The Heart of the Matter: Integrators

Bailey ButtersOrganizational Life

Honest Abe

Part three of a four-part series examining Deloitte’s Business Chemistry® and its implications for faith-based organizations.
David Lee Davis


They are the heartbeat of any organization. The first time I ever graced the door of a church one of them was there. Mr. Shatner’s giant smile and expansive heart only eclipsed his enormous hands. His purpose was to ensure every person felt as though they were the pinnacle of God’s creation. In my most recent church, her soft hair, soft-spoken voice, huge heart, and outstretched hand changed the atmosphere of the congregation. Ms. Katie transformed what was a rapidly growing corporate-feeling suburban mega-church into a loving family of people who developed a heart for the least and the lost. Every Sunday, she planted her sweet self at the front door for all three services. There were six doors into the main entrance of the church and people would line up at her door waiting to be greeted!

Mr. Shatner and Ms. Katie are what Kim Christfort and Susanne Vickberg identify as Integrators. They are empathetic, diplomatic, non-confrontational people who serve from the heart. They believe that every voice and every perspective matters and is essential to the success of the whole.

In their newly released book, Business Chemistry: Practical Magic for Crafting Powerful Work Relationships, Integrators are identified as people who are always helpful, are great listeners and students of human behavior. (For an introduction to the book click here.) Integrators are also highly intuitive, empathetic, and incredibly careful with their words. They have a sincere appreciation for traditions because they know that traditions begin as a way to honor people. Integrators believe that people matter.

Outgoing or extroverted Integrators are known as Teamer/Integrators and make great additions to personnel committees, finance committees, governing board and other work areas that require consensus and the assimilation of multiple perspectives. Wise leaders know how to include Integrators on teams and then use their empathy and intuitiveness to understand further what the team is feeling. As you think about your context, you may already be able to call to mind those people who make everyone feel valued. In nonprofit and business settings, Integrators provide energy, optimism, and bring the gift of connection. They have a natural ability to connect people to people, and more significantly, ideas to ideas in a way that creates synthesis and harmony.

Introverted Integrators or Dreamer/Integrators place less value on personal relationships and put more importance on the interior life. Like all Integrators, they don’t see the world in black and white; rather, they see it through shades of gray. Take note, however, that this ability to appreciate ambiguity combined with introversion makes the Dreamer/Integrator emotionally and ideologically elusive.

Additionally, Integrators are not driven by competition but by duty and impact. They forge deep relationships, trust easily, and are often emotionally vulnerable.


Success in congregational and nonprofit life is mostly dependent on the ability to manage relationships. Knowing how to engage and influence people on various levels and manage teams based on strengths provides an excellent vantage point from which to lead. As leaders, we tend to see all people through the lens of our understanding and, consequently, we treat people as if they were all the same. People are not the same. There is a delightful diversity among people and within people. Today’s leaders appreciate, cultivate, and leverage diversity. That is what makes Business Chemistry ideal for the nonprofit and faith-based world. It is a practical, memorable, and actionable way to flex your working style to get better results.

Integrators are not always fully accepted or understood. Their chameleon-like ability to adapt to ideas and opinions makes it hard for others to know where they stand. They wear their heart on their sleeve and expect others to be sensitive to their feelings. Most challenging, Integrators will often slow decisions to assimilate a multitude of perspectives. If you have ever heard the phrase, “there are too many cooks in the kitchen!” it’s likely that an Integrator invited them. Drivers especially find it difficult to work with Integrators. Drivers are goal focused, don’t take anything personally, appreciate concise short meetings, and don’t care how your dog is doing. (For more about Drivers click here!) For Integrators, the goal-oriented results-driven world of the Driver is nothing short of hell.

If you are a pastor or nonprofit leader, chances are you are a Driver or Pioneer, and as such, you’ll find your patience stretched to the maximum by Integrators. However, when it’s time to find committed members, volunteers, and worker-bees, you know in your heart of hearts that they won’t say no. They can’t say no; they are not wired that way. The Integrator is going to pitch in, roll up his or her sleeves, and believe that every task is a party waiting to happen.


Since Integrators are an integral part of the world we live in and their capacity to make connections, understand emotions, build consensus and set the moral/missional compass is essential to the nonprofit world, here are a few tips for working with and leveraging the strength of Integrators.

• Get to know them and their heart. Remember that with them it is relationships before results. Ask about their dog, their kids, their friends, or the new people they met this week.
• Schedule one to one time with them and leverage their perceptions about group dynamics, emotional landscape, and perspectives you might not have been able to see.
• Invite them to help you build consensus. If you’re making big decisions, the Integrators can work behind the scenes to reduce any potential conflict and resistance.
• Learn from their ability to listen. Watch how they pause, probe, and value others.


According to Vickberg and Christoff, Abraham Lincoln was one of America’s greatest Integrators. Typically, leaders, innovative entrepreneurs, and industry disruptors are Drivers or Pioneers, or a blend of the two. The America of Lincoln’s time was deeply divided. Our nation didn’t need a general, a philosopher, or a scientist; America needed a bridge builder, a connector, and an empathetic listener who could bring healing. Lincoln was that leader. Known for short speeches full of emotion and empathy, he was a consensus builder. Like all Integrators, he was driven by an internal moral compass and possessed a profound capacity to hear others. For Integrators, faithfulness to core principles always trumps success and greatness. “I am not bound to win, but I am bound to be true. I am not bound to succeed, but I am bound to live up to what light I have.” Or, “Do I not destroy my enemies when I make them my friends?” Only an Integrator can take this perspective. As you may know, Lincoln was the first president to pardon the White House Turkey! The empathy of an Integrator knows very few limits.

They are precious people whether they are a child in a family facing divorce, a leader in a church or organization going through difficult circumstances, or a nation depleted by years of division. Integrators are there to build bridges, maintain connections, and point the way to healing and grace.


Interested in knowing how to better relate to the people with whom you work? Or maybe you want to understand yourself better. Click here to take the Business Chemistry® self-test or to develop a profile for someone else. It’s free, but you’ll have to give an e-mail address.


If we at IGC can help with staff needs, staff retreats, or a staff development plan, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-800-482-1442 or visit

David Lee Davis, D.Min, CFRE is the Executive Director of the Intentional Growth Center. David holds degrees from Princeton Seminary, Emory University, and Houghton Wesleyan College.