The book, The Starfish and the Spider: The Unstoppable Power of Leadership Organizations by Ori Brafman and Rod Beckstrom, highlights the value of what the authors call, ‘leaderless’ organizations. Although I don’t advocate leaderless organizations, one chapter describes tools that successful non-leader leaders use to catalyze their respective organizations. These qualities also apply to catalytic leaders. I’ve summarized them below.
Qualities of a catalytic leader:
- Genuine interest in others
- Loose connections (they don’t limit themselves to a few close friends but have many connections)
- 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)
- Desire to help others
- Meet people where they are (there is a difference between passionate and pushy; catalysts rely less on persuasion and more on meeting people where they are )
- Emotional intelligence
- Inspiration (catalysts often inspire others to work toward a goal that often doesn’t involve their own personal gain)
- Tolerance for ambiguity (they learn to be OK when they don’t have concrete answers to big questions)
- Hands-Off approach (they are less apt to use command and control)
- Receding (after they accomplish what they intended, they get out of the way)
The authors also contrasted traditional CEO’s to Catalysts.
A CEO vs a catalyst…
- 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
As you read the positive qualities, how many would others say you embody in your leadership? What quality needs the most attention in your leadership?
2 thoughts on “Are You a Catalytic Leader?”
Very good post Charles. loved the book, and applying it to the church is helpful. i agree we can’t be totally leaderless but having the qualities that they highlight is important in our churches. yet, we see more and more CEO types in our churches.
thx Charley! Let me know if you’d like to reschedule the pastor’s training.