We all have relationships with people. However there are some people that are naturally very focused on the dynamics between people. These people are what I call natural relators. I love natural relators. Most people do. If you are not a natural relator, like me, then many of your close friends will be.
There are various different aspects of relationships that people might focus on. These aspects include people’s emotions, conflict, potential and progress, the effects of change, belonging, authenticity, and uniqueness.
There are a number of positives that come from being very aware of these dynamics. The first is that natural relators are often very good at reading people. They will often know if somebody is not having a good day or if there is an undercurrent of conflict. When they learn to effectively manage this and respond in healthy ways they will really impact people’s lives.
The second is that they often understand conflict. When they feel are empowered (through training and / or given authority) they will sort out conflict in a positive way.
I recently went to the funeral of my mum’s cousin. This man was a CEO, he ran companies. He was very well liked. At the funeral people commented about how he knew all the workers on the factory floor. He not only knew their names, but their wives names, their children names and the difficulties they were facing in their lives. It was said by a number of people that the company wasn’t seen as a company but as a family. This is the way a natural relator leads. A natural relator turns groups into teams and teams into families.
Within a church or ministry context relationships are extremely important. One biblical description of the church is a family. We are all brothers and sisters. It is the natural relators that help turn this ideal into a practical reality.
If you are a natural relator there are some things of church you should be aware. The first is how do you react to people who aren’t happy? Do you take responsibility to do something about it? If so, how do you react if you can’t do something about it? Do you assume that you are the cause of the unhappiness – particularly with your partner or other close friends? Do you need to know that you aren’t the cause of the unhappiness? If so, then ask the person!
The second big issue is assuming that others are as focused on relationship dynamics as you are. Do you assume that others know how you are feeling if you are having a bad day? Or do you assume others are as aware of conflict as you are? When we assume other people have our talents it gets us into trouble and we put expectations on other people that they won’t meet.