During my early morning walks around the neighborhood this week, I couldn’t help but notice that each year the Halloween decorations the neighbors put out become just a bit more horrific: headless corpses, witches in trees, characters in “Scream” masks stabbing one another. All of this is accepted as “harmless fun.” However, place a nativity scene in your yard during the Christmas season and you’re ostracized as a “freak”! This is quite an interesting age we live in, isn’t it?
I worked on How to Lead by THE BOOK for six hours yesterday–very productive hours, interrupted only by an occasional bite to eat and a workout. I’m including an excerpt in today’s post about the importance of forcefully confronting followers for values violations; especially the leaders. So many top leaders and business owners falter here. They fear upsetting a highly placed individual within their company over values violations, choosing to allow the violators to devour their culture instead. You may recall that I will begin each chapter with a “Man’s Way” versus “God’s Way” comparison for handling an issue. Here’s a sneak peak at the chapter on confrontational feedback:
Man’s wisdom & way
“There’s really no middle ground with confrontational feedback. Either you’re a leadership wimp who avoids it altogether, or you step up and let people have it; and if they don’t like it and leave, good riddance! You really don’t need the hyper-sensitive types on your team anyway. After all, you’re running an organization for adults, not a daycare! Besides, Galatians 1 says that my job is to please God and not to worry about pleasing men. And what pleases God is that you’re truthful with people.”
Galatians 1:10 has been hijacked by mean-spirited leaders throughout the ages who value rules over relationships, and who look to justify their unloving manner of dealing with people. Here is what it says:
For do I now persuade men or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ.
God’s wisdom and way
Demonstrating love for others is what truly pleases God. Thus, we must confront, for to fail in this discipline is to evince apathy and indifference towards an individual’s welfare and potential. But we must confront in love, doing so for the right reasons and with just motives. We confront to improve the character or competence of an individual, to preserve our culture, and protect the organization’s future overall. Confronting with feedback does not mean that you do so primarily with the intent to punish, humiliate, expound your personal power, or in attempt to establish superiority over another.
When Jesus, Peter, Paul and others confronted individuals, they customized their approach to fit the person and the offense. Their harshest words were reserved for leaders of whom more was expected and to whom more had been given. They came down harder on heart failure—character shortfalls—than on production issues. Despite the importance in organizations to “hit the numbers”, we are wise to follow the Biblical examples to take an even tougher stance against those who violate values, embrace selfishness, create division, and place their personal welfare ahead of the team’s well being. These are cancers that must be neutralized or removed, lest they devour the entire entity.