Why Valuing People Is Important In Leadership
Healthy leadership decisions (particularly those involving other individuals) often generates positive interpersonal outcomes for the leader who made that decision. Such a result is not inappropriate unless the motivation for the decision was solely for the benefit of the individual making the decision – such as in the case of Laura Beth Jones (in the book Reviewing Leadership) who desired others to achieve so that she could achieve more. In that case you are using people. Interestingly, people may even let you use them so long as they are also receiving a benefit. You may think then that such an exchange is appropriate since all parties have agreed. But as a leader, more is expected from you (and you should expect more from yourself). In this scenario, you hold all the balance of power, and can decide that when the relationship is no longer useful to terminate it (which may even include terminating the employee).
Increasingly, transactional relationships must not be present in Christian organizations, because we must realize that the answer to the question of “who do we do our tasks and our roles for?” is the Lord. Therefore, transactional relationships, though they look appealing steal glory away from the Lord and attract it to ourselves.
Furthermore, leaders do not just influence, they inspire, and they do so not only because they realize that it may be good for business, but rather because they understand that it is humans who have great worth to God and growing people honors the individual while bringing glory to God. Through Jesus many interactions with people we notice that Jesus made people’s lives better because he believed that the people themselves had value. When we buy into the notion of transactional relationships, we devalue people by subtly buying them off to perform better, and seek to elevate ourselves in the process. Whether you are a faith based person or not, you should be able to see how sleazy that is. If you are a faith based person, you should realize that your goal is to elevate the kingdom of God. Our concern for our achievement through their means has been elevated higher than leading in a way that brings glory to God. We see that Jesus brought glory to God in his life and death because Jesus courageously denied transactional relationships and pursued intrinsic value of people. Jesus had nothing to gain from positioning himself with the woman caught in adultery while everyone stood around waiting to stone her (John 7:53-8:11). Jesus’ lack of strategic positioning led Jesus to his death, but it also resulted in an impact far beyond his earthly life.
Another reason that transactional relationship must not be present in a leader is that it actually stunts the growth of the team, individual and yourself, ‘If you nurture others but allow [cause or even desire] them to become dependent on you then you’re really hurting them, not helping them’ (italics mine). Jesus rather courageously denied transactional relationships and pursued the intrinsic value of people. Enlow & Kouzes reveal in The Leadership Challenge that organizations and individuals can achieve greatness without employing transactional relationships.