Are You a Catalytic Leader?

Ed Stetzer is one of the most creative minds in the church world today. An author and a researcher with Lifeway, he is a smart dude. Next year I plan to attend a course at Trinity Seminary that he will teach on Missional Leadership.

One of the required books I’m reading is The Starfish and the Spider: The Unstoppable Power of Leadership Organizations by Ori Brafman and Rod Beckstrom. The book, as the title states, highlights the value of what they call ‘leaderless’ organizations. Although I’m not endorsing leaderless organizations, one chapter describes tools that successful non-leader leaders use to catalyze their respective organizations.

I found the qualities they suggest would probably to any leader.

  1. Genuine interest in others
  2. Loose connections (they don’t limit themselves to a few close friends but have many connections)
  3. Mapping (catalysts think of who they know, who those people know, how they all relate to one another, and how they fit into a huge mental map)
  4. Desire to help others
  5. Passion
  6. Meet people where they are (there is a difference between passionate and pushy; catalyst rely less on persuasion and more on meeting people where they are )
  7. Emotional intelligence
  8. Trust
  9. Inspiration (catalysts often inspire others to work toward a goal that often doesn’t involve their own personal gain)
  10. Tolerance for ambiguity (they learn to be OK when they don’t have concrete answers to big questions)
  11. Hands-Off approach (they are less apt to use command and control)
  12. Receding (after they accomplish what they intended, they get out of the way)

The authors also contrast CEO’s to Catalysts.

CEO’s  vs    Catalysts

  • the boss vs a peer
  • command-and-control vs trust
  • rational vs emotionally intelligent
  • powerful vs inspirational
  • directive vs collaborative
  • in the spotlight vs behind the scenes
  • order vs ambiguity
  • organizing vs connecting

What do you think about leader-less organizations? Do you think leadership is either one or the other? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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