Nurturing Relationships That Ground and Sustain Us

The Character Ladder. Here the authors start putting together this leadership ladder. They do so by looking closer at the work place. They deconstruct the capacity ladder by looking at the fact that people were created to have their needs met. God meets their needs through other’s influence. Ultimately though, people need help to deal with their problems. People were not created to live isolated lives, but rather in community with others.

As humans, people were created to share in each other’s lives. In this territory, experiences can be good or bad. The character ladder best includes community. People grow when their leader climbs this ladder. However, it is possible to include the capacity within the framework of the character ladder. To incorporate the two there must be community. An atmosphere of teamwork must be created.

Within the structure of community, people must feel accepted. In order to feel accepted, the leader must create a place for people to use their gifts and talents to find fulfillment. Acceptance cannot be given and received conditionally though. When people are affirmed, there is an excitement that creates commitment. This all happens under the values of honesty and truth.

There is a real concern here chapter 4. My concern is not with the information, but with the application. I fear that many who read this chapter will not change. There is life within this chapter. It is my prayer that the Christian workplace could apply these truths.

It has been my experience working in the church that many have forgotten what it feels like to be loved and affirmed in the use of their gifts. Too often many have been condemned because they have served God and others simply by using what God gave them.

I have learned to use my gifts in my relationships.


Thrall, Bill, McNicol, Bruce and Ken McElrath. The Ascent of a Leader: How Ordinary Relationships Develop Extraordinary Character and Influence. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1999.


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