Thursday, April 9, 2015

Just don't do it - benign neglect can be your friend

For many leaders there is the temptation to jump in and do what needs to be done when it appears to them that others are not going to take care of it. It is often a mistake and it trains people to passively allow the leader to do it for them. For a leader this is a non sustainable model because there will always be things that need to be done and often what we jump in and do takes us away from the most important things we do.

Benign neglect can be a friend. If certain things are not done and people notice it raises the question, "Who should do it?" If it should be done at all which is a good question. But when a leader defaults to doing it himself or herself they lost the opportunity to engage others in things they ought to be doing, not the leader. They also train people to expect that they will always take up the slack.

Pastors often fall into the trap of doing what others have not done. This is usually caused by anxiety over what people will think if something is not accomplished. But why should it fall to the pastor to plug the dike unless it is in their job description? If it is truly important then there should be a willingness on the part of the congregation to do it. Leaving it be raises the questions: Should we be doing this? Why do we do this? And, Who should do this? 

Sometimes your best action is no action.

Posted from Oakdale, MN

All of T.J. Addington's books including his latest, Deep Influence,  are available from the author for the lowest prices and a $2.00 per book discount on orders of ten or more.

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