First Lesson in Leadership: Treating People Well
Mark L. Lastimoso, MA Religion
Ordained SDA Minister
Glendale Filipino Adventist Church
Presently enrolled for the Spring quarter 2014
Graduate Certificate of Christian Studies
Fuller Theological Seminary
Mdiv equivalency for- In house DMin Program of Andrews University
Cohort: Preaching summer 2015
One of the classes I enrolled in Fuller Theological Seminary during 2014 spring quarter is GM 522: Leadership in Context. My professor mentioned that his primary job is to model leadership by “listening.” Early on I am being engaged and impressed that leadership is actually a relationship based on treating people well. In a nutshell my first lesson in leadership is how, as a pastor, can I treat people well.
Lee G. Bolman and Terrence E. Deal share this idea, “that a good workplace is serious about treating everyone well” It is noteworthy that the authors did not use the word ‘equal’ but rather use the word ‘well’. ‘Equal’ or ‘same’ can generate discussion while ‘well’ or ‘good’ is easily understood. This idea of “treating everyone well”, as reframed in the context of secular business organization, is good for the wellbeing of the workers and workplace productivity. Treating people well is not a scheme but a time developed management skill and attitude that can be learned. A group of people who work together in harmony and cohesively are generally more effective and efficient. Although people differ, disagree and are diverse in talents, ideas and culture, their creativeness are enhanced when they are treated well. This idea is very powerful when applied by leaders due to the fact that kindness is more effective than coercion, courtesy than autocracy, and integrity than intimidation. Having the right people, who work for an organization, tends to response more positively to leaders who are perceived as concerned, caring and compassionate. Thus, the idea of “treating everyone well” must be taken seriously and imbedded in any good organization.
Why is “treating people well” so important? There are three reasons, I think, the idea is significant. First, how we treat others shows who we really are (intrapersonal). Second, practicing goodwill is generally regarded as best business practice and people like experiencing goodwill (interpersonal). Finally, it boost morale and enhance cooperation (relationships) among people.
Jim Collins explains that top notched “level 5” leaders builds enduring greatness because they know how to relate with other people using their personal humility and professional will to achieve their goals. Leaders who treat people best can inspire and drive people to achieve great. In essence, a leaders’ heart is filled with cells of human kindness. Truly, many great and legendary leaders possessed goodness in their hearts. Which I believe can be learned, cultivated, and assimilated into my own daily practice.
Jesus, the model of true leadership, treated His disciples well. In fact, Ellen G. White succinctly describes Jesus’ treatment of His disciples this way, “The Saviour [sic] loved them all.” Such was the ministry and life of Christ on earth. Christ pioneered this concept of treating people well long before scholars understood and wrote about it.
As I reflect on my first lesson in leadership it came to bear in my mind that I need to do something differently in order for me to be more effective in pastoral ministry. So I decided to 1) Each day I will write in my journal to treat my wife better than before in my words, actions, and commitment. 2) To compliment people honestly never to flatter but to appreciate the good in what they have done and discuss things that can be improved. 3) Smile often 4) Maintain appropriate eye contact when someone speaks. 5) Listen more and bit the tongue when tempted to speak more than necessary. 6) I will not cut someone in conversation. 7)I will practice courtesy by allowing others to be themselves and still accept them. 8) I will put my feet in someone else’s shoes 9) I will not assume things but rather listen to people’s needs. 10) I will do to understand the humility, as taught in the Scriptures, struggle against pride, fear and walk the walk and not just talk the talk. These processes take a serious commitment and prayerful thought, so help me, Lord, I get it.