From Holy Hal to Cow-killing Kevin

I disagree. You disagree. People have been disagreeing nearly as long as there have been people. People react different ways in the face of disagreements. I’ve worked with a number of different profiles in ministry.

Holy Hal moves quickly to point out that God Himself has brought him to the point of view he champions. It’s tough to disagree with Hal since he sees imself as the mouthpiece of God on the every matter at hand. “God is telling us to …”

Dicing Debbie chooses to slice and dice those who disagree by bringing their many faults to the forefront. Her attacks can be vicious and bloody.She moves up and gets her way by assassinating others.

Sensitive Sam perceives any disagreement to be a personal attack and is wounded by the person who disagrees. He wonders why the person disagreeing with him doesn’t like him.

Politicking Pete hears the disagreement, presents his side and then, if not on the winning end, hits the campaign trail enlisting others to join his cause. He approaches the same disagreement from seemingly limitless directions. It’s never over for Pete. No decision is final until it is the decision he endorses.

Fleeing Freddy avoids conflict at all costs. In the face of disagreement he leaves. He doesn’t want to fight. He’s been bruised too many times.

Defensive Dave perceives disagreements as attacks and immediately sets out to defend his opinion without much effort to consider the opposing viewpoints. He begins working diligently to put together a bulletproof defense.

Grudging Gary carries the weight of past disagreement and adds new weights continuously. He carries a lengthy list of wrongs which he will not give up.

Doormat Doreen won’t disagree or offer her thoughts even though her team may need them. She doesn’t want to offend anyone. She stays silent and goes along.

No-compromise Nancy routinely disagrees with anything new or different. She elevates her position by spiritualizing and attaching it to something she calls, “the gospel.” She proudly stands on her commitment to “never compromise the gospel.”

Complaining Cal. You know if his name is on your schedule, you’re in for an earful of all the ways you disappoint. Cal always has some issue to discuss and something with which he is unhappy.

Negotiating Ned looks for common ground and works to bring things together for the best interest of the team and the advancement of the cause. His efforts often get people onto the same page.

Peacemaker Patty is concerned with relationships. She is unafraid to disagree or hear disagreements. As far as it is possible for her, she works to be at peace with all. But, if peace cannot be found, she is able to stand her ground.

Straight Stan is honest and direct. He will state his opinion and has a reputation for being a plain talker. He clearly states his disagreements attaching no other incidentals or emotions to them. Sometimes the truth hurts but the team knows Stan’s motives are pure. Stan boils it down to the issue at hand.

Cow Killing Kevin isn’t afraid to challenge the system or process and ask if it is time to kill a sacred cow. He is unafraid to disagree with man-made traditions or existing policy and ask “why?” He’ll just as easily end an existing program as begin a new one. He recognizes his own biases and offers them to the same evaluation.

Captain Carole is charged with steering the team. She’s at the helm with steering wheel in hand. She must make the best decision she can taking input from her crew. She has her own ways of dealing with disagreement from the list above.

I’m in Carole’s position. I see my own strengths and shortcomings as a leader. I know my natural inclination to become defensive and, when burned out, would rather flee conflict altogether. But I also see negotiating skills, cow killing and straight talk bearing fruit.

I’ve had numerous crews over the years and have had each of the people above serve at one time or another. Today I work harder to assemble the most balanced team I can.

Holy Hal is passionate but he silences others since he claims to speak for God. Dicing Debbie leaves a pile of hurt people in her wake. Complaining Cal is a bummer draining all who listen. Politicking Pete is exhausting and makes the team feel like it is wasting its time by always revisiting the same issues. Grudging Gary gets angry fast and triggers emotions. No-compromise Nancy works well maintaining existing programs but stalls innovative teams.

I’ve found Doormat Doreen to be an asset when separate from the personalities above. She brings a new perspective when she feels safe. I’ve also seen Defensive Dave and Sensitive Sam either grow stronger or worsen depending on the makeup of the team.

My dream teams, and I have had a few, have included a balance of peacemakers, negotiators, straight talkers and cow killers. It’s no coincidence that they fit the description of leaders in Titus.

Titus 1:7-9- It’s important that a church leader, responsible for the affairs in God’s house, be looked up to – not pushy, not short-tempered, not a drunk, not a bully, not money-hungry. He must welcome people, be helpful, wise, fair, reverent, have a good grip on himself, and have a good grip on the Message, knowing how to use the truth to either spur people on in knowledge or stop them in their tracks if they oppose it.

I’m curious … what personality profiles have you seen on leadership teams? What has been their effect on the vision, mission and ability of the team as a whole? Pushy Pam? Monopolizing Mandy? Bully Brad? Welcoming Will? Fair Frank?

About Scott Linscott

Living life to the fullest, walking in the dust of my Rabbi, creating art through photography and written word, speaking words of hope and encouragement at conferences, workshops, church and civic gatherings.
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