Fair warning: if you're intrigued by the idea that Turnaround pastors can be identified by a few unique personality components, you'll want to reference our previous post on this subject If not, it's probably best to save yourself from this House of Pain!
For our study of the unique characteristics of Turnaround pastors we settled on the Birkman Method as our measurement tool of choice. We find it ideally suited to our research objective: to identify the behaviors, needs and social skills that distinguish Turnaround pastors from Status Quo pastors.
The Birkman Method is a positive psychology assessment tool that identifies our research subjects' needs and interests, how they relate to their congregants, and indicates the environment that gives each Turnaround pastor the greatest satisfaction.
On top of that, the Birkman shows how our test subjects experience stress, identifies the causes of friction between them and their staffs, governing boards and church members.
With this kind of information, all pastors can learn how to be more effective in ministry, how to develop stronger staff and board relationships, and how to lead a congregation into significant qualitative and quantitative growth. Used wisely, this information also helps church boards increase retention in the pastoral staff, with positive results for all concerned.
In our research we have focused on two personality domains in our test subjects, both Turnaround pastors and Status Quo pastors: usual behaviors and needs.
Usual Behavior  describes how pastors relate in public and how they interact productively in the workplace. These are the behaviors that others see; they are the learned behaviors that pastors (and everyone else for that matter) employ to maintain productive and rewarding social relationships.
Needs , which are unique to the Birkman among all assessment tools, identify how pastors recharge and maintain emotional equilibrium in order to stay productive. When these needs are unmet for a period of time they become the source of stress. Pastors who are self-aware and adroit and self-management understand and cultivate these needs, thereby sustaining the ability to function at a high level for many years.
The previous post gave you a "teaser" - a short glimpse at how Turnaround pastors are distinguished from their Status Quo colleagues in the areas of usual behavior and needs.
Which is our cue to briefly describe the personality component mentioned in that previous post.
Esteem measures how diplomatically and respectfully you prefer to deal with others. Low scores identify candor or frankness; high scores point to cautious sensitivity.
Acceptance measures your desire and tolerance for larger groups and suggests how much alone time you need to recharge. You may show up as outgoing and gregarious in group settings but need to restore your energies by being alone.
Structure measures the need for a calm, orderly work environment. High scorers insist on following systems and procedures. They excel at putting plans in place and following through in a consistent and organized fashion.
Authority is about verbal dominance: speaking up, speaking out, arguing, liking to debate, being comfortable saying, "I told you to be here at 8: 00. Where are you?" This component identifies the degree to which the pastor likes to assert himself verbally. High authority pastors are typically described as more "in your face," because they are comfortable giving forceful orders and strong direction.
Advantage sheds light on a pastor's real reward motivation. It helps church boards understand what really motivates their pastor(s). It also signals the intensity of your competitive need to win in status, perks, competition, or compensation.
Activity measures the need for physical activity on the jobâ€” the degree to which you thrive on moving around. It is important in determining whether you can sit comfortably in a cubicle for a workdayâ€” or a whole career!â€” or whether you need some routine and regular physical activity to feel fulfilled.
Empathy is about how pastors are seen expressing feelings; it also helps their with an important social awareness task: knowing how others express theirs. It measures how we manage our emotion, how much we enjoy being emotionally expressive, and how our emotions either energize or drain us.
Thought touches on how we make important decisions. In many aspects of business and government work, the ability to make a decision quickly is highly prized. It is vital for functioning in a just-in-time economy and in times of crisis. But a low thought score could be problematic in church settings as it may signal the impulsive desire of the ready-fire-aim mentality.
Freedom is different from the typical measures in the Birkman assessment in that it offers a much broader perspective and addresses individuality. Where a pastor falls on the Freedom spectrum is a powerful clue to how she perceives others and herself. It is the strongest indicator of your idea of herself as an independent and unique person. Pastors with high freedom scores don't know, and don't really care, how other pastors do things. They see unique solutions to intractable problems, and they delight in the unexpected.
Change is a measure of the degree to which you enjoy the unexpected. Pastors with high scores prefer shifting and variable schedules. They like to multitask, and they are energized by moving rapidly from one focus to another. Those who report a lower Need for Change accomplish their goalsâ€” and even rechargeâ€”by being left to stay focused on one endeavor at a time. They prefer fewer distractions and get ruffled and fall into Stress by too many interruptions.
Challenge is a useful measure of how you see yourself in the context of society and how you sense others perceive you. You ask yourself, "Do I look successful to other people? Do I feel that I am more than or less than most people?"_The Need for Challenge addresses the degree to which we are able to present ourselves to those around us in a positive light_. Those with low challenge scores tend to be outwardly self-confident; they charm others with an easy self-assurance. Those with higher challenge scores tend to be more outwardly self-critical; they employ a more self-effacing, self-deprecating style when relating to others.
The Challenge score is perhaps the most outstanding in its distinctive ability to measure a fundamental perspective that has an impact on everything we do and say. It is the single important measurement that encompasses all of the relational insights of the Birkman. Most successful professionals who depend on their talent for communication and persuasion are low Challenge.
There's more - much more to come. Our research has uncovered some fascinating data about the distinctions between Turnaround pastors and Status Quo pastors. We're still crunching the numbers so it'll be a few more weeks before we can start with the Chinese water torture (drip drip drip), but we'll soon be ready to splash you!
- Fink, Sharon Birkman; Stephanie Capparell (2013â€“04â€“23). The Birkman Method: Your Personality at Work (Kindle Locations 1061â€“1062). Wiley. Kindle Edition. â†©
- Fink, Sharon Birkman; Stephanie Capparell (2013â€“04â€“23). The Birkman Method: Your Personality at Work (Kindle Locations 1065â€“1070). Wiley. Kindle Edition. â†©