STO LEADERSHIP & Are You a Strategic, Tactical or Operational Leader? These Stories Will Help You Find Out.

by Bob Whitesel Ph.D., 7/11/15.

In a previous post (and in my book “Preparing for Change Reaction”) I explained that leaders usually fail because they don’t surround themselves with leaders whose gifts complement theirs.  There are three basic “meta-categories” of leaders: strategic leaders, tactical leaders and operational leaders (see this short 12 minute video for an introduction).  While almost everyone has a mixture, usually one dominants you.  Click here >> BOOK BW EXCERPT CR Change Reaction Chpt.2 STO Leaders ©Dr.Whitesel for a questionnaire (p. 12) to find your mix if you have not already done so.

Then read these stories of the missionaries below. They illustrate that missionaries too have a dominant leadership gift.  Here first is a story from Frances Chan’s book about Rachel.  Read her story and then tell us what kind of leader does she appear to be?

When she was 18 she traveled the world with a wealthy woman, who promised to make her her heiress if she would keep her company where ever she went, but she turned it down. Later she became a bible translator in South Africa, but developed a love of the language of the Waorani Indians in Ecuador.

The Waorani Indians were notorious for spearing to death any outsider who came close, they were not open at all. Rachel’s brother was actually killed by the Indians earlier. But Rachel felt compelled to bring the gospel to them.

Eventually she met a Waorani woman and gained her trust and was able to integrate safely into the tribe. She brought the gospel to the Indians and changed their culture from one of hatred and revenge to that of love and healing.

They trusted her so much they gave her the Waorani name of Nimu which means star.

Eventually she translated the New Testament into their language and  when she died they said of her, “she called us brothers, She told us how to believe. Now she is in heaven…God is building a house for all of us and that is where we will see Nimu again.” (Crazy Love, p. 154-155).

I’ve often noted that missionaries such as Rachel have a type of leadership that we often overlook in North America due to the more exciting leadership types.  So, let me ask a question of my readers.

What kind of leader does Rachel appear to be: strategic, tactical or operational?  I know she has a bit of all three, but what one primarily motivates her and would she do all the time if she could?

Next, here is a story about Dr. Donald McGavran and his early missionary work as a young man just starting out in the missionary vocation.  Read this description by Stephanie Folkringa (Wesley Sem. Student, March 2011), and tell us what kind of leader Donald McGavran appears to be?

PHOTO McGavran Youg & with a pick“When McGavran returned to India for the second time, he served as the executive secretary of mission, where he worked with 80 missions, 5 hospitals, high schools, and primary schools.  McGavran became the superintendent of a leprosy home and hospital.  He became an expert on the Hindi language and translated the Gospel into the Chattisgarhi dialect.”

So, what kind of leader do you think Dr. McGavran was primarily: strategic, tactical or operational?  I know, like Rachael, he was a bit of all three (as are we). But, from this description of this early ministry, what primarily style of leadership did Dr. McGavran appear to enjoy the most: strategic, tactical or operational?

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