One of the most difficult yet important opportunities to demonstrate leader love as Jesus did is when a team member doesn't do what is expected. A leader's character is tested in the fire of poor execution from a work team.
How do we love those who don't, can't or simply won't do things right? How did Jesus handle poor performance?
The time was at hand for Jesus. At Gethsemane He needed to pray and asked a few disciples to keep watch. When he finished, he found them sleeping instead. He said to Peter, "Simon, are you sleeping? Could you not keep watch one hour?" (Mark 14:37).
Many leaders have asked similar questions: "Didn't you know I needed this today?" "How many times do I have to explain this to you?" "When can I expect the report I needed yesterday?"
It's the not doing the simple things that causes leaders the greatest headaches. It's frustrating to see the same mistakes made daily. It's even more frustrating to see simple things missed or left undone. How did Jesus handle His followers when they could not even stay awake as He asked?
- He confronted them with questions: "Are you sleeping? Could you not keep watch one hour?" (Mark 14:37). A third set of questions is implied in Mark 14:40: "And they did not know what to answer Him."
- He repeated the instructions and confronted each failure with questions.
- He led them forward, saying, "Rise up, let us go" (Mark 14:42).
Sometimes the best response is to gather the team and take action together. Any leader could have simply moved on alone from Gethsemane. Jesus could have terminated the employment of His prayer team. He could have issued a stern lecture and received promises such as, "This won't ever happen again, boss."
Jesus's decision to simply gather His team and move on is inspiring. Jesus knew that His disciples had willing spirits; their hearts were good. Sadly their flesh won the battle in the garden. Effective leaders know that people have bad days.
The response of a leader to weak flesh should closely resemble the leadership of Jesus.
Confront. Question. Act.
Dr. Steve Greene is the publisher and executive vice president of the media group at Charisma Media and executive producer of the Charisma Podcast Network. His book, Love Leads: The Spiritual Connection Between Your Relationships and Productivity, released July 2017.
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