Work Matters: Relationships First

 

Penguins

If given the choice, what would be your preference: working in an organization that puts tasks to be accomplished ahead of building quality relationships, or one that places the building of relationships as priority over the fulfillment of responsibilities?  It’s an easy question to answer for me: definitely the one that puts quality relationships over task fulfillment. I’ve been in both settings over the years and have seen both the stark contrast between the two and the benefits of a relationship first approach.

 

The contrast can be summarized in one word: culture. A workplace culture that places task over relationship treats individuals mechanistically, as employees who are hired to accomplish a given task or function. As s/he fulfills their stated job description, their contribution is combined with others on the team to complete the larger mission. Instead of a team, this person is a part of a work force or task group with defined outcomes and specified timetable. In addition, the culture of such an organization stresses achievement of goals as the most important measurement.

 

When a workplace culture stresses the development of quality relationships more than the task at hand, then individuals are cared for and cared about beyond the functional role they play on the team. And, it certainly is a place where team development and health is stressed, where each person matters greatly to the completion of the mission. When team members are listened to beyond their stated job responsibility and treated like human beings rather than human doings, then their allegiance to the various members of the team includes both their shared tasks as well as their community relationships.

 

Every leader has a fundamental choice to make in this regard: what will be our organization’s priority, task or relationship? Both task and relationship can and should be attended to, but the tipping of the scale one direction or another is what makes for greater health and strength, agility and creativity, achievement and sense of fulfilled accomplishment. What is your choice today, both as a member of and/or a leader of a team? Having just returned from a 3-day trip with my closest colleague and friend, I’m remembering first and foremost our informal times together when we shared our personal stories, laughed together during meals, prayed, encouraged, listened and spurred one another on toward greater love and service…the quality of our trusting friendship continues to significantly impact our faithfulness and effectiveness in service to others.

 

What is your choice today? Will task continually trump relationship or will building quality relationships come first?

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Steve Macchia

Founder & President

The Rev. Dr. Stephen A. Macchia is founder and president of Leadership Transformations, Inc. (LTI), a ministry serving the spiritual formation, discernment, and renewal of leaders and learners since 2003. For more than 20 years he has been the Director of the Pierce Center for Disciple-Building at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, where he also serves as an adjunct faculty member in the Doctor of Ministry Program. From 1989-2003 he was the president of Vision New England, the largest regional church renewal association in the country. Earlier in his ministry life, Steve was a member of the pastoral staff of Grace Chapel in Lexington, Massachusetts for 11 years. He is the author or co-author of 17 books, including The Discerning Life (Zondervan Reflective), and Crafting a Rule of Life, Becoming A Healthy Church (LTI), and Broken and Whole (IVP).  He and his wife Ruth live in the Boston (MA) area and are the proud parents of two married children and grandparents to three adorable grandchildren. Steve’s personal website is www.SteveMacchia.com.

My soul comes alive singing the great hymns of the church and enjoying the beauty of God’s creation. I’m in awe of God for fulfilling the dream for LTI that he birthed in my heart, for the team he has assembled, and the transformational impact experienced in the leaders and teams we serve.

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Mitzi Mak

Selah-West Faculty

Mitzi started her professional life as a high school social studies teacher. She and her husband Jerry then served cross-culturally for ten+ years, living abroad first in India and then Kurdistan, N. Iraq. In addition to being a Spiritual Director, she now serves as a Formation and Care pastor in her local church in Houston, TX. She has graduated from LTI’s Selah Spiritual Direction training as well as LTI’s Emmaus Formational Leadership Program.

Mitzi enjoys engaging conversation, reading fiction, doing jigsaw/crossword puzzles, ocean gazing and exploring the world with Jerry through food and travel.

God has two main callings in Mitzi’s life: to care for those who care for others and to be a guide in helping others have a healthy relationship with the Trinity – recognizing God’s loving presence and activity in their lives and how to faithfully respond.

Selah was a transformative experience for me – allowing the contemplative within to emerge and to beautifully co-exist with my extraverted personality.