63 min
By: ENC Leaders

Episode 24: Tensions: Respect and Familiarity

Inspired by Adam Mabry’s book STOP TAKING SIDES, Christian leadership also holds a lot of tensions. There are situations where we don’t need to take one side over the other, instead we want both sides to be present as we lead our team. In this podcast, we have invited two of our campus missionaries to help us ask some of the questions that we may also have as leaders. Let’s talk about the tension of building respect and familiarity in our team.

Play on:

2:05 For the first tension, we will talk about the tension of building respect and familiarity with your team. On one hand you have respect where they (your team) look up to you, they think you’re good and worthy of following. On the other hand familiarity where they like you, they can feel close to you, they feel like they can approach you, and they can feel that you are not different from them. And both of these things can sometimes be in tension. Respect is good but too much respect can sometimes create a gap between us and the people we are leading. In the same way, familiarity is good but it can undermine respect. As the saying goes, familiarity breeds contempt. 

3:54 The point is we want to build the right relationship with our team. But this is a tension. It’s neither here nor there. And we have that tendency to build on one side over the other. The downside, now that we have the strength to build respect or familiarity, happens in our insecurity, fear, anxiety, in our desire for control, when we lean too much on one rather than balancing it out with the other. 

7:25 Instead, we want a mix of both respect and familiarity. Respect, where they (your team) trust you, they follow you, they defer to your decision making. And also we would want familiarity where they can be honest with you, they’ll be open, they will be open to challenge you, and they will be able to build deeply with you as well. We want both. 

8:10 How do we know if we are going too far? One, with respect, it is no longer healthy when there is already a power distance. With familiarity, when there is disrespect and there’s no professionalism. 

17:45 Jello: One of the foundations of a team is vulnerability, to build a high level of trust. How vulnerable is vulnerable enough that you are still able to maintain that level of respect among your team?

19:15 Ptr. Joe: In leadership, we should not take vulnerability as a technique… Vulnerability is good but it’s not the ultimate thing, and that’s not the goal either. I think the goal is to be less of yourself and to show love to your team… Vulnerability can be damaging when it’s being motivated by the wrong things…

22:04 “Humility is not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less,” – C.S. Lewis

31:57 Ptr. Joe: One of my biggest joys in what I’ve gotten to do are the people that I’ve worked with, and I hope every leader feels that way. I hope every leader feels “Really, I get to work with these kinds of people?” It’s priceless… “A leader is only as good as his team”… 

38:51 Ptr. Joe: When it comes to correction, I learned this from Stephen Mansfield… when you correct someone, schedule something like a social event and meet or call the person minutes before or however long it’s gonna need to take and use that time to give the correction… you send a signal to the person or the team, and let the person know that it’s over and move on…

41:52 Kriscel: It would also be nice to talk about things like “How to correct, for those who are non-confrontational?”… Also, “How to work with people who have personality differences?”… 

43:44 Ptr. Joe: Sometimes as Christian leaders, there’s that false burden that we want our team to be our “barkada” or our group of friends. I’ve had teams that have done that, and I’ve had teams that haven’t done that. And I’m not rushing to get them there. However, I want the team to accomplish its goal which is that all members are fruitful and fulfilling whatever our objective is… Back to your question Kriscel, if I find that we have a different personality, it’s fine, I don’t need to hang out with you all the time… But a different personality, a different skill set, is priceless in a team because you need people like that. 

46:38 Jello: How does a leader gain respect without sounding imposing, entitled, or authoritarian?

48:08 Ptr. Joe: First of all, we have to fix the motive. Very often the demand for respect is not because of love but because of insecurity, or that we are triggered by something… And it’s never good and it undermines the goal that we have.

5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 9 Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name,… (Philippians 2:5-9 ESV)

This is a great pattern for gaining respect and influence in the Biblical sense… It’s not even to gain respect and influence but to continue the service to other people…

How to gain respect? Serve your team.

You can check out the previous podcast about excellence

56:49 Jello: Secure leaders, inevitably make other people (teammates) secure also. 

59:01 Kriscel: I like that “To not be vulnerable just for the sake of vulnerability”… I think what helped me was thinking how I can build people up. What kind of leaders do I want to raise in the future? What helps me as a leader is to know that God has already affirmed no matter what the mistakes I’ve made, no matter where I swing in the pendulum, the Holy Spirit will speak to us  to remind us if we are going too far or if we are already becoming too familiar… Us having that sense of humility before God… 

Processing Questions:

  1. As a leader, where do you tend to lean more–building respect or having familiarity among your team members?
  2. What are some of the things that hinder you in managing this tension? How do you plan to hold both of this tension in your team?

This podcast is hosted by Joseph Bonifacio. In this episode, he is joined by Jello de los Reyes from Every Nation Campus Imus and Kriscel Wee from Every Nation Campus Malate.

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