Monday, November 26, 2012

Leading Up - Relational Equity

Leading Up: Finding Influence in the Church Beyond Role and Experience is officially releasing this week on December 1. I'll be sharing some of the concepts and tools from Leading Up each day, as well as some new material not found in the book.

Today's concept: relational equity

Photo credit: Gerhard Van der Leun, Creative Commons
Relationships matter. Everyone who works on church leadership teams recognizes this fact. We're designed for relational connections with other human beings, and everything we do as leaders is connected to the relationships we have with the people around us.

Picture all the relationships you have with the people in your organization--a business, a church, a family--and imagine them all as bank accounts. You can make all sorts of deposits or withdrawals based on the time and energy you have invested into the relationship. You can make deposits into this account through a variety of ways: quality time spent together, words of encouragement and affirmation, or acts of service and gifts. Each of these relationship accounts is both unique and interrelated; a deposit or withdrawal in one account may have an effect on another. This isn't about spending time with a person in order to get something from them, but simply a tool to evaluate one's relationships with fellow human beings.

While deposits always take a significant amount of time and patience to build an investment to a mature level, it only takes one misstep to bankrupt a relationship. A negative withdrawal is fairly obvious—any breaking of trust or intentional harm quickly causes relational rifts that require time and investment in order to regain what was lost. Deceive or manipulate someone intentionally, don't follow up on a commitment you made, or refuse to apologize for a mistake, and you're emptying your bank accounts.

Take a minute and list the specific leadership relationships you have at your church. How much relational equity have you deposited into each of these accounts? How much quality time have you spent with each particular person? Relationships are mysterious and constantly in flux, but you can make fairly accurate assessments on the depth and health of a particular relationship simply through evaluating how much you’ve personally deposited in the relational bank account.

What are some ways you've built relational equity with others in your church or organization? Share in the comments!

You can buy Leading Up at The Youth Cartel, Simply Youth Ministry, or

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