In my leadership journey, I have experienced the challenge and the joy of working alongside amazing world changers who bring different leadership styles to the table.
I have noticed there are two camps of those who are leading established organizations,launching new startups, or leading their own personal ministries. In one camp are the ‘managing leaders’, and in the other are the ‘leading leaders’. In other words, some leaders manage the status quo and problem solve, and other leaders lead into the future and look for new opportunities to transform the organization and the sphere of influence. Both kinds of leaders are desirable, both are needed. Responsibility to stakeholders and accountability are the strength of managing leaders and looking for new opportunities to leverage the organization’s interest are the strength of the leading leaders. Both are necessary in the matrix of the organization’s infrastructure. Even when the infrastructure is me, myself and I – I need to be aware that I need to both manage and lead for a healthy outcome.
My natural leadership style is the ‘leading leader’ – evidenced by being excited about what could be, and not as interested in protecting the current reality, and constantly thinking, ‘if anything was possible, what could it be?’
This is my wheelhouse, my hub, my natural wiring. It has also caused the greatest opportunity for my character and spiritual transformation, as the numbers don’t support this kind of leadership. 80% of all leaders are ‘problem solvers’ – those that manage the real and hard operations and thrive in that space. Only 15% of us are change leaders – always leading forward – and only 5% are opportunity seizers – just grabbing the moment and jumping in.
I have wrestled with being wired in a way that is not necessarily supported by the greater demographic of those who believe leadership is more valuable when it is consistent, and risk-managed. As a woman who leans in more to taking risk than managing it, needless to say, there is a lot of pushback! And feedback, and often, loving criticism.
So my response needs to stand in the confidence of my call. I am continuing to offer my greatest strengths to those I serve, and managing my weaknesses, being aware of them but not spending so much time trying to lead from outside my gifts, that I lose my true self.
My biggest encouragement to other leaders – especially younger women who are desiring to step into the leadership ring – is to know yourself, bring your best self…and understand that however you are naturally wired, there is a unique place for you that only you can fill.
We need to fill the leadership gap with those that are constantly checking current reality and making strategic decisions to stay or go. We also need to fill the leadership gap with those that are designed to make bold and brave decisions – sometimes going out on a limb for future generations.
I’ve learned that staying in my lane, and being true to the way I lead, has come through being challenged – experiencing discouragement and disillusionment – but not losing heart; resilience is at the heart of what is transforming my character.
If I truly love others and am more concerned about humble service to them, I will free them and empower them to offer their best leadership style to the bigger vision, as well. I will promise to offer them the best of my God-given natural leadership style and to do it with confidence. It’s just the way I lead. So if you want to find me, I will probably be out there trying something new for the ministry I serve and the God I serve. It’s just the way I lead.
Cathie’s work and ministry as a leadership development trainer, consultant and coach – has led her to work in global non-profit organizations such as World Vision and Compassion, serve in corporate boardrooms, and travel across Canada and as far as Africa and Australia doing the work she loves. Her mission statement is to help clarify purpose and vision for individuals, teams and organizations.
Cathie is committed to raising the profile and presence of Canadian Christian women coast to coast. As the Co-Founder of Gather Women, she knows that the Canadian landscape has the potential to be transformed by women who are connected and championed within a culture of support. She believes that cultivating the soil in this nation and gathering, developing and equipping Canadian Christian women will nurture a collective voice; a presence that can radically impact our churches, our communities and our culture.