John Maxwell says, “The true measure of leadership is influence; nothing more, nothing less.” Meet a leader who recently showed me seven clear, eye-opening leadership truths to strongly influence your culture and the success of your organization.
Ralph Enlow, Jr., President of the Association for Biblical Higher Education (ABHE) told me directly, “ABHE’s mission has always been to enhance the quality and credibility of our 200 post-secondary institutions of biblical higher education, whose 55,000 current students will be tomorrow’s Christian leaders. I realized, as an association, ABHE could not really flourish unless our 200-member Bible colleges – and their respective leaders – flourished.
“Prior to coming to ABHE, while at Columbia International University, I was convinced the BCWI Employee Engagement Survey and 360 Feedback evaluations offered great practical value. To build a flourishing organizational culture, our staff needed to lead by example. We did the survey to make sure we were walking the talk.
“Knowing the true measure of our workplace culture, we saw where we needed to improve, both organizationally and individually, to create a thriving, healthy culture.”
Ralph’s strategy centered on the seven-fold conceptual framework of leadership in his book, The Leader’s Palette: Seven Primary Colors. Which of these seven “primary colors” of leadership have you learned to “paint” with?
- Incarnational Leadership
“We influence people by who we are rather than what we tell them to do. To use an educational metaphor, the implicit curriculum of how we act always trumps the explicit curriculum of what we say we’re about. As leaders, therefore, we need to make sure our institutional culture and climate is aligned to what we’re saying and commending about leadership.
- Relational Leadership
Leaders lead through the dynamic of authentic relationships much more than issuing directives or implementing organizational schemes.
- Developmental Leadership
Leaders lead by helping your team members become all God has designed them to be, not merely to do all you want them to.
- Directional Leadership
Leaders lead by helping stakeholders clarify and coalesce around a coherent mission and a compelling vision, and by aligning people and processes toward that mission and vision.
- Ecological Leadership
Leaders lead by cultivating a culture and learning to observe the signals of climate, and thereby foster conditions that permit prospering and productivity.
- Situational Leadership
Leaders lead when there’s a strong fit between the leader and a situation; concurrently, the best leaders are the most adaptable leaders.
- Doxological Leadership
Leaders lead when they help people move toward God and more into step with God.
Ralph and his senior leadership have painted a beautiful example of how to lead. In 2016, ABHE is a Certified Best Christian Workplace with demonstrated inspirational leadership.
I asked Ralph to put an exclamation point on our conversation filled with a host of good insights on true Christian leadership. In true humility, he turned to one of his mentors, the apostle Peter, who delivered the best wisdom of all:
“Shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory” (1 Peter 5:2-5).