Connecting with Men Who Have Different Interests
Human nature is to be drawn to people who are similar to you. If you love sports – you will want to find people who like sports … if you love cars – you will want to find people who like cars … if you are a CEO – you will want to be around other CEO’s more than you want to be around employees.
So, how does a leader connect with men who have very different interests than our own interests?
This is a great question and one that needs to be considered. Having challenges with assisting and connecting with those who are different than you is very real for virtually everyone who is serving in a leadership role.
Here are some things to remember:
1. You will not be able to connect on a personal level with everyone
You need to take that pressure and burden off yourself. Not everyone you lead has to be your friend, and you don’t have to be their friend. It is OK to be different than others. The National Post reported the studies of a scientist who has proven that human beings can handle no more than 150 friendships at a given time – and only about 5 people in our closest inner circle.1 When you think about the number of connections you have in your family, work, neighborhood, and church – you can see how there is only so much space for connecting with people on a personal level.
2. The best leaders get to know enough about people that they know who people should be connected to
For example, you may know a man who has gone through healing after a divorce. Now, when you come across another man who is experiencing a divorce, you can connect the two men together. A leader does not have to connect with every person, but he does want to help every person be connected.
3. Examine the diversity of your leadership team
If all of the members of your leadership team share the same interests as you, that may not be a good thing because it means that there are many men in your church whose interests may not be represented on your leadership team or in the activities you are planning. What bonds your leadership team together should be the mission you are working towards – not necessarily the interests that you have in common. Seek to diversify the interests of your team.
Remember, you are here to serve the men – not for the men to fall in line with your interests. You need to get to know the interests of the men in your church and line them up with the things that are important to Jesus. If you are having a regular sports night, but no men around you like sports – then why are you doing it?
4. While you are here to serve the men, you still need to lead yourself
My friend, Steve Brown, has written an excellent book, Leading Me – I highly recommend it. While your ministry efforts are about leading the men, you also need to build into your own life the ability to connect with the things that energize you.
Don’t be discouraged by the differences you have with other men. Celebrate these differences and seek to have something that will help your ministry – not you – connect with every man.
1 Van Dyk, Spencer. “Humans only able to maintain five relationships in their inner-circle, 150 in their outer-circle: study.” National Post, https://nationalpost.com/news/world/humans-only-able-to-maintain-five-relationships-in-their-inner-circle-and-150-in-their-outer-circle-study-finds. Accessed 23 March 2021.
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