Lesson Six: Growing Beyond My Dysfunctional Forceful Personality


Whether you’re a forceful personality or you’re more of a people pleaser, we all have tendencies that lean towards dysfunction rather than health. If you’re going to promote Principle 13:35 within your church, you must do your part to practice healthier ways of relating, particularly when things go sideways with other members and leaders.

Each personality type can take steps to create a healthier church environment. In this lesson, we’ll focus on the forceful personality.

Forceful Personalities

No one enters the church with a full complement of skills for healthy relating. We must learn and practice them along the way. And that’s true for forceful personalities as much as anyone else.

Here are a few guidelines that can help forceful personalities from becoming dysfunctional.

1. Be humble.

Someone has said: If you want to travel fast, travel alone. But if you want to travel far, travel together. Together, we accomplish more. And to help your team to be more effective, you must be humble. Personal humility is one of the best ways to cement a team together in unity.

By the way, it’s not enough to be humble. Others must perceive you to be humble. How you treat them goes a long way in establishing your credibility as a humble person.

2. Invite feedback. 

Learning the art of securing valuable feedback takes a little practice. Here are a few tips when asking for feedback.

  • Avoid asking questions that invite a “yes” or “no” response.
  • Be specific.
  • Front load your question with “what” or “how.”
  • Ask for examples.

Here are a few examples to consider.

  • How did that go from your perspective? 
  • What do you think I might have done differently?
  • Can you explain what you mean?
  • How would you approach this matter yourself?
  • What would you have preferred?
  • Can you give me an example of how I could have handled that better?

Be gracious. Remember to thank your colleague for his or her input, even if you don’t agree with it. Tell them why you value feedback. Implement what you can.

3. Stay open.

This relates to inviting feedback but is much larger than that. Open leaders entertain ideas from others. They welcome new perspectives. They create an environment where people feel good about sharing ideas.

4. Express gratitude.

It’s an old cliché, but it’s true: People don’t care what you know until they know that you care. Make people feel valued. Tell them that you appreciate not just what they do but who they are.

5. Value relationships.

Principle 13:35 puts relationship above accomplishment. Doing good at the expense of showing love contradicts what the family of God is about.

Remember it’s a both-and not an either-or. In other words, our efforts should always aim to do good and show love, not just one or the other.

6. Be approachable.

People should feel comfortable in approaching you with their ideas, concerns, and complaints.

7. Discontinue defensiveness.

When people are hurt, it’s tempting to react with defensiveness. It’s easy to slip into the mode of making your defense rather than hearing their heart and apologizing for however you may have hurt them, even if that hurt was unintentional.

My relationship with you is important to me. I’m sorry for causing you pain. Let’s see if we can find a good way forward together from here.

Those three short statements will go further than any excuse or explanations that you might offer.

In our next lesson, we’ll explore four habits that can help people pleasers from being dysfunctional. Remember to complete the discussion questions and finish the rest of the lesson. 


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Forceful Personalities

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The Big Idea

Like everyone else, forceful personalities bring their own ineffective ways of relating into the church. When forceful personalities seek growth, they play an important part in creating a Principle 13:35 church.