I hope you had a wonderful Easter. While not my favorite holiday by holiday standards (that’s Thanksgiving for me), it is my favorite event by life change standards. It is simple. God loved me enough to send His son to die for me. He knew all about me. He knew all the terrible things I would do and say. He knew how many times I would (and will) fail to love, fail to serve, fail to obey, fail to even try. He knew. And knowing all that, Jesus went to that cross and hung there in my place. I didn’t earn or deserve a friend like that, much less a savior, but He saved me. I hope Jesus is your savior too.
I read an article in Harvard Business Review called, The Most Common Type of Incompetent Leader. In this article Scott Gregory relates how the potentially most destructive leadership type is absentee leadership.
Absent leaders. Not physically absent, psychologically absent. These leaders aren’t destructive or constructive, they are just not really there. Because they don’t actually cause overt problems they are often ignored and/or left alone, but their negative influence and impact is just as real as a leader who abuses their power in overt ways.
I was an absent leader for much of my life. I avoided meaningful involvement with those I should have been serving. I remember telling people that they would know they were doing a good job if they didn’t see much of me. That’s just silly! If I am someone’s leader (servant) and they are doing well they should see a lot of me. If they are not doing well they should see even more of me. Without relationship, how would I even know how they were doing?
As leaders we have the privilege and responsibility to be engaged with our team and know them well. Within the boundaries of appropriateness, we should know how they are faring in life and what is consuming their mental and emotional energy. It is only in relationship that we can serve their needs by adjusting their environment to promote growth or allow healing. It is only in relationship that we will know if we are the problem.
Right, sometimes I am the problem. Sometimes the obstacle that needs to be removed to free someone to do great things is me. Without relationship this never gets said and rarely gets realized. Let’s be honest. WITH relationship it is still risky and difficult, but at least it is possible.
I am an imperfect person who makes mistakes and needs grace. I struggle with relationships. It takes effort and intentionality and if I get busy or tired or distracted, it is one of the first things I fail at. That doesn’t let me off the proverbial hook, and you shouldn’t either. You should require relationship from me and let me know when I am not holding up my end.
But then you have to be willing to do that and allow that with the people you are called to serve. This is difficult but very satisfying. It is the way we should live. It is the Kimray Way.