The best way to…

The best way to use power as a leader? Share it – give it to those you lead so they can do their jobs.

 – BG Allen

the misuse of power

pow·er

 noun, often attributive \ˈpa(-ə)r\

: the ability or right to control people or things

: political control of a country or area

: a person or organization that has a lot of control and influence over other people or organizations

– from Merriam-Webster online

Have you ever been on the receiving end of someone abusing or misusing their power? Not fun, right?

Have you ever misused your power? I have in the past and looking back on those times is painful as I caused others pain. Too often, the lust for power over others is something most of us deal with or have had to deal with in our lives. For some reason, we are drawn to the desire to control the lives of others. You see it from the bossy kid on the playground, the domineering college professor, the petty tyrant running a church committee, a department head who enjoys being “the boss”, and all the way to dictators or tyrants who abuse entire countries or even regions of the world. Why do we do that? Why do we do it to our family, friends, and coworkers? Most often it is a “heart” issue as discussed here by R. C. Sproul and most often rooted in deep seated pride.

Additionally, it is often fueled by organizational dynamics in our churches, businesses, institutions, and government. There is a competition for place and position that seems to feed this deep-seated issue. I was sharing with a couple of my friends over the weekend how disheartening this issue is and how it taints even the best of organizations. It can have a wearying effect on people.

Personally, I am now at the point of my life that place and position are not important – I just want to do something worthwhile that pleases and glorifies the Lord and helps others be a little bit better. Even so, at times I can see glimmers of it in my own life as I deal with the “natural man” and that reminds me just how far I have to go in learning to serve and to walk in humility.

If you do have power over others, use it wisely and for the benefit of others. Once you use it to satisfy your own desires, you are headed down the wrong path and people will be hurt – including you.

Think on the following passage of Scripture. Yes, it is aimed at the elders, but it applies, in my opinion, to anyone who has authority over anyone else.

“So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as a partaker in the glory that is going to be revealed: shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.” 1 Peter 5:1-4 English Standard Version

And here is one more passage of Scripture to consider:

“Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.”  Philippians 2:3-4 English Standard Version

You have a stewardship responsibility for those you lead – you are a shepherd, not a tyrant. Lead well. Be a shepherd.

Have a blessed week!

BG

 

 

“4 Principles for Using Your Leadership Power” – Randy Conley

It is a beautiful afternoon!Blue Skies - Lauren MAR 2014

I came across this article today on the Leading With Trust blog by Randy Conley of the Ken Blanchard Companies.

Excellent article about an issue that I have come to see as a pervasive issue within most organizations and distressingly so within churches and nonprofits – the misuse of leadership power.

Randy lists four principles that you need to be cognizant of if you are in any type of leadership position. I especially think that principle number four is vitally important to remember.

Listed below are the four principles. Please read Randy’s article as he unpacks them in a powerful way.

1. The best use of power is in service to others.

2. Followership is just as important, if not more so, than leadership.

3. The ego craves power.

4. Power is held in trust.

Don’t miss taking a look at his article – it is important from my point of view.

“Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.
Great men are almost always bad men.”
~ Lord Acton

Have a great afternoon!

BG

use and abuse of power

David and Goliath book coverGood Monday morning to you! Did you enjoy your extra hour of sleep?

Over the past weeks I have written a couple of posts on Malcolm Gladwell’s excellent book David and Goliath (click here and here to read the posts). In the first part of his book Mr. Gladwell makes some excellent points, but Part Three of the book on “The Limits of Power” is incredible and hit me like the proverbial ton of bricks.

He tells the story of Rosemary Lawlor who lived in Ireland during when the Troubles began in Northern Ireland in 1969. He tells the story of how the oppressive and excessive use of power by the British Army turned them from protectors to invaders and instead of quelling the violence, they only increased the resolve of the Catholic Irish to resist that mighty power. In one case, thousands of Irish women pushing prams faced down the British Army. (please note that this take on what happened in Ireland is fairly simplistic – this time in the history of Great Britain and Ireland was very complex with plenty of blame to share by all the parties of the conflict)

He tells the story of Wilma Derksen whose thirteen year old daughter was brutally murdered and contrasts her and her husband Cliff’s response to another man whose daughter was murdered. His name was Mike Reynold’s and he was obsessed with justice and was the driving force behind California’s three strikes law which proved ineffective and was a blunt instrument of power. Instead, Wilma and Cliff chose the power of forgiveness which was far more effective.

He tells the story of Andre Trocme a Huguenot pastor in the French town of Le Chambon-sur-lignon during World War II. In open defiance of the Vichy government Trocme and the townspeople sheltered and saved many Jews. They prevailed and it is a riveting story of courage and sacrifice.

In each case, the powerful misused their power and the weak prevailed. Sounds amazingly like God’s economy.

While these examples are of government misuse of power, I also want to point out the very personal misuse of power by us as leaders – especially those of us serving in ministry. Do we view the power entrusted to us as a sacred stewardship to be used for the benefit of those we lead? Do we put into place checks and balances to help us to avoid the abuse of power? Are we accountable to God and others?

Power, even the tiniest amount of power we might hold over others is to be treated with great, great care for we all have the tendency to begin thinking we somehow deserve that power and then begin to misuse it. If you have been entrusted with even a modicum of power walk carefully and fearfully before God.

He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? – Micah 6:8*

 Blessings on your week!
BG

* Crossway Bibles (2009-04-09). ESV Study Bible (Kindle Locations 223733-223740). Good News Publishers. Kindle Edition. 

Take Your Eyes Off Of Yourself

Running a little slow this Friday morning. I have been blessed in that I seldom get sick, but now have a spring cold. Can’t even remember the last time I had one.

This week, we have been talking some about Jeremie Kubicek’s book, Leadership Is Dead, How Influence Is Reviving It. He touches on many things that are so good, but today I wanted to talk a bit about relationships. At Ambassador Enterprises where I now serve, we have two key sayings:

First – “A Caring Community and A Team That Performs” – too many organizations simply want a team that performs which really is a task orientation. We have found that if you first have a caring community within your organization, you are much more likely to achieve the goal of having a team that performs.

Second – “Relational Effectiveness Drives Organizational Performance” – very similar to the above statement in that there have to be strong, healthy relationships among the members of your team for them to perform at the level of potential.

Mr. Kubicek says the following, “The best leaders are those who have simplified it down to relationships.” and “To be effective, respected, and a positive force for change, today’s leaders must overcome our cultural tendencies toward narcissism and self-centeredness.”

As a leader, your focus should be on others, not yourself. It’s not about me, it’s not about you, it’s about others, it’s about the mission. So, we need to learn to take our eyes off of ourselves and begin focusing on other people.

Have a great weekend!

BG