Dr. Dan Reinhardt and CREST Leadership use profiles to guide midlife leaders
After eighteen years of pastoral leadership, Dr. Dan Reinhardt took a sabbatical to pursue a doctorate in ministry leadership. As he conducted his thesis research he discovered the absence of leadership training material for mid-life leaders. CREST Leadership is an outgrowth of Dan’s research. Launched in 2002, CREST targets midlife leaders, working to help them transition well to a productive, fruitful second half of their lives. The Leading From Your Strengths profile is a key part of the process.
Profiles Help Midlife Leaders to Transition Well
Midlife leaders, says Dan, follow one of three paths: frustration (marked by a midlife plateau or down-turn), floating (increased responsibilities but little sense of direction), or flourishing (a small number of leaders who find clarity at midlife and press on to have the best years of their lives.)
CREST Leadership’s life development model allows a small group of leaders to meet regularly over a two-year period, helping them find clarity for the second half of their professional years. Participants and their spouses complete the Leading From Your Strengths profile assessment early in the process. They are then able to apply the material to their marriages and often their leadership teams, receiving support from their small group along the way.
Such was the case with Gerry. Routinely, his wife peppered him with questions about his nonprofit, its new programs, and the decisions he made, making Barry feel discouraged and isolated. Now at midlife, he floundered. As Gerry and his wife talked through the results of the Leading From Your strengths profiles, they both had a ‘eureka!’ moment. While Gerry’s bold drive and pioneering spirit motivated him to press forward with his goals, his wife was realistic in her approach. She sought to validate facts before proceeding. He had seen his wife’s questions as pessimistic, when she was simply asking for details and gather information to figure out how to implement the work.
“She is not against my vision at all – in fact, she is for it!” Gerry exclaimed. He saw, at last, that he and his wife simply solved problems and processed information differently. God had placed them together to accomplish His work – for Gerry to see the vision and his wife to see the steps needed for the vision to be accomplished.
The profiles’ benefits for midlife leaders extend beyond their marriages to their teams. “We tell participants that they can complete the certified practitioner process themselves and lead their own staffs through the profile process,” says Dan. “Many of them do.”
Profiles Help Church Staffs to Transition Well
As church consultants, Dan and the CREST team work with staffs in transition, whether it is to hire a new senior pastor, navigate a crisis, build a board, or other ministry challenge. “The first thing we do when working with a new team is to have each member complete a profile,” says Dan.
The profile debriefing process builds appreciation for each other among the group, fundamentally improving the relationships between them no matter what its status was before. Dan places team members’ natural and adaptive strengths on the Strengths Wheel to show how they fit together as a team. Some teams discover that their strengths are well distributed. Others find that their members are overloaded in one strength area. In all cases, the information allows teams to work on finding ways to use their natural strengths more intentionally.
Dan has discovered the profile data is indispensable in setting an encouraging, affirming environment for teams in all situations, even tragedy. “The profiles create an atmosphere of trust,” says Dan. “From there you can build.” One team, grieving the loss of both its lead pastor and his wife under horrific circumstances, was able to process the strengths that remained among them. The positive tone allowed them to move forward with the search for the pastor’s replacement.
Midlife leaders and church teams are eager to find solutions, says Dan. They approach their 2-year commitment to CREST or their church consultation sessions with a desire to engage and learn. In addition, their standards are high, since by midlife they have attended many conferences and have heard hundreds of speakers. That is why once they discover the depth offered by the Leading From Your Strengths profiles, these leaders recognize the quality and power of the process. The perceived accuracy among CREST users is 80-90% or higher.
Most put their data into practice right away. “A majority of people do not navigate midlife well,” says Dan. “The profiles are indispensable in helping mid-lifers transition to their next phase of ministry – and flourish.”