Connecting the Dots in an Unconnected World

Friday, December 11, 2009

Leadership Blunders of Baptist Leaders

For the past nearly 33 years I have served in a leadership capacity of a Baptist Church and in multiple areas of Southern Baptist life. I have been immeasurably blessed by the men and women who I have been privileged to associate with during this time. Some of these leaders have been among the most prominent in our Southern Baptist mission’s efforts and others are known only in the record book of eternity. They each have encouraged me and both intentionally or unintentionally impacted my philosophy of leadership.

For the near future I am going to be dealing with the theme, “Leadership Blunders of Baptist Leaders”.

I am very conscious that most people do not desire to deal with a negative theme. However, I have discovered that I learn more from my mistakes than my successes. The “blunders” I will address are at times blunders that I have made; at times they are blunders I have observed. Regardless of who made them are blunders that should and can be avoided by Baptist leaders in general and leaders of any organization in particular. I present these “blunders” in no particular order of priority.

Blunder #1: Not being able to say “I’m sorry”

All leaders make mistakes. When a leader a leader makes a mistake he/she needs to recognize not as a sign of weakness but rather a sign of their humanity. This recognition on the part of a leader will not weaken their position of leadership but rather it will strengthen it. The willingness to say “I’m sorry” will go a long way to bolster relationships with those you lead. It will help them to see a side of the leader with which honest people can easily identify – everyone makes mistakes. It will show a genuine spirit of humility – not just one that is a public persona.

Why are those in places of leadership unable to say, “I’m sorry”? First, they fail to recognize the mistake. Sometimes this is simply not realizing what has been done. Secondly, it is sinful pride that does not allow the leader to see his/her own “blunders”. Thirdly, it may be caused by a refusal to take responsibility for the blunder. Leaders must not only accept the credit for successes they need to also accept responsibility for “blunders”. Sadly, the leader may have developed a spirit that portrays “I am the leader deal with it”.

Ultimately saying “I’m sorry” is simply the right thing to do. An apology for a mistake should not be qualified with a phrase such as “If I have offended you” or “_________ (insert the person who labors on your behalf’s name) should not have done that”. If you or those whom you lead have blundered the only recourse is to apologize and then do everything possible to correct the “blunder”. It is very difficult for honest people to not accept a sincere apology.

Attempting to connect the dots…

Romans 1:16

“When you realize you've made a mistake, make amends immediately. It's easier to eat crow while it's still warm.”
~Dan Heist


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