When Christian A. Schwarz, the founder and leader of Natural Church Development (NCD), wrote The 3 Colors of Your Spirituality, he chose to meet in mutually mentoring relationships with people he considered extreme examples of each of the nine spiritual styles he had identified on the Trinitarian Compass. He doesn’t recommend any of us attempt this, and I understand this better now having conducted five Empowerment Tests with five different groups in which I play a leadership – or influencing – role. It’s not conducting the Tests that I recommend against, but I caution against spreading one’s self too thin; providing leadership in five groups for a period of two years has taken more energy than I had for it, and I ended up not giving my best in any of the five groups, at least much of the time. At times I wasn’t fully present when I needed to be, and I became impatient, with myself and with others.
That said, however, I did find myself in a position where I could administer five Empowerment Tests with these five groups to gain a bigger picture of where I need to grow to become a more empowering leader. I have conducted the Empowerment Test six or seven times over the last decade since it was created, benefitting from the feedback I received, and the conversations about growing as a disciple that it engendered. Christian developed a four-session Empowerment Mutual Mentoring Process that I use with leaders, and from which I’ve benefited in countless ways.
So, what did I learn by taking five Tests at once? First, I was able to see how I lead and empower differently in different settings. Or perhaps, I am perceived differently in different settings, or in different roles. It isn’t realistic to think I could be seen the same way everywhere, but I do want to convey a consistent ‘me’ wherever I am. Second, I was able to see some questions that came up low in all five settings, even when the Minimum Factor wasn’t the same. In two settings, and more consistently with other times I’ve conducted the Empowerment Test, Experimentation (Advocate Bold Moves and Nurture Steady Progress) came out on top; yet in two situations it was sixth of six!
But when I compared all five Profiles and the consolidated Profile including feedback from all 25 people, I saw something quite startling when I saw the same four questions in all of them:
- Bill remains focused on the most important tasks even when challenges and distractions arise
- Bill always follows through and does what he says he’s going to do
- Bill has helped me overcome challenges in my life
- Bill appears humble to me.
I know some questions have to be lowest, but I’d like to see progress on these!
An added bonus was when Adam Johnstone at NCD International offered to create a Profile from the feedback of my Dream Team: he suggested I pick the people I’d most wish to have on a team and compare that Profile to the other six (five plus consolidated). I thought this was a bit like asking for the sky, but then he talked to me about how Jesus led the people who followed; He was quite comfortable inviting people to follow, then moving on from them if they didn’t. If you want to see Adam’s explanation of this principle of leadership and followership as modeled by Jesus, here’s an 11-minute YouTube of our conversation:
If you’re interested in taking the 3 Color Empowerment Test, or having your Leadership Team consider it, please be in touch or visit NCD Canada’s website (Test Tokens – Fordelm). It’s an inexpensive way to focus on your people as individuals and as a team, where they will benefit most in their development as an empowering leader. You can obtain Profiles for you and your team, and create Group Profiles by consolidating the Profiles of the group or Leadership Team.