June 13, 2023
As leaders, we are sometimes called upon to tell those around us they are in a bad place, and it will worsen if they do not change. This is a challenging position in which to be placed or forced, but it is an important role. As leaders, do we care enough about a person to help them return or just get started on the right track? Those of us who have kids exercise that responsibility frequently. We must love our family, co-workers, and strangers enough to give them guidance.
Some contacts will not take it well when we rebuke and guide them to a better role. That is their response and their responsibility. As John Quincy Adams famously said, “Duty is mine, results are Gods.” Our duty as leaders is to offer guidance and corrective action. How that message is received is the receiver’s responsibility. Proverbs 1:5 tells us that a wise man will hear the instruction or rebuke and increase his learning.
Unfortunately, some leaders neglect their duty to correct or rebuke. They are afraid of not being liked or not being considered the “cool” leader. Some leaders think it is more important to be culturally significant than competent. Leaders can never be afraid to do the right thing on behalf of their people and organization. God will bless that choice. Giving unwanted guidance, rebuking, and even firing those we are responsible for can be the best thing for all parties involved. People need to learn from their mistakes and grow,
When I interviewed a candidate for a leadership role, I would ask them all the same questions. After I got them comfortable in the interview and with me, I would ask them to tell me their greatest success to date and what it taught them. Then I would ask them to tell me their most significant failure and what that taught them. Everyone is ready for the success story because we have all been taught about success. But I was interested in what they learned more than the success or the failure. Could they articulate failure with as much understanding and passion? Could they express the lessons learned? It is humbling, but we all fail and do not all learn the same way. God uses cracked pots to carry His water. He uses people who have failed or not achieved the Western definition of success to be His instruments. That is the beauty of a loving God. He sees each of us for what we are and the strengths He has given us. He will refine us through our experiences.
If, as leaders, we shy away from corrective action, we are hurting those for whom we have a responsibility. More importantly, if we see a family member, a friend, or a colleague who is unsaved and continuing down the path of destruction and we do not tell them the truth of Jesus Christ, we have failed. They may reject the message or even us, but we are called by God to tell them the truth. Christ told us in Matthew that the harvest field is full, but the workers are too few (Matthew 9-37). If that same family member, friend, or colleague were going to drive into a catastrophic wreck, we would tell them. We would scream at them not to drive in that direction. Why would we neglect our duty to God and them now if their eternal life is at stake?
Truly, as a leader, we are expected to have difficult conversations. Those conversations are at a professional and personal level. As God told Joshua in Chapter 1, verse 9, “Be strong and very courageous.” You are saving a soul.