The Promise of Relational Leadership.
Walter C. Wright.
Paternoster Press, 2004, 160 pp.
by Mr Song Cheng Hock.
is one of the most overworked catchwords among productivity, leadership,
management and even Christian circles. Despite its overuse it still retains its
lustre and alluring power. It is an irresistible word because it embodies a
concept that espouses renewal, empowerment and organisational perpetuity.
is one of those rare words that are whole-heartedly embraced by both the secular
and Christian worlds. Secular organisations see it as a dynamic way of procuring
results. Christians see it as an indispensable part of the discipling process,
where the mentoree could replicate his learning experience with another person.
It is the cycle of reproduction that makes it so appealing.
advantages of mentoring are well founded. No one can convincingly dispute that.
However, it can easily fall prey to its very own success. Far too often,
adherents tend to focus only on the projected end result rather than the human
interaction involved where actual honing takes place.
other words, too little attention is given to the critical relational element,
thereby suffocating the true essence of mentoring. Mentoring is not only about
techniques. Max de Pree, emphatically maintains that "mentoring is not
problem solving; it is growing together" (p. xiii) and that "it is a
process of becoming, not an unimpeded march to perfection" (p. xvi).
is no coincidence that Walter Wright prefaces his introduction with the heading
"Wisdom for the journey." Mentoring is a life-long learning
experience! When he talks about the journey, he is not alluding to the
proverbial sprints and marathon comparisons. That is too passé. What he
advocates is surprisingly simple, "Everyone walks his or her own pace"
which is "a fundamental assumption of the mentoring process (xxiii).
title of the book suggests that mentoring is "an intentional, exclusive,
intensive, voluntary relationship between two persons - a teaching/learning
connection between two persons in which both persons work to nurture the
relationship and contribute to the connection" (p. 56). The focal thrust of
Wright's thesis is, mentoring is not merely about an experienced mentor
directing the young inexperienced protégé but both enjoying the mutuality with
the mentoree taking more responsibility for learning. Here lies the difference
between Wright's concept of mentoring and other popular books. That is,
relationship and not techniques (though these may be important), is the real key
that unlocks the potential of mentoring. He
spends nine chapters examining issues that are closely linked to relationships,
covering character, encouragement, choice, growth, promise and others.
book is written in a conversational style for easy reading. Usually one would
associate such a writing style with popular self-help books that peddle
pseudo-psychology but not this book. The style is a deliberate ploy intended to
convey the warmth that shines forth from a relationship between the mentor and
the mentoree. Walter has skilfully woven in personal anecdotes both to support
his ideas and to illustrate the vibrant relationships he enjoys with his mentors
and mentorees. A significant mentor
whom he engages with is Max De Pree, a respected Christian leader, who writes
the "Forward" for the book. An
entire chapter is devoted on De Pree's life and the five themes that shaped his
leadership, life and mentoring. The
themes will be of great interest to the readers:
Mentors and teachers
A philosophy or theology of
The personal character and
integrity of the leader
Learning through mentoring others
Asking questions that define
themes shape much of Wright's thinking. The book is more than a theoretical
treatise that argues for relational mentoring. It is a collection of stories of
how lives have been blessed by the process of relational mentoring. It is these
stories that make the content and the cause it argues for compelling.
chapel on 27th July Dr. Satterthwaite spoke on Ecclesiastes 11:7-12:14, under
the title 'Remember your Creator'. His theme was that there are two sides to
this passage. On the one hand it speaks in poignant terms of the brevity of
life and of the need to recognize one's limitations (picking up the teaching
of earlier parts of the book): we need to live responsibly, in the fear of the
Lord, and in the knowledge that we will not live for ever. On the other hand,
the passage counsels us to seek happiness, to enjoy the many legitimate
pleasures which God has made available to us in this life, because in so doing
we bring God glory. We might sum up the passage in the words 'Fear God, but
live life to the full.' A few brief applications brought the talk to a close.
speaker on 10 August will be Ms Joan Teoh.
BGST Lunchtime Seminars
31 Tanjong Pagar Rd, 2nd floor
are welcome to attend.
5 Dr. Miriam Adeney:
Women Can Do in the Kingdom of God'
12 Dr. Quek Swee Hwa:
19 Mr. Song Cheng Hock:
26 Dr. Quek Swee Hwa:
A Blessed Birthday to ...
Joyce Wee 9/8
Teoh Cheng Ping 9/8
David Leong Wai Yin 10/8
Ong Teck Chye 10/8
Tan Lay Yim 10/8
Daisy Sim 11/8
Ong Hock Chye 11/8
Mr Benjamin Lee 14/8