Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Introverts in the church - pt. 7

Chapter 6 of Adam McHugh's Introverts in the Church is on "The Ability to Lead." This was an interesting chapter, though there were a few times I wasn't quite sure I had read things correctly and had to go back and reread.

At any rate, he starts off with this astounding little snippet from Peter Drucker on p. 113:
'Leadership personality,' 'leadership style' and 'leadership traits' do not exist. Among the most effective leaders I have encountered and worked with in a half century, some locked themselves into their office and others were ultragregarious... Some were quick and impulsive; others studied and studied again and took forever to come to a decision. Some were warm and instantly 'simpatico'; others remained aloof even after years of working closely with others, not only with outsiders like me but with the people with their own organization... The one and only personality trait the effective ones I have encountered have in common was something they did not have: they had little or no 'charisma' and little use either for the term or what it signifies.'

Wow. I thought that was a pretty wild thought, from a very well-respected leadership guru. I was also quite encouraged by it, because that means I am in good company. In fact, McHugh later quotes from Jim Collins' book 'Good to Great' that "Collins discovered that glitzy, dynamic, high-profile CEOs are actually a hindrance to the long-term success of their corporations."

He points out later (p. 122) that Drucker says, "Indeed, charisma becomes the undoing of leaders. It makes them inflexible, convinced of their own infallibility, unable to change. For that reason contemporary leadership discussions are elevating character over charisma."

McHugh addes on p. 123, "...the mark of godly leadership is not a magnetic personality; it is discipline, because discipline develops character."

He states on 126, "Leadership is not a status or a position to be attained, but it is a gift of God." He then goes on to name some high-profile church leaders who are introverts, such as: Eugene Peterson, Barbara Brown Taylor, Erwin McManus, Brian McLaren, Donald Miller, as well as people like Mother Teresa, Martin Luther King, Jr., and the great Jonathan Edwards.

I liked how Martin Luther King, Jr. described himself. On 130 it says, "He described himself as an 'ambivert' - half introvert and half extrovert, able to 'withdraw into himself for long, single minded concentration on his people's problems, and then to exert the force of personality and conviction that makes him a public leader."

I am not at all in MLK's league, but that somewhat describes me. It's not that I am a complete introvert - I actually test out somewhat high as an introvert AND extrovert (though higher as an introvert). That's why people who only see me on Sunday mornings, or speaking before an audience, tend to think I am more extroverted. But it is only after I spend a great deal of time in silent contemplation and study that I am able to be in front of people. However, without that chance to "let it out" it would make my silent times frustrating. So this makes a great deal of sense to me.

Peace out; and in.