“We are His creation—created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time so that we should walk in them.” –Ephesians 2:10
Our unique set of personality traits is God’s way of equipping us with a blend of resources according to the work He has designed us to do. Gaining knowledge of how we are shaped is the foundation to understanding what we do and why we do it. Since personality styles influence the way you lead, awareness of your style will help you, too.
1. “Know thyself.”
This was Socrates’ guiding rule and these two words are filled with great wisdom. Through understanding yourself, you better understand others. Even though we think we are objective, we are not. The way we lead flows out of our perceptions, preferences, role models, spiritual journeys, and how life experiences have conditioned us. An effective leader knows herself—the good, the bad, and the changeable.
2. Strategically shape your leadership style.
Some say leaders are born, not made. All personality styles have potential to successfully lead, especially if they are able to effectively leverage the strengths of the team. Even the leadership styles between individuals with the same personality traits will vary. Strategically shaping leadership styles comes from intentionally identifying and utilizing your personal strengths, being transparent, and enlisting others to support your weaknesses.
3. Lead out of your identity as God’s gal.
You are God’s gal—fearfully and wonderfully made. Embrace who you are because of Whose you are. God has created you as a unique individual for whom He has a customized plan. When that plan includes leadership, He has given you all you need for life, godliness, and leadership. Being an effective leader is more about embracing who you are than seeking to be a certain personality style. It is important to listen to His voice encouraging you during those lonely moments when who you are doesn’t seem to be enough. Good will never be “good enough.” It is not about being good but about being God’s gal, willing to embrace who you are while being sensitive to areas that need improvement. It is about having the courage needed to deal with challenging people and to make tough choices with a tender touch. Remaining focused on the Father enables you to lead without becoming egotistical with each success or discouraged and dismayed with each disappointing outcome.
Individually, we are one piece of the puzzle of life. Together, we are the picture of God’s love and grace serving the world. Understanding personalities is beneficial to building better relationships and to establishing more effective leadership teams.
Sheila West has been in women’s ministry for more than 25 years, serving as director of women’s ministry for more than 20 years in the local church. She’s currently on staff at Heritage Community Church, Fruitland Park, Fla., as director of spiritual growth and ministry mobilization and women’s ministry coordinator. Sheila is the founder of Real Living Ministries, a speaking, teaching, and leadership development ministry to women. The author of Beyond Chaos, Sheila is a contributor to Transformed Lives: Taking Women’s Ministry to the Next Level and a LifeWay Ministry Multiplier. She and her husband, John, are the parents of two and proud grandparents of seven. Follow her on Twitter @SheilaWestSez.