How Great Leaders Manage the Tension between People and Projects

Every single person reading this article has a natural tendency when it comes to the tension between people and projects. Some of us are “people oriented,” while others are more “project oriented.” You know which one you are and so does everyone else around you. But which one is more important, the people or the project? The answer is, “Yes.” The project is for the people and the people are for the project. God has given his Church (people) a clear mission (project).

The project is something that Jesus has given us to do that must get done, the project matters. There is too much at stake for us to shrink back from the project that Jesus has given His Church.

The people matter too, because we can’t do this project alone. How we love one another is connected to the project being accomplished in and through us. The Gospel isn’t just taking ground out there, but it’s taking ground in us as we work it out.

4 Ways Church Leaders Manage this Tension between People and Projects

The Selfish Leader The selfish leader is a disconnected leader, because they delegate so they can disappear. They’re not really all that interested in the people on their team or the project. They’re interested in themselves. As a result the team suffers and they never end up accomplishing anything great.

The Darkside of Leadership This leader is so passionate about getting stuff done that they have a tendency to accomplish the project at the expense of people. In fact they’ll even go so far as to use people as commodities. And because you can’t lead from a distance this behavior eventually leads to isolation and manipulation. Isolation because when you use people, you end up alone. Manipulation because that’s what you resort to, when you can’t lead.

The Campfire Leader This leader cares more about the people than the project. In fact they’ll actually go so far as to sacrifice the project on the altar of relationship. This person essentially says that it’s okay to lose as long as you’re losing with friends.

Meaningful Work Meaningful work is doing something that matters to God with people that matter to you. This is the sweet spot where the tension between people and projects is managed well. Where people are for the projects and the projects are for the people.

Posted in Leadership


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