Interestingly enough after my post yesterday, I received a response back from my long-term accountability partner, Mark. I think he was a little put out that I suggested that he would simply agree with me if I asked him about my (possible) shortcomings. So, he took it upon himself to do some serious soul-searching (of mine) and offered up what he thought I was referring to yesterday. And, he was right. Well, I should point out that he first said pride was my problem, but he said that was too obvious and that wouldn’t have been what I was referring to.
What kind of guy says stuff like that? A good friend, that’s what. First, he’s paying attention. Second, he doesn’t hide from his obligation as a friend (accountability). Third, he confronted me. Now, I know and respect him, so I listen rather than argue or try justifying my action; but that wasn’t always the case. It probably won’t always be, either. For now, I am starting to listen. And, I’m starting to do something about it.
What was it that he said? I don’t really recall. I wasn’t paying much attention. No, he said in years past, it would have been my dominating leadership style. In that he was correct. I’ve done a lot of work on it, but it still causes me too many problems, not just in my occupation but in my personal life as well. It’s easy for me to plow over others when I am focusing on a goal. The goal gets accomplished, but sometimes there is collateral damage in the process. This is especially true with people who don’t speak the same emotional language as I do. Mark and I speak the same language, so we can be much more blunt with each other. Plus, we are both willing to “go there” and expose our sin to the light of Jesus. However, Mark is not like everyone else in my life. Some people are very sensitive to my style and can be easily hurt.
Is my style bad? I mean, honestly, I believe it serves me well in many situations. Plus, many people admire the way I can get things done. But, I have to admit, it has hurt people. When I look back, I can see that I have been careless. Heck, I’m still careless. So, my style is good in that it is a God-given trait. However, I can easily sin with it. In fact, my sin can be enormous! So, I must be very careful. Perhaps the best way to look at it is this: the more powerful my trait, the more damage I can do with it. I’m not going to hurt anyone with my painting skills because I have none. I AM going to hurt someone when I use my laser-focus determination to accomplish a goal. Sure, lots of people will benefit, but some will be hurt greatly. In fact, it may permanently destroy some relationships. Do I care enough about these to change the way I do things? Will my skill be diminished if I use it in different ways? In fact, could it be possible to be even more effective if I use it with compassion for others?
I think the answer to that last question is a definite yes. Therefore, I must be very attentive to what I do going forward. First, I probably need to make amends. Ok, I need to make amends. If you are one that I need to do this for, please tell me. I may not even know I have hurt your feelings. Next, I need to really examine my behavior and motives. I need to start by seeking God. That means repenting. That is never easy. In fact, it is gut-wrenching, but it is a process that cannot be skipped or done lightly nor can it be accomplished by simply saying I’m sorry. Actually, repentance would come before amends. Also, there is nothing wrong with asking the other person (people) for grace and accountability. Change won’t come easy and mistakes will be made. It will be much easier to make long-term changes if I am held accountable. So, if I am misusing my dominate trait, please tell me. It’s my behavior, but you aren’t held blameless. “Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.” (Proverbs 27:17). I need to know. This is a blind spot for me. I am insensitive to it.
So, there you have it. I have caused a lot of tears to be shed. I am not proud of that. As an employer or manager of people, I have to have hard conversations. As a member of a family, I have to have hard conversations. And, as a friend, likewise. I cannot avoid them. However, I can study and improve my methods. Of this overall skill set of mine, I may find that some tools are better to never be used. Others, I need to master. It all depends on who I am dealing with.
Colossians 4:6 Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.
Father, sweeping my side of the street stinks. But, I know it is for my own good and the good of all those around me. Forgive me. Change me. I ask you to do whatever it is that you see fit. Please be merciful to me. I don’t want to be that mule who needs a bit and bridle. I want to be guided by your staff, not your rod. Amen.
Copyright © 2018 Scott Powers