Lead with Strength or Security?
Yellowbox Creative

Creativity fosters better leadership, problem solving and promotes teamwork.

The rich text element allows you to create and format headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, images, and video all in one place instead of having to add and format them individually. Just double-click and easily create content.

The Journal

A rich text element can be used with static or dynamic content. For static content, just drop it into any page and begin editing. For dynamic content, add a rich text field to any collection and then connect a rich text element to that field in the settings panel. Voila!

How to customize formatting for each rich text

Headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, figures, images, and figure captions can all be styled after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.

Our short-term memory can’t handle everything that you throw at it. Writing things down keeps you from losing ideas forever.

The content of this article is featured in an episode of the Yellowbox Creative Podcast, currently available through the following outlets:

iTunes, Spotify, Google Play, Stitcher, Buzzsprout

The following is an edited transcript of the podcast.

Trés: hey guys, welcome to the Yellowbox podcast. We are on our second part of our current series on “How to Create an Attractive Culture.” Last week we talked about this topic and said it's going to be a lot. So we wanted to split it up into two parts.

I also wanted to say that this topic is almost impossible to talk about because it’s individually based. It takes a while to build and attractive culture and to find out what works for you.

Last week. we talked about how culture contributes to being creative. We went over a few steps and pillars that, we think, are going to help expand your organization. These pillars are: to welcome questions, to not be offended easily, to be quick to forgive and to champion diversity.

Those things, we think, are obviously core to this. This week, we wanted to address the side of this that has to do with leadership. So Kevin, tell us a little bit about what it's like to create a culture and keeping leadership in mind and how that really stems.

Kevin: Yeah, absolutely. Whether you're a leader in your organization, your church, or maybe you're leading up in your own way by helping lead the charge in something—how we lead is going to determine what we create. This is one of the things we like to say: how the organization leadership is structured, how healthy that culture is—even how you lead to help build that culture—is going to determine what you create and how you develop culture. And so creating culture starts with leadership. So you have to decide how you want to lead.From our experiences, we recognize two primary leadership styles that have the potential to influence culture. Heads up— One is bad and one is good.

Trés: Let's try to guess which one.

Kevin: So the first one is leading with strength. Leadership position by strength dictates the culture around it. Anyone wanting to be a part must submit to the culture at hand.That's option one. A lead with strength.

The second option is to lead from security (or a leadership position built on security and calling in confidence) creates a fertile ground for diverse team members of varying strengths to join and flourish. And it's hard to identify right off the top because you're looking at and you're like, “Well, we're supposed to be leading this strength. Strengths sounds good. Strength is good.”

I've been in those cultures though. I've been in positions where the culture around me was dictated by strength and the leadership was using strength to get what they needed done. And a lot of us have experienced that. We just didn't realize it. I remember one organization that I worked at four years ago. I had no reason to fear for my job, but there was this spirit of fear that sat over the entire operation because everybody chose to lead from strength. And, when you lead from strength, one of the side effects is that fear sets in. iIf you have to strong-arm on somebody into submission, if you have to use your strength to bring some and bring production to pass then the side effect of that is fear.

And so fear was very prevalent in this organization. I remember I had a little badge because I was geeky, you know, I was in IT or something. And I had to put my little badge up to the door and the scanner would turn green and I would sigh, “Oh, good.” I was afraid that, someday, I wouldn't have a job. I had no reason rationally for this: I had no disciplinary issues, I had all this favor, I was going somewhere, and I was getting promoted. I had no reason rationally to fear for my job. But I remember when, this season I was scanning it and it would turn green and I'd sigh “I have a job.” And I would walk in the door. And then, one day, I was at the café downstairs taking a break. And when I'm uncomfortable about something, I just crack jokes about it. So I cracked a joke. I was like “Hey, I'm good man. My badge turned green today, so give me that coffee.” You know? And some other people standing about, they're like, “Wait, you do that too? You scan your badge and you celebrate too?” Then I was like, wait a minute. Yeah, this is deeper. This is deeper. This is something bigger than just me. It was in that moment that I fully sensed what kind of culture I was in. And, if you still haven't figured it out, the best option of those two is to lead from security. And we want to talk a little bit about what that looks like.

Trés: That's a good point. I think having strength is a redeemable and important quality of leadership. However, there is this element of unhealthiness when you're in that job and—like you just said, have plenty of favor but are still fearful—it's obvious to me that that strength doesn't have a face. That's why there's so much uncertainty because you don't know where that strength is. It's almost outside of the people. It's almost outside how good you do. It's just based on what needs to get done that day, that strength really is just misused. And it creates a really backwards model.

Kevin: Yeah. And the intentionality is for productivity, right? But there's that backwards mindset about who people are and what they are that we talked about last week. We talked about that quote from Christine Caine that people are not disposable objects we use to fulfill our vision. They're there to fulfill God's vision. And so if we see people in the right light, we're going to create cultures that, you know, establish and honor and position them correctly. So if you're still trying to figure out which one of these two options is the better option, obviously leading from security. Leading with strength leads to culture is built on fear inadvertently. You're not going out saying, “Hey, I'm going to scare people into submission. I'm going to scare people into productivity.” But that's the downside of that. Only leading with strength is like a closed circle that encases everyone to conform to unhealthy standards. So if I'm bringing somebody into my team, I am forcing them to submit and adapt to the culture that is there. Why? Because I'm scared that—if I let them too far in without them adapting to me—they're going to change what I have. And so, because you have that fear, you also implement things like micromanagement and all these backwards layers of protection. if you're leading from security, you still have this circle that you're welcoming people into, but that circle grows larger because you're secure in who you are.

So you can welcome someone in. You're not going to welcome someone who you already fear is going to destroy your culture. You've already established a trust with them and you're trusting the God in them. You're trusting their relationship with God. You're trusting that they are called to help you expand this thing and make it better— which means that— the culture may shift over time. That culture may grow and expand and become better because you've welcomed and championed diversity. There's this angle of a culture led from security that totally changes the dynamic of what you can do. You're no longer afraid of change. You're no longer afraid of someone with a different idea. it doesn't challenge you because your entire system, mindset, and leadership position is not built around protection. It's built around: ”I am fully secure and confident in who I am and I know that this person isn't challenging my authority but trying to make the process better.” And everybody wins when that happens.

Trés: Yeah, I like that. There's this idea we've mentioned this before that pushing people doesn't necessarily mean pushing them into your direction; rather, it means pushing them and calling them to something higher. And that's kind of that leadership model that's a little bit more secure because you're saying, “hey, stay here with me, feel secure in this area, but know that like we're pushing each other to a better and higher place.”

Kevin: And we've seen that. At Yellowbox, we protect our culture by putting our own cultural pillars into practice. This means we're not going to shut down every new idea. This means that our culture will evolve over time, but as guided by welcoming questions, not being easily offended, being quick to forgive and championing diversity.

And so what we talked about last week, and this week, is really going to go hand-in-hand if you're going to build an attractive culture. Because, at the end of the day, we've seen this work for us and—like Trés was saying—you might need to adapt it on some level to find out what this looks like for you. It may take time to evolve it but this is a foundational piece of how we lead our team, and how we've helped other churches implement this into their creative culture so that their teams can: flourish, thrive, grow, expand, attract and retain people who are gonna go the distance.

Trés: Kevin, why do you think that that is kind of the default for churches? I feel like we walk into these workshops and, very often, the model that we walk into is a vertical hierarchy. And I'm curious if you think that this model is common because that's just been the norm for so long and just hasn't changed? Or do you think that they're structuring these creative teams, like other teams in their church, and it's just not working?

Kevin: I actually think it's institutional. I think that culture is normal for non-profits. If you sets up a nonprofit , it's similar to how you would set up a board for a corporation, right? You're going to stack it with people who fill these roles. You have the CEO, you have the CFO, and so on. Not that there's anything wrong with those roles, but corporate America is very much a pyramid. It's the shape of that organization is from the top down. But the shape of the Kingdom of God, when it comes to how we should lead, it's actually a circle. if you look at that, a good example in New Testament you have is Paul, who was a Christian killer, chasing down people because of his religious zeal.

This is what he believed his god was telling him to do. And he was fulfilling all of his laws and trying to do all these things. And so Christians were a threat. And then, you know, lo and behold, we know the story. Jesus gets a hold of him on the road and he goes blind and then, in one moment he regained his physical sight. But I believe that when the scales fell from his eyes, he also saw the world through a different lens. And so he saw, for the first time, he fully the New Covenant that Jesus brought. Yeah. And with that came a new form of leadership; with that came a new form of accountability; with that came a new structure to build something that's bigger than ourselves. When God, through Paul, talked about us being the parts of the body of Christ, he never said head because there is already a head. Jesus is the head of His church. God's placing us around and as a part of the church. And I think if we could see ourselves that way—instead of trying instead to try to put ourselves at the head of something that already has a head—in our structures, you can lead from security.

Trés: Yeah, that's a great point. That's something that Kevin and I go back-and-forth on, and talk about all the time, because we're constantly trying to make our organization better. We both agree that this roundtable style of leadership is going to be the most successful in an organization. It is difficult. It is more difficult than just one person making a decision. However we're both in agreement with this. Correct me if I'm wrong: it doesn't mean that you have to bring every single issue to the circle, and let it spin around while people put forth their preferences, until it's exhausted entire day's of work.

This means that these big, core issues are wielded and equipped by everybody and —if there ever is a quick snap decision that has to get made—the lead pastor should make that decision. If someone disagree with it, then their role is to respectfully and honorably communicate, in a timely manner, their disagreement gracefully. That can look like saying: “I know there had to be a quick decision made. I respect you for making it. It was one that I wouldn't have made. I would have made this one but I'm here supporting you through this no matter what.” And that's because you've already roundtable every single other decision. So you're all in this together already. I think that that is definitely what we try to represent here. At Yellowbox, this is what we've tried to implement and at all these other churches and organizations.

Kevin: Yeah, I think it's just that: it's a discussion, you know? And so—going back to what I was saying about Paul because I never really finished that thought—Paul had the scales fall from his eyes. He saw the world differently. The example I'm about to present shows the culture that the early church had was one that welcomed questions, and that wasn't insecure in who they were. You have Paul, who's the outsider —who had been literally killing Christians and now he has this extreme come to Jesus moment and he sees things differently—and he's a believer. He's technically an Apostle, right? And so he's doing the Lord's work and he comes to Jerusalem. And here you have Peter leading the Church of Jerusalem. Same Peter that walked on water, also the same Peter that denied Jesus three times. There's this dichotomy to this journey because Peter was a torn person in a sense. He's leading the Church of Jerusalem. He is, I mean, no one would doubt that: he walked with Jesus; he knew Jesus; he spoke with Jesus; he saw the miracles happen; and, he had been able to do miracles himself. He'd seen this stuff happen.

And so he's leading the Church of Jerusalem. And Paul comes in for some meetings and you know, they'd set up the Church cafe called Hebrews (Help us, Lord). The cafe was called Hebrews.

Paul walks in and he sees Peter eating with the Jews. And then when the gentiles come in to come sit down, Peter gets up—because there was this view that he would become ceremonially unclean according to his old life, his old walk, if he had sat with the gentiles. Paul didn't go and say to Peter, “Hey, I need to schedule a meeting with you and our HR director.Can we talk?” Paul just calls him out in front of everybody and chastises him in front of this whole group and says, “Hey, you're doing this wrong. You should not get up and ignore the gentiles because you're not going to become ceremonially unclean. We're not under that covenant anymore.” He's basically reminding Peter where he's at.

Now, if we just walked into someone's church and started going into their lead pastor, everybody would be like “Security!” You know what I'm saying?We'd be dragged out. And so hear me, I'm not saying that we start doing this. What I'm trying to paint a picture of is that the culture that the early church operated in was more of a roundtable and they weren't afraid of those things. They weren't afraid to ask questions. I'm not saying that you can adapt this overnight to your organization. I'm not saying that you just take it all and plug-and-play it. You got to figure out what parts of it can. But if you're really going to develop a creative culture, because I know we're speaking outside a little bit of our normal vein, but we're speaking about it because it leads back to this. If you want to develop a creative culture, this is the type of mindset you have to adapt. Because a roundtable wins when it comes to creativity. And I think it wins when it comes to leadership in general. Now this doesn't mean you break down your organizational structure at all. It means you adapt a mindset of “Ok, we're going to welcome these things in and it's not going to challenge us. We're not challenged because we know who we are. I know who I am. I know that I'm called to lead. I know that I have a vision and, I know that, I'm running and directing our organization.” But, I'm also not afraid of someone else's ideas or someone else saying, “Hey, that was a bad idea.” Well, okay, hold on. Yeah, you're right. Let's figure out a good idea. And I think that if we can do that, and I know pastors that do that too. And I think that it's an element that is biblically represented and does lead to creativity thriving in the local church.

Trés: Yeah. I feel like what we've really come to hear is that leadership is going to be difficult. It's going to be very individual to your church or to your ministry. And I really hope that you got to pull something from this that you're gonna be able to apply to your team. And so the question really ends with how will you lead ?Whether you're leading up as a team member or leading across as team leaders, how you lead will determine what you create and, hopefully, what you create as an attractive culture within your church and in your organization.

That was part two of “Building an Attractive Culture for Your Church.” We have some really incredible topics that we're going to tackle over the next month. Also heads up in the middle of August, we have, we'll be attending Team Church conference, which we're really excited to jump in and partner. We've been partnering with those guys for a few years now and we love the Team Church. We love their leadership style, coaching style, and what they do for the local church. And so, if you happen to be attending Team Church send us a DM or an email and we'd love to connect you while we're there. And then directly following that, we're going to be in an ARC Intensive One Day in San Diego. We'd love to meet up with you there too. So there's two different opportunities there for us to see you in person. If you're not from this Houston, Texas area, and we'd love to meet up with you, uh, also the podcasts, those weeks will be a little shorter. Um, but we have some really great stuff coming up. And, uh, Kevin, thank you for giving us your wisdom and this episode and leadership styles and building an attractive culture.

Kevin: Awesome. Well, thank you guys for less than we'll see you next week.

Trés: Peace.