son to do it, or even to help him.

Jim, on the other hand, challenged the other young boy to build his own racer. He reviewed the young boy's designs and told him he could use any of the parts in his junkyard for the car. Yet he never took the freedom away from the young boy to learn on his own by trying things out and making mistakes himself.

As I reflected on the two extremely different leadership styles of these men, I felt inspired to share this story with you and glean the important leadership principles from it. As we reflect on Jim and the father, which kind of leader is more like you?

  1. The father's leadership was performance-oriented, while Jim's allowed the young boy the freedom to learn on his own and make mistakes.

    The father throughout the movie was seen working on the son's racer, while the son watched. When the son would offer to help or make a suggestion, the father would say something like, "Let me do it - it needs to be perfect, and you want to win, don't you?" These types of responses deflated the young son's confidence and sent a clear message that the father was in charge, and the young son had nothing to offer in the process.

  1. The father's leadership style created weakness in his son, while Jim's approach created strength.

    Throughout the movie, you saw the other young boy working on his car designs, trying new things, going back to Jim throughout for guidance, yet building the car almost completely on his own. When a moment of crisis occurred later during the race, the young boy was able to handle it, as he knew the inner workings of the car through having built it.

    The other young boy felt paralyzed in the moment of crisis, because his father had always done the building and work. He didn't have the confidence needed to handle the stress of performance or a crisis when each occurred.

  1. The father's style of leadership fostered dependence in his son and limited his confidence, while Jim's, though it might have seemed initially more stressful for the other young boy, created independence and confidence in himself and the skills he had learned.

    Because the father was a perfectionist, he wanted the racer to be built in a certain way. He felt he was the only one who could "do it right." And of course, he could do it faster and maybe better than his son - he was an adult man. But that wasn't the point - the point was that his son needed to learn to build his own race car, and to learn confidence in his own abilities. His father's inability to let go of control and teach his son fostered dependence and prevented the development of his son's much needed self-confidence.

    Jim, on the other hand, refused to offer much help at all to the other young boy, especially at the beginning. While the young boy felt some stress initially, trying to figure things out on his own, this approach allowed him the freedom to learn and to make mistakes under Jim's guidance.

  1. The father's style of leadership was about control and winning, while Jim's was about the young boy learning on his own.

    Throughout the movie, you saw the father's competitive spirit come out. It was easy to see this race was about him, being in control and winning, rather than about a hobby his son enjoyed and wanted to learn as he experienced it.

    Many leaders are wired to win and to be competitive. It's especially important if you're one of these types of leaders that you guard against this in your leadership. If you've been given the privilege of leadership by God, it's about serving those you lead and serving God, not about your own agendas for winning, perfectionism or empire-building. (1 Pet. 5:2; 1 Tim 3:2-3).

  1. The father's style of leadership was "I'll do it (with the obvious inference being because I can do it better), while Jim's style was "you do it" (because this is your goal and dream).

    The father was unable to delegate leadership to his son or even to train him in the details of leading. Many leaders struggle with this due to their perfectionism and their own desire for excellence. (Blackaby, Spiritual Leadership, 136). They know they're highly skilled, and they are unable to trust others to do it "less perfectly" in their own learning process.

    Jim was able to delegate the building of the car to the other young boy, because after all, it was his goal and his dream. Jim had already had his time in the sun many years earlier. Leaders need to learn to do the same - to give emerging leaders their time to try, to fail, but to also learn in the process. One of the truest tests of a leader is how their organization manages once they are gone. Only those who have been trained to stay behind will be the proof of that leadership.

  1. The father's communication was stress-producing to his son, while Jim's communication was encouraging (you can do it!)

    As you watched the movie, you could see either the tension and stress on each boy's face, or the relief, based on how the adult men communicated with them. The father, even though he loved his son greatly and wanted him to succeed, created great stress for him. It seemed at one point of crisis in the movie that the young son wondered if the father would respond with love to him even when he hadn't "performed" up to his expectations. It was a heartbreaking moment.

    As a leader, you'll want to ensure to those you lead that their relationship with you is solid, even if their performance is not always as wonderful as you would want. Particularly in areas of spiritual leadership, the relationship is most important, and the performance is always second. It's important to always keep this perspective in place.

Keys to Victory along the Journey

  • The father's leadership was performance-oriented, while Jim's allowed the young boy the freedom to learn on his own and make mistakes.

  • The father's leadership style created weakness in his son, while Jim's style created strength.
  • The father's style of leadership fostered dependence in his son and limited his confidence, while Jim's, though it might have seemed initially more stressful for the young boy, created independence and confidence in himself and his learned skills.

  • The father's style of leadership was about control and winning, while Jim's was about the young boy learning on his own.

  • The father's style of leadership was "I'll do it (with the obvious inference being because I can do it better), while Jim's style was "you do it" (because this is your goal and dream).

  • The father's communication was stress-producing to his son, while Jim's communication was encouraging (you can do it!)
Henry Blackaby in his book, Spiritual Leadership, writes:

There are three worthy goals of leadership - leading [others] to spiritual maturity, leading others to lead, and bringing glory to God (pp. 127-144).

As a leader, you can daily choose to stay focused on these leadership priorities, rather than on control, winning or the bottom line.


If you would like to hear more topics like these, please join us for the August "Inspirational Women's Garden Club" event on Wednesday, August 27, at 7 p.m. EST. For more information, contact Suzanne at suzanne@suzannemartinez.com. We'd love to have you join us and bring a friend, too!


August Coaching Special

With enrollment this month in the Inspirational Women's Garden Club, you’ll receive a complimentary 30-minute personal or church coaching consult. Just contact my office at suzanne@suzannemartinez.com. I'd love to help you.

Please let me know what issues you would like to hear about in the next newsletter. I'll do my best to address your concerns! I look forward to speaking with you all next month.

Many prayers and blessings to you all,



Leadership Tips and Relationship Tips are monthly e-zines written and published by Suzanne Martinez, founder of SFM Consulting & Associates, LLC. Our purpose is to help leaders develop healthy leadership cultures and healthy relationships - cultures that promote growth and maximize personal and organizational performance.

You may copy, forward or distribute this e-zine if this copyright notice and contact information for Suzanne Martinez is included.

Suzanne Martinez
SFM Consulting & Associates, LLC
P.O. Box 9172
Reston, VA 20195-9172
703.282.2325
suzanne@suzannemartinez.com
www.suzannemartinez.com


Copyright ©SFM Consulting & Associates, LLC, 2006-2008.


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Leadership & Relationship Tips
August 2008
Vol. I, Issue 30


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Would you Like to Have Your Own CD copy of Recent Garden Club Messages?

It's easy. Just click on the links below, and your CD copies will be shipped out to you ~

Developing Patience through Your Difficulties (April 2007)

Celebrating the Goodness of God in your Life (May 2007)

Dealing with Stress and Anxiety (June 2007)

Finding Rest for Your Soul (July 2007)

Conquering Bitterness through the Power of Forgiveness (August 2007)

Resolving Conflict and Healing Patterns from the Past (September 2007)

Pink & Blue: Secrets to Translating Male/Female Communication to Achieve Meaningful Love and Work

Depending on God to Live Victoriously Despite our Circumstances (November 2007)

Persevering Prayer that Leads to Hope and a Victorious Life (December 2007)

Mastering and Sustaining Personal Change (January 2008)

Servant Leadership Lessons Jesus Modeled for Our Leadership and Our Lives (Feb 2008)

How to Choose and Be a True Friend for Life (March 2008)

How to Find a Healthy Balance between Your Work, Ministry and Personal Life (April 2008)

Leading and Managing through Change with Grace (May 2008)

Dealing with Anger, Hurt and Resentment in a Healthy Way (June 2008)

Uncovering Godly Perspectives on Wealth and Money (July 2008)

If you'd like to purchase the package of Garden Club CDs for yourself or as a gift for a friend, you may do so by clicking on the following link - Garden Club Album. I hope you'll be inspired by these!


Upcoming Garden Club Teleseminars

Interested in joining the Inspirational Women's Garden Club?

It's a monthly get-together via telephone of women to network, build relationships with one another, and to discuss the Relationship Tips monthly topic.

Our next Inspirational Women's Garden Club event is:

Wed, August 27, 2008,
7 pm EST

Which Kind of Leader Are You?

Just email me at Suzanne's office for more information and for the information needed to participate!

If you'd like more information about the Garden Club or to enroll, please go to Inspirational Women's Garden Club. You may hear a sample audio class at FREE Gift and FREE Handout. Hope you'll join us on Wed, August 27 at 7 pm EST!


Becoming a Woman of Godly Character

Our words reflect our hearts and character. In the CD, "Becoming a Woman of Godly Character," Suzanne provides answers to common questions women ask and encourages you in your walk with Christ.

She'll also teach you qualities of a godly woman and the process whereby God changes you throughout your life to make you more like Christ.

Click here to order your copy...

Reversing the Curse: Rediscovering Joy and Fulfillment in Relationships

Reversing the Curse: Rediscovering Joy and Fulfillment in Relationships

In this four-week study guide, Suzanne leads you to simple, but powerful, tools to reverse the effects of the curse and transform your relationships in amazing ways.

As you learn and incorporate these three simple "power tools" into your relationships, you'll find you rediscover joy and fulfillment in your relationships in a new and fresh way.

Click here to order your copy!

Reversing the Curse: Rediscovering Joy and Fulfillment in Relationships


Inspiring Devotionals

Has your relationship with Christ lost its fervor? Have you gotten caught up in the stresses of life? Is your time with the Lord placed on the back burner?

These two devotionals will help renew your focus on Christ, gain strength for the trials you face, and enable you to give praise to God amidst whatever difficulties you encounter.

Devotionals

Shop here to obtain your copy.


About Suzanne

Suzanne France Martinez
Founder & Principal

During the last 20 years as Suzanne served in the marketplace and in ministry, she learned to excel amidst the pressing demands and challenges of leadership in each setting.

Suzanne's passion is to help leaders develop healthy leadership and healthy relationships - cultures that promote growth and maximize personal and organizational performance.

Suzanne desires to help leaders renew and refresh their vision, attain new levels of leadership excellence, and build healthy and strong leadership organizations.


Copyright © 2006-2008 SFM Consulting & Associates, LLC.