I am convinced that I have found one of the causes of cancer—it’s a small mass of cells that when left on its own rapidly grows into a destructive monster. The cells are called assumptions.
The head of an organization was badly floundering. Her managers were avoiding her because her leadership style was making their lives miserable. Her employees were looking for jobs with other companies. Her corporate headquarters debated if she would have to be replaced. It all seemed off kilter because this woman has a great personality, is bright and should be effective in leading her folks. What went wrong?
I spent time with Kim and her top manager, Rob*. He was so upset with her that he could not sit and face her in the room. It was obvious that he was hurt and angry. In asking a series of questions, we were able to make some important discoveries. First, Kim was given a mandate before taking over the organization that she needed to “clean house” because her group was the poorest performer in the corporation with the wrong people making leadership decisions. So she came down and immediately took charge and in doing so, alienated almost everyone. Instead of getting to know the people and assessing what actions she should take, she jumped in as a micromanaging dictator.
As a people-person, Kim often took the time to get out of her office and meet with her employees. Unfortunately, she also often tasked them with work bypassing their bosses. Her intentions were good. She knew her managers were busy and wanted to save time. But her actions alienated them because they felt distrusted. She also had a penchant for changing her mind when decision-making. This caused uncertainty among her team leaders and doubt regarding her competency.
Rob, in listening to Kim, began to see why she behaved the way she did. Kim, likewise, picked up on his hurt and realized the consequences of her actions. Painfully they worked through a series of assumptions they had created that caused distrust. As they interacted, healing began to take place. By the time we were done meeting, both were able to face each other and affirm that they valued each other and wanted very much to work as a team. This same process then was duplicated with Nancy, another manager greatly at odds with Kim. It was a fascinating example of what happens when leaders fail to interact properly and resort instead to blaming.
James 1:19,20--My dearly loved brothers, understand this: Everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger, for man’s anger does not accomplish God’s righteousness.
The prefix “inter” according to the Encarta World English Dictionarymeans “between, among, mutual, reciprocal.” When combined with action we get the word interaction, which is defined as “communication between or joint activity involving two or more people.” James, the brother of Jesus, gives us rich wisdom on the topic of interaction. We must be great listeners, choose our words carefully and not have quick tempers. Without effective interaction, people are constantly negotiating the quagmire of misunderstanding.
The keys to good interaction require:
Belief in God is not an act of the intellect; it is a moral creation produced by the interaction of God’s Spirit and my spirit in willing obedience.—Oswald Chambers in Conformed To His Image
©2007 Daniel York ARR. Reveration is the weekly devotional ministry of First Cause. If you would like to receive these devotionals go to www.firstcause.org and click on the “Click here to receive weekly devotionals” box. Unlimited permission to copy this devotional without altering text or profiteering is allowed subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.
Ecclesiastes 12:10-The Teacher sought to find delightful sayings and to accurately write words of truth. (Holman CSB)