Qualities of Thermostat Leader


Business team listening to his leader with emphasis on a problem

Business team listens to suggestions for solving a problem.

Last week we talked about the difference between a thermostat and thermometer. A thermometer merely reflects the temperature while a thermostat can both read the temperature and adjust it. The concepts of how they work can be used to describe the way some leaders lead. Effective leaders would be thermostat leaders who can read and set the temperature of the organization rather than thermometer leaders who only read the environment but do not change it.

This week, let us look at the qualities that a leader should have to be a thermostat leader.

Thermostat or Thermometer?

7066671707_0f3d5bc628_zGrowing up in the Caribbean I was used to only two types of weather patterns: rainy season and dry season. Where I grew up the average annual temperature was 80 degrees. In the Caribbean, we only paid attention to the thermometer, which served to tell us the temperature at any given time.

I don’t think I even heard about or knew what a thermostat was until I came to the Unite States in the mid-1980s. For most people in the Caribbean, we only need to know what the temperature is so we can dress appropriately. We had no use for a thermostat because few of us had air-conditioning–and certainly no heating–in our homes.

Creating a Healthy Culture

3064198102_1663ce275f_zLast week we looked at the major role organizational culture plays in the success of the organization. We might have the best vision, mission, and strategy, but if we don’t have a healthy culture, we will struggle and eventually not succeed as the leader of the organization, be it a business or a church.

If the culture in your current organization is unhealthy, or only somewhat healthy, I want to suggest some steps to take that would lead to a healthy organizational culture.

Organizational Success Depends on Culture

The OfficeThe behavior of the people working in an organization is a reflection of the organization’s culture. Whether an organization is functioning in a healthy or unhealthy manner fundamentally comes down to its culture. By definition, organizational culture is what people in the organization believe and how they behave base on those beliefs.

Organizational culture is a system of shared assumptions, values, and beliefs, which governs how people behave in organizations. These shared values have a strong influence on the people in the organization and dictate how they dress, act, and perform their jobs. (John McLaughlin)

‘Leadership is Influence’

3609033866_2d01b4470c_z“Leadership is influence, nothing more, nothing less.” 

— John Maxwell, leadership coach, speaker and best-selling author.

The debate has been going on for decades—what is the difference between being a manager and a leader?

Google, “What is the difference between a leader and a manager?” and in 0.78 seconds you will have about 30.6 million results. Needless to say we cannot begin to tackle such a huge topic here.

However, I would like to challenge you to consider the basic difference between the two and see where you find yourself.

Motivating Your Volunteers

9559463171_fdf561e57f_zMotivating volunteers to participate in the ministries of an organization remains a challenge for leaders. As a leader you know that without the work of volunteers, you are unlikely to succeed in ministry.

Jesus had no paid associates to help Him start the work of the church, yet He had loyal followers who were willing to die to support His ministry. And some did.

How do you motivate volunteers to support you in ministry?

Your Authority is for Building Up Those You Lead

9009238669_b3ffa17651_zThe authority that comes with your leadership can be used either for building up or tearing down.

Paul was in major conflict with the church in Corinth, but he did not leave because of the conflict, rather he continually reminded the Corinthian church that his leadership among them was always about helping them.

The Corinthians challenged Paul’s authority, and he had the most amazing response for them. He pointed out that he used the authority given to him by the Lord to build them up not to tear them down. (2 Cor. 10:8)

I think this is still an important lesson and reminder for leaders today.

Time Not Valued Will Not Be Well Managed

4291413264_137620e540_oLeaders hear a lot about time management. Just about every leadership book, magazine, podcast or blog has something to say about it. The general advice seems to be that the leader must develop ways of proper time management or else they will struggle to succeed.

While time management is necessary for leaders to keep them from getting burned out or constantly living under the stress of not having enough time to get everything done, I want to suggest that more important is to understand the value of time.

Leaders struggle with time management because they lack a clear understanding of the value of time.

Confrontation . . . . It’s Necessary!

umpireAt some point you have had or will have a tough conversation. Whether with a friend, a neighbor, a colleague, or a family member, confrontation is never easy.

Because you dislike confrontation, and because it is so difficult, you often do anything to avoid confronting others.

These conversations usually occur because you care about the person, you have been hurt, or you do not want someone else to get hurt.

Whatever the reason, confronting another person is never easy when you care.

The reason you fear such conversations just may be because you lack the tools for having healthy confrontation.