Traditionally I have been a person who lets people’s poor choices and blunders really bother me. When a mistake is made or a behavior is inappropriate it would frustrate me to no end. I think a large part of that is motivated by a fear of how those actions would reflect upon me as a leader.
It occurred to me yesterday that I’ve been approaching this all wrong. Not to sound like a cynic, but mistakes and bad choices are inevitable; that’s the downside to working with human beings, all of whom – like me – are flawed. My job is not to prevent all mistakes and knuckleheadedness; my job is to create an environment in which people can safely learn from their mistakes, while at the same time recognizing the value of exercising good judgment. Sometimes those are hard lessons. I know in my journey I’ve had some deep valley moments. But if people really want to learn and want to grow and want to overcome, I want to be there to support them, just as others were there for me.
So whether I like it or not, mistakes were made yesterday, some of which I’ll never even learn about. And at some point, someone was faced with the choice to do the right thing or take the selfish path, and despite my best efforts to set the tone, they blew it. The Bible reveals that our natural inclination is towards rebellion & selfishness, so why should I be surprised when this happens on my watch? That doesn’t excuse it, and that doesn’t mean I throw up my hands and say “why bother,” but it does suggest that in 2012 my goal should be to always take a proportional look at these things, recognizing opportunities for teachable moments (not just for myself but for members of my team), while not overreacting emotionally or taking things personally.
And if I’m being totally honest, I have to guard against my own rebellious, self-centered nature. Maybe this blog becomes a new layer of personal accountability.