05 Aug What’s it like to be on the other end of you?
Core Strengths helps us to understand that we have a mixture of motivations that drive our behavior. When those motivations are about equal, we face a great deal of tension that can make life difficult. We might even lose sleep over decisions that need to be made because one or another motivation may be compromised depending on what we decide.
I have experienced this struggle often as I have a strong motivation towards performance. I want to win and hate missing opportunities. Yet at the same time, I have a strong motivation to care for people. Sometimes it appears that to win and achieve is hindered by people whose performance is a problem. This tension of wanting to achieve and care about people very real and is not easy to navigate.
My friend and colleague, Dr. Mike Patterson, has written a book that might be helpful to those who struggle with this tension of performance and people motivations. His book is entitled, Mission First People Always: The Definitive Guide to Balancing People and Performance. Mike was extensive experience in relational intelligence as he was a principal with Core Strengths. He is also a brother in Christ and desires to see the mission of Christ advanced throughout the world. I have invited him to share some insights with our audience about those who struggle with trying to achieve great things but find themselves in tension with the passion to care for people. I have chosen to share these insights in the format of an interview.
Mike, why did you write this book and who might want to get a copy of your book?
Looking back over my career, I was struck by the enormous impact certain leaders have had on my life. The finest knew how to bring out the best in the people around them, inspired me to raise my game, and helped me recognize how I was part of something much bigger than myself. I wanted to be on their teams and felt as though I was better for it.
I had also encountered my fair share poor leaders who took the wind out of my sails and made it easy for me to become negative and disengaged. Those leaders tended to be domineering, and they liked making the people around them feel small and weak. I couldn’t wait to move on.
Beyond my own feelings, I also considered the results each type of leader created. The best leaders tended to achieve stronger, long-term results while creating a tight-knit group of loyal followers. The self-centered leaders–who were often personally very talented–would often start off strong, but at some point, would derail and leave a lot of heartache in the process.
I wanted to explore the difference in the two types of leaders and identify practices that gave leaders the ability to bring out the best in people, while also achieving superior results. My book is for those who share my curiosity and want to understand how to strike that right balance between taking care of God’s people and boldly advancing Kingdom causes.
What are some of the dangers people face if they don’t navigate the tension of performance and people?
I think we’ve all seen these dichotomous approaches: The nice guy who doesn’t get anything done and the hard charger who runs over people, and leaves bodies scattered at every turn. Both are failures in my book and more importantly, both fail to fulfill God’s mandate for biblical leadership.
Going back to the very beginning, God placed us to be “fruitful and multiply.” Later, the mission became even more focused: “make disciples.” Both are missions that require us to get stuff done. Jesus also modeled extraordinary leadership skills as He called and developed a team of disciples—originally, a pretty rag-tag group—who, when empowered by the Holy Spirit, changed the world. It takes people and performance to fulfill God’s mandate.
Could you share an insight from your book that will whet our appetite for insights you provide?
Early in the book, I ask the all-important question: “What’s it like to be on the other end of you?” It’s an important question because the experience people have will determine whether they invest themselves in the mission or look for the first opportunity to jump ship.
It’s not just an important question for work, it’s an even more critical question to ask oneself about life at home. How does your spouse or kids feel after an interaction with you? It’s a tough question ask, and an even harder question to answer at times; however, through the chapters of the book, I provide ideas and insights that will help you honestly answer that question in a way that feels right and is honoring to God.
Finally, one of the things in the book that people have commented on is the reflection questions and action items I pose at the end of each chapter. I want people to truly wrestle with the ideas and act. Until we do, nothing is going to change.
Thanks, Mike for sharing your insights with our community about relational intelligence and how to navigate the tension many of us experience. You can obtain a copy of Dr. Mike Patterson’s book, Mission First People Always: The Definitive Guide to Balancing People and Performance, on Amazon or wherever books are sold digitally.