I have this problem. I am a walking contradiction. My personality type is INFJ (Introverted, Intuitive, Feeling, Judging). That means I am a control freak and an artist. I am incredibly systematic and yet, I lose my cell phone on a regular basis. I thrive on bringing order out of chaos, yet rely heavily on my intuition without concrete reason. And I have a love-hate relationship with deadlines. It makes me an unlikely, but I believe successful manager. At least for other people.
I used to manage a coffee shop. I was student body president. I always led groups in school. I now manage an architecture office. But leadership is hardly ever bestowed on me intentionally. It sneaks up on me. I never set out to take on responsibility as much as I see a need and meet it. Over and over and over again.
It is not always met with acknowledgment. My consistency is taken for granted. My get ‘er done attitude is sometimes seen as subversion or outright rebellion. And my calm surface mistaken for apathy or lack of control. My style is often misunderstood because I don’t talk. I listen. I don’t tell others what to do. I do it with them. And I don’t dominate, I support. I think it would be accurate to say I manage from the bottom up, the inside out. Finding a solution from within the circumstances that ebbs and flows with the circumstances and the individuals involved instead of imposing a rigid system from without.
I manage the way I create. When I paint, I don’t come to the canvas or the magazine clippings with something already established. I observe what I’m drawn to and follow the flow, pulling out from my subconscious what I dare not express normally, creating from the inside out. I manage situations in a similar fashion, observing the people and the issues, playing to people’s strengths and providing ways to grow in their weaknesses. Creating the structure from the people and the circumstances instead of requiring the people and circumstances to meet a predetermined structure from the inside out.
It flows from my belief that true growth comes from the inside out. No employee, employer, or circumstance comes perfectly packaged with a neat little bow. That’s where my personality comes into play. My judgment says that there is a right thing to do. My intuition says there is a right way to do the right thing. My conviction as a Christian drives me to figure out how to accomplish it. I do that by challenging and creating true change in the circumstances and individuals around me. To love people well is to challenge them to work and live lives that more closely reflect Christ, whether they know who He is or not. I manage because I love people, not because I’m a control freak. But that doesn’t mean I don’t love getting stuff done!