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Thursday, January 7, 2010

Beekeeper or Butterfly Farmer?

"We realize that the practical difficulties will always be great enough. We realize, too, that, theoretically, the question is exceedingly complicated. And we realize that we have a long way to go. But the direction in which we ought to work is, in our humble opinion, reasonably clear" ~Van Til

There is an inextricable link between organizational culture and success. Leaders construct the cultural frame for their followers to artistically design the team's masterpiece of achievement. Author of leadership, Warren Bennis, described the leader's role as those capable of leveraging "gifted people in ways that allow them both to achieve great things and to experience joy and personal transformation that such accomplishment brings." The sound of biblical servant leadership rings clearly through that statement. Our intent for our followers is to provide the environment for their development and flourishing framed and connected in the setting of the group (i.e division, department, watch team). Our people will be transformed and fulfilled best (in the secular work place) in dependent relationship with others. Change is a community project. We create the culture of community that distributes and enhances the common grace of God for the common unregenerate man to experience and enjoy. As leaders we are called to organize people providing the structure for them to realize the unencumbered essence of who they truly are (or could be) as they operate collaboratively with others that are likewise being transformed.


Two leadership styles are possible - metaphorically you can lead as a beekeeper or as a butterfly farmer. Beekeeper leaders attempt to contain the chaos of constantly busy people, "blowing smoke", guarded by nets and protection that separate them from their followers, while attempting to extract as much productivity out of them as possible. Butterfly farmer leadership is exemplified by those that provide the appropriate environment for their people to experience metamorphosis as they become beautiful and radiate their surroundings with the product that naturally results. Which type of leader are you? Which type of leader would you prefer to work for? Is your sphere of influence a farm or a hive? How can we foster a farm-like environment?

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