Every leader, whether he serve as a parent, teacher, supervisor, pastor, or in another capacity, will be faced with situations that need his intervention, prevention, or correction. Often the determining factor in the outcome of these situations is rooted in the leader’s response to the problem. Some responses can amplify the problem, while others can bring correction, guidance, and nurturing.
Over the years, I’ve observed three general types of responders to problems:
- The neglectors—They are afraid to face the truth, so they hide it or hide from it. They try to ignore the problem and hope it will go away; or they simply say there isn’t a problem, and eventually they start believing themselves.
- The fighters—They speak the truth but not in love. They expose the problem, but they enjoy doing so. They relish the intervention and make it as “confrontational” as possible. They act from insecurity or from an overly authoritative approach. Servant leaders don’t relish the act of rebuking others, and they don’t “bash” critics or those who oppose them.
- The restorers—They share the truth for the purpose of prevention and restoration. They do not subjugate others or abuse their authority. They simply speak the truth in love for the purpose of healing and moving forward.
The first two responses are more natural and, frankly, easier. But they also do the most damage, hurting the people involved and making the situation worse. The last response is more difficult, but it brings healing and restoration sooner.
The challenge for each of us is to encourage spiritual growth in those we lead by following the admonition of Ephesians 4:15, “But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ.”