There is a way of looking at leadership holistically that is described by the word triperspectivalism. The word means a threefold way to perceive and look at something.
Triperspectivalism is something that we are increasingly discussing and using at Mars Hill Church in Seattle, my home church.
The three leadership aspects/roles are:
We are spinning off three functions exemplified in the leadership of Jesus…He was prophet, priest and king!
Let me briefly unpack the three leadership roles and what each means
- The Prophet is the forward-looking, goal-setting and communicating leader;
- The Priest is the care-giving pastor to people;
- The King is the systems leader, the operations person, the one who figures out how to get from point A to point B and develops ideas on how to make it happen.
I am primarily a King in the way I lead, with a touch of prophet. So I would be viewed as a King/Prophet. I am challenged in the priestly function; so I need to make sure, when forming a team, that I have a strong priest to keep an eye on how we are doing in caring and paying attention to the people as we travel toward the dream/vision Jesus has given.
Here are some thoughts on Triperspectivalism:
- When initiating a project, planting a church or launching any idea, it is advantageous to build a team with at least three people…a prophet, a priest and a king.
- The three leadership functions need to respect and appreciate what each brings to the table and to defer to one another.
- It is tempting for the prophet to want only prophets…the king, only kings…and the priest only priests on the core team, but all three are essential in honoring Jesus.
- If there is no prophet, the endeavor can keep circling the wagons with no new ideas or God-pleasing dreams and goals.
- If there is no king, ideas can be discussed but may never be implemented with solid follow-through.
- If there is no priest, ideas can be conceived and implemented with a good game plan, but people’s needs, capacity and emotional/physical condition may not adequately be taken into account.
- Every leader is primarily one of these with perhaps a strong second one.
If this brief introduction to leadership as seen through perspectivalism whets your appetite, I can send you two documents that will build on what I have shared here. Email firstname.lastname@example.org and I will send them along.