Re-learning the 2 Basic Styles of Leadership

Do you ever teach kids lessons that you don’t follow yourself? I have to admit that it’s true for me.

This past weekend, I finished leading a weekend long experience for high school youth called the Youth Leadership Institute. Basically, it is a weekend of leadership training and development. It is the highlight of my ministry year.

Through the weekend, we taught many skills and practices that will help these young potential leaders go back to their church or school and put the principles in place.

And I found myself teaching on things that I don’t always practice.

In one particular workshop, we spent time talking about the difference between being a task leader and a maintenance leader.

  • Task: The nuts and bolts leader. They focus on getting the job done.
  • Maintenance: The harmonizer of the team. They make sure everyone is doing alright and the group is happy with the task.

We teach the high school leaders that every leader tends to favor one or the other. We need to learn to recognize our tendency and work to be more balanced. Many times, it can be helpful to team up with someone who has a preference for the opposite of your tendency.

It’s really simple: We need to get the job done (task), but not at the expense of the team (maintenance).

It works the other way around, too: We need to build authentic and genuine relationships with our ministry team (maintenance), but not at the expense of getting the ministry done and actually serving those that we are called to serve (task).

As leaders in ministry, we recognize very quickly that relationships are the key to our success. At the same time, it can be easy to want to harmonize so much and make sure that no one’s feelings are hurt, that the task can suffer. This is usually why many of us tend to avoid conflict in ministry.

After spending a weekend with these young leaders, these skills are fresh in my mind. Yet, I know I don’t always live them out.

I tend to be more task oriented. Because of this, I know that I have sacrificed some cohesiveness on my teams by not focusing enough on the relationships. Although the projects and ministry are getting done, I am finding that sometimes it comes at a relational cost.

This past weekend, I was again reminded that I still have a lot of work to do in my ministry as a leader. Hopefully, what I teach youth leaders every year will eventually stick with me.

I’ll keep working on it!

Question: Do you tend to be a task or maintenance leader? How do you compensate for that in your leadership?

John Rinaldo

As the Business Manager at St. Catherine Catholic Church in Morgan Hill, CA, Dr. John Rinaldo serves as the administrator over operations and finances for the parish in support of all parish ministries. Previously, John served as the Director of Youth and Young Adult Ministry for the Diocese of San Jose, empowering parish communities to minister to the needs of youth and young adults. John is also an adjunct professor at Santa Clara University teaching pastoral ministry courses to graduate students.


John Rinaldo


As the Business Manager at St. Catherine Catholic Church in Morgan Hill, CA, Dr. John Rinaldo serves as the administrator over operations and finances for the parish in support of all parish ministries. Previously, John served as the Director of Youth and Young Adult Ministry for the Diocese of San Jose, empowering parish communities to minister to the needs of youth and young adults. John is also an adjunct professor at Santa Clara University teaching pastoral ministry courses to graduate students.



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