Styles of Leadership

When I was a curate part of the training we were given was about styles of leadership, and again in industry our styles of leadership were tested for to see whether we fitted with the corporate culture.  There are many different models of leadership (and I will write in a minute about one), but my main argument is that to be healthy an organisation needs different styles represented in its leadership.

The model we were taught was one which separated leaders into:

Engineers – use strategies and visions to come up with plans which everyone is then expected to execute.


Gardeners – use trial and error, they plant something and see whether it works, and if it doesn’t they plant something else, or plant the first thing elsewhere as it may have been in the wrong place.


Surfers – spend time waxing their surfboard, so that when the big wave comes along they are ready to ride it.


Diplomats – use their connections to network and negotiate solutions – often behind the scenes.

In industry I had lots of experience working with Engineers, and discovered that one of the traits is an attachment to an idea.  They have started so they will finish – however bad an idea something is.  However, without that drive from the Engineer the others are less likely to get things done.

Why, you may ask, am I blogging about this in Lent on a church blog?  The reason is that I believe that the church is becoming monochrome in its leadership style.  Bishops are increasingly interested in defining strategies and visions, and are encouraging clergy to do the same.  If like me you believe that there is a place for multiple styles of leadership this is a concern.

It is also a concern in a religious setting, as with a solely Engineering focus there is a danger that we get caught up in today’s plans and visions, and without other leadership styles may lose sight of the main thing – God.

In industry a new meaning for the acronym FIFO was introduced – Fit In or …. leave.  For a denomination that was founded to allow for differences of opinion this is not an option, yet I see many who are hurt by the current emphasis.

I am sure that God can sort things out – but how long, O Lord?

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