Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Me, in "On" mode

I read an interesting blog post by "Every Square Inch" this morning called, "Leaders Are Always On".  It expresses so well the take home point one of my young leaders is learning.  Leaders are watched more carefully than others.

As this young woman is learning, leaders are accountable for even the appearance of their actions.  People are watching.  We often think in terms of what we did, what we said, and what we really meant versus what someone else thinks they heard.  How often do we think in terms of how things appeared to others? 

Appearances can deceiving.  My medical charts describe me as  a "pleasant, middle-aged woman"; and generally speaking, I am.  Two recent comments shed a different light on the subject though.  "When I met you, I  thought you were really intimidating.  Then I got to know you and found out you're just straightforward and I like it."  My young leader framed the same concept a different way.  "Well, most people think you mean 'my way or the highway' when you say something, but I know better than they do.  I know you mean, 'this is what I think' and I can tell you what I think too and you'll  listen and we will talk about it."  

Yes, appearance can be deceiving.  I am both pleasant and straightforward and not particularly intimidating to those who really know me.  But I spend most of my time with those who don't really know me.  This is an interesting paradox if I'm to follow the command to be "edifying all those who hear".  Finding the balance point between caring too much about others' opinions and "no appearance of evil" is a challenge.

ESI's point is well taken; leaders are always "on" since people are always watching.   Perhaps good questions to ask ourselves are, "in what ways am I leading and where are others watching?

P.S. - I'm very proud of my young leader!  She's learning this lesson more quickly than most adults.




23 comments:

Kacie said...

I love you!!!

Ted M. Gossard said...

I think I come across the same way at times until people know me. Or at least at times. But if people see grace in our lives, they can handle what we say. Must be full of grace though seasoned with salt.

Interesting at ESI. I concur to a point. But the best leaders are followers of Jesus who are not perfect, but whose lives are characterized by grace and humility. People see them as examples, not of perfection, but of following Jesus with all humility and grace, as well as with changed and growing lives.

Halfmom said...

Couple of things, Ted:

I don't think people should have to "handle what we say" when it is not said well because we either don't care enough or at unwilling to learn to communicate well with many kinds of people.

As to ESI and "concur to a point" suggests that you don't concur completely and I can't imagine, having just read the blog again what you might possibly take exception to.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Susan,
Of course I would never condone cross speech or words at anyone. I would consider that cause for grave concern.

Character does matter through and through, and part of that character is to acknowledge when we do trip up. When our spirit isn't right. People need to see that we're sensitive to any wrongs we may do.

Maybe I was reading into this, or surmising something I should not have, but I think the point I make is quite valid.

I know a pastor and professor whose sons knew they could never measure up to him, because they never saw him do any wrong. But only right. One son is still apart from the faith, last I heard. Better if he would have helped them understand how he is made of the same dust they are, and yet can walk with the Lord,or follow Christ.

The only point I'm making is that part of godly character in following Christ is a humility by grace which is quite sensitive to what might be wrong in one's spirit toward another, as well as in one's words or deeds. So that one will grieve over that before the Lord, and seek to overcome it.

I will go over to ESI's and take another look.

Halfmom said...

I think our spirit can be right but that our communication or leadership styles lack needed development - just because we don't realize how others are perceiving us.

Ted M. Gossard said...

I definitely agree with you, there. Good point well expressed. I do think if one has the right spirit and attitude they will surely be teachable for needed change.

Andrew said...

I feel like some of those quotes from your "young leader" could've come off of my tongue two years ago! Of course now I know that you're not intimidating, just confident in your convictions and willing to express them.

Halfmom said...

and you, my dear son, are getting a lot more tactful in your old age... "confident and willing" indeed :)

L.L. Barkat said...

It is hard to be always "on." Why do we expect this of our leaders? Is it something that comes with the job? Or something leaders encourage? Or just a skewed perspective?

Done. :)

donsands said...

That's a wake up call verse, Matt. 12:36.

here's another one.

"..on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus."

Some good thoughts, all around.

Jesus said to his disciples, "Fear not. For all hidden things will be revealed."

And we can be encouraged as well.

There are thoughts I have, that are bad.

Can you imagine if we could read each others minds?

And yet, our hearts our clean in Christ, (by His blood), and He is renewing our minds daily. Yet we still struggle with lust, pride, and self-righteousness.

Praise Jesus for the Cross.

It is very good to be able to live a life of integrity, and honesty. I thank our Lord I am able to be mostly honest, but i still have those bad thoughts at times, and I don't enjoy this struggle at all. I look very forward to the day when God makes all things new, and there is no more trying to impress, and playing the fool. And yet it is a virtue to hold our tongue as well.

"A fool gives full vent to his spirit,
but a wise man quietly holds it back." Proverbs 29:11

Halfmom said...

Umm, perhaps I didn't phrase it well, L.L.

I don't think leaders are expected to be "on" all the time. The being "on" is more a natural consequence of just being more visible as a leader. The point I was trying to make was that we need to know what it is that people see.

Halfmom said...

Thanks for the comment, Don.

I was thinking more of 1Thes5:22 and avoiding even the appearance of evil. Sometimes we have no evil intent at all, but that doesn't keep it from appearing to be that way. Those are the situations that I think we need to be more aware of.

donsands said...

"Abstain from every form of evil."

Good verse.

Need to grow and grow in doing this by faith.

Paul does go on to say, and pray, in the next 2 verses:

"Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it."

In one sense we are robed in the righteousness of our Lord, and in another sense we, by faith live righteous lives. And a lot of that righteousness is His grace helping me to ask for forgiveness, saying I'm sorry, and repenting.

Oh, how I long for to see our Savior and Lord, and the New Earth at times.

Maalie said...

He who would be a leader, let him be a bridge.

Halfmom said...

I like it, Maalie - who said it?

Ted M. Gossard said...

In rereading this, after looking at new comments, and then rereading ESI's post you refer to, I think you and ESI were were essentially talking about two different matters, with a bit of overlap. ESI seems to be emphasizing character in leadership, and you seem to be emphasizing appearance in leadership.

Unfortunately perception becomes reality, so that how we come across is indeed important. Paul talks about them coming across to the people they were reaching for Christ like fathers and mothers, and even coming across to the converts as children, as I recall.

So your point is valid. How we appear must be taken into account, and therefore we need to be open to how others perceive us even when it's a misunderstanding. And then we surely ought to make necessary changes so as to avoid such misunderstanding. Or work to that end.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Sleepy blog. Wake up! :)

Halfmom said...

not asleep - just busy

Litl-Luther said...

Good thoughts here.

When I've given off an appearance of evil always seems to be from a keyboard. I do much better in person.

I miss you folks!

Halfmom said...

Miss you too, brother. I'm afraid there's been little time for writing when there has been the motivation to do so. Perhaps the Holy Spirit will move me to write again as we begin to close down the summer and move in to fall. Sadly, the things I've been learning the past few months have been far too painful and personal to publish.

Maalie said...

> Perhaps the Holy Spirit will move me to write again

Why can't you just decide for yourself to do these things? You do have a free will, you know...

Halfmom said...

Certainly I can decide - I can decide whether to obey or not :)

Every Square Inch said...

Susan - thx for picking up my post and expanding the discussion so well as you always seem to do. I've been slowing down my blogging and it appears you have as well. I'll check in to see what you'll post next... whenever that may be. :-)