In all these years of working with people, the last fifteen in the life of corporate relationships, I can say that the best leadership has a quality of development of employees, rather than domination or control. Working with families, I can say that the best parents are developers, not controllers. Working with marriage and other relationships, I truly believe that the best possible husband, wife, or lover is interested in the development of the partner, not control or domination of that partner.
I admire anyone in a leadership position who exercises the skill and discipline it takes to “grow” a team of people into a cohesive, productive unit. When the leaders at Interface FLOR, Inc., introduced Strengths concepts into the culture, a spiral of expansion and growth became possible. I have enjoyed being a Strengths Coach in that model. My fellow coaches are each very different, unique, and one of a kind. The same is true for leaders, be they managers, parents, or spouses. Sometimes, leaders are counselors; sometimes they are teachers; sometimes they are like coaches of sports teams–encouraging, entertaining, acknowledging, and keeping the momentum going. Each one has placed his or her stamp on their style of coaching just as anyone who leads will do it best from authenticity of Self.
Above all, Strengths Coaching is about building relationships. Leadership is about relationships. Relationships that set the stage for the highest development of both coach and “coachee” are the best for any company. I was remembering recently my childhood training in Sunday School. We were taught by loving people and some were able to foster enthusiasm. Others were more into admonishment and control. My memory goes back to one teacher who laughed a lot. Mrs. Cornelius was jolly and welcoming. She could motivate her whole class of eight year olds to memorize verses from the Bible. I can hear them now, saying “God is Love” or other short verses. One of the boys in the class always quoted the shortest verse in the Bible, “Jesus wept.” That teacher never ever scolded or made fun of him. She had a way of accepting with a smile what he offered. He loved that class and was there every Sunday. Mrs. Cornelius held the field of hope for each of us, warmly welcoming and supporting our efforts. Her classes always had high attendance and lots of activity. Some frowned on it, saying seriously, “Those children are having too much fun.”
Fun? Is that a bad word? When I wanted my children to learn how to do laundry, Paul suggested that it could be fun. That was a foreign concept to me. My childhood didn’t allow that work could be fun. Work was serious. Today, I know that work can be the greatest fun of all. I observe that the teams who are most creative and most productive are also the teams that seem to have a lot of fun. High, positive energy is creative. Openness, conviviality, and friendliness are hallmarks of great teams. Leaders who foster these qualities are developmental. People grow into more of what they can be under open conditions.
I believe that individuals are Love-Energy. People are energy in motion. The best form of that energy is the energy of love. Love is the warm acceptance of people just as they are. Love is positive emotion. People are created in the Image and Likeness of God. God is Love.
To make this more personal, YOU are the energy of love. You are stardust. You are sunlight. You are a person, a Godling, to be unfolded, not some object to be molded, shaped, or pruned. You have a seed of potential which can be fostered, nurtured, encouraged, and released to become the highest and best version of who you really are, your essential Self, not created in our limited version of God, but brought into your individual spiral of growth through space-time to something higher, brighter, better, and more noble.
You deserve to have a Strengths Coach who will see you as a Possible Human and will be a developer of your best talents.
An attitude of development, not remediation, sets the stage for great leadership.