LEADERSHIP: NOT A POPULARITY CONTEST
There is an old fable called The Man, The Boy and The Donkey. In this story, a man and his son are taking their donkey to sell at a market. As they travel, they pass by groups of people who offer different points of view along with some criticism about the way they chose to travel.
First the man and boy walk next to the donkey. After some criticism from observers, the man lets the boy ride the donkey. Next, a crowd urges him to ride the donkey himself and let the boy walk. Later, he decided that he and the boy should ride the donkey. Eventually, they end up carrying the donkey upside down from a pole instead of choosing an option and sticking with it. The donkey ends up dying before they have a chance to sell it at the market and they end up not selling the donkey. The moral of the story is: Please all, and you will please none.
General Colin Powell said, "Trying to get everyone to like you is a sign of mediocrity: You’ll avoid the tough decisions, you’ll avoid confronting the people who need to be confronted, and you’ll avoid offering differential rewards based on differential performance because some people might get upset."
The Apostle Paul addressed this when opposers accused him of saying what people wanted to hear: "For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ." (Galatians 1:10)
Leadership is not a popularity contest. You have a responsibility to your leaders, and to those affected by the actions of those you lead. Hard decisions tend to polarize people. In the end, you know where they stand - for better or worse.
As we lead in our spheres of influence, may we work as unto the Lord, and not unto man.
LEADER PRAYER: Lord - it's natural for me to seek the approval of others, but it means nothing if I'm not first serving to please you. I ask for courage and strength to make difficult decisions and to base them on my values and the foundation of your Holy Word. Amen.