Accessible or Aloof

AloofReading Michael Hyatt’s blog early this morning I saw his recounting of a podcast by Andy Stanley, a well-known pastor in the Atlanta, GA metropolitan area. Andy Stanley is of the opinion that the greater or higher the level of leadership that a person reaches, the less accessible they must make themselves.

Andy Stanley is quoted as saying:

“The harsh reality of leadership is that the more successful we are, the less accessible we become. As things grow and as more people become involved, a leader can’t be equally accessible to all people. So then we are faced with the dilemma of who gets my time and who doesn’t, when do they get it, and how much of it do they get.”

l sort of equate that to the movie star who becomes famous by making movies.  And then they go on countless TV interviews to become even more famous.  And then they complain because they never have any privacy.  Does that sound familiar?

l would submit to you that the things that made a great leader great are the same things that will keep them great. And one of those things is accessibility and approach-ability.  Every person needs a certain amount of privacy and down time. And as followers we need to recognize and respect that.  But I don’t see a significant reason for someone to become markedly less accessible in order to become more effective.

Absence, or aloofness, doesn’t make the heart grow fonder. It makes the heart wander. And the opposite of accessible could be defined as aloof. And who thinks that is a leadership trait?

7 Replies to “Accessible or Aloof”

  1. Maybe we are reading the passage differently, but I can agree with aspects of what he said. If you are a leader of a 500 person company or congregation, you simply don’t have the ability to be as accessible to all people as you do for say a 30 person company/congregation. It’s not really a matter of “desire”, but logistics and time management. I agree a leader should have an open door policy, but once you get to a certain quantity of people, there should be certain escalation points put in with other leaders of an organization as well.

    1. If we use the excuse that we are too big to be able to touch everyone in the organization, then we are indeed too big. I am not speaking in a corporate sense. Clearly you cannot explore for oil and produce it for consumption with a bunch of 500 people companies. The process is way too capital intensive. But in a church setting? If “we” (and I am not referencing any particular church here!) are too big to be able to greet each other and know at least a little bit about each others lives, then maybe we are too big and that is not a good thing. Maybe we would better serve the people by being 2 or 3 smaller churches.

      Again, I did not necessarily mean this to be a universal statement or a statement about any particular church. I just don’t buy in to “bigger” is always better. And also, I remain convinced that the things that made you successful will keep you successful. That is, of course, counter to popular business trends today that would have us believe that change for the very sake of change is a good thing. I say – Nonsense!

      1. I’m not a big fan of “big” churches myself, but that is more of a personal comfort zone for me. I would love to take shots at a local mega church, but I keep meeting people who have been touched by that church, the people in it, the words spoken by their leader and yet have not personally spoken with Him. Jesus brought in disciples for a reason, to go out as leaders of His word……To be Him to others where he could not be physically present to greet everyone.

        Also, have you put in that service request to see all of a reply on here? It is going to give me OCD. =)

        1. Yes, I put in a trouble ticket. I have also asked for some help on the premium theme template that I purchased. I will update the group via email with any progress. In the mean time, be patient and let’s all take our medicine.

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