In the Trenches

The Leadership Secret

Unfinished Puzzle
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Can I confess something? Few things frustrate me more than when someone operates with a belief that I know something I do not. 

It happens more often than I care to admit. I get into a conversation and someone has information they think is common knowledge, but they do not realize I have not been informed of the key piece of information, thus losing me before the conversation begins.

Can I confess something else? I wrestle with this in myself all the time. 

Honestly, I do. Am I holding someone else to an expectation they have no way of knowing they are being held to? Am I expecting people around me to live up to my standards because they know what my standards are, or because they should just know. I mean, really, my pet peeves are everyone else’s pet peeves, right?

I think letting ourselves fall into the trap of the leadership secret is one of the hidden roadblocks of effective leadership. 

The leadership secret bases decisions, actions, and attitudes solely on information the people around you have no way of knowing, and then expecting them to respond as if they know.

The leadership secret happens when someone, behind closed doors, behaves in a way we never expected, but in front of others never shows that side. So we begin to think less of people who respect the person, even though they would have never seen the other side.

The leadership secret happens when we know someone is struggling and watch as people mercilessly attack them for something separate, and then work ourselves up to defend them, all the while expecting everyone to know what we know, without us telling them.

I am not advocating gossip, or even being a megaphone for secrets. Instead, I am advocating taking a moment to put yourself in someone else’s shoes and ask: “Do they know what I know?” In doing so, maybe we learn to deal with people individually.

There’s another side to the leadership secret, though. There are times in leadership when information needs to be communicated. This is a very delicate line to walk. I am by nature a very private person, so I tend to bristle when someone shares something about me I did not approve. But the truth of the matter is sometimes the battle we (or someone else) is fighting needs to be made known.

As a body of believers, one of our goals is to love and challenge people to grow. Sometimes, this is done by surrounding them and helping them move forward.

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