Monday, December 26, 2011

Be Charitable to Leaders with Whom You Disagree

Whenever I have a leader who says something with which I don't agree to some degree, I always try to put myself in the position of that leader - then treat that leader and their words like I would want others to treat me and my words.

I don't want others to accept everything I say as God's own word and "follow" or "obey" me blindly, but I also don't want them to disbelieve and doubt everything I say. If I am in a position of perceived authority, I want to be taken seriously and have my words accepted generally - simply out of respect for my effort. If I'm ignorant or a jerk, that's different - but if I am trying my best, I want to be challenged lovingly and privately (whenever possible) when someone disagrees. (and I really do want to know when others disagree) 

Ultimately, if I am leading an organization, I want my final decision to be accepted generally by those who aren't in a position to know of and understand all the details that affected my decision - especially if they didn't let me know of their concerns at the time of my decision. If hindsight proves I was wrong, so be it. I just hope others will understand I did the best with what I knew.


Stephen said...

An important matter to remember is that even with problems and issues that the leader's solution is not optimal, if everyone executes on it, generally you will get a better result than if everyone just slogs about.

A lot of things can be made to work by united effort.

Papa D said...

Excellent point, Stephen.

Greedy reader said...

I think the Chinese have a proverb about letting others save face. I may disagree with a leader but I can at least allow him/her to save face.

I wonder if that is the principle at work when today's leaders avoid disavowing some crazy things preached by our leaders of yesteryear.

Papa D said...

Gr, The Japanese have the same perspective, and I witnessed it fairly frequently on my mission. It has its downsides, but I really like it, overall.

I think there is a strong element of that concept in the way our current leaders approach things said by earlier leaders - but I also think there is an element of simple humility with people who are doing the best they can but who recognize that they aren't infallible. I think they really do know that, a hundred years from now, people will be shaking their heads at some of the things they have said.

Anonymous said...

I am REALLY not sure our leaders already know that in a hundred years from now people will shake their head at what they have said. We have been asked lately (according to the members around me) to blindly follow whatever the prophet is saying because his calling is above science or any secular knowledge.
You think it is nuts?
I do too.

But it is what 95% of the members have heard lately.

Beside this I have loved this entry again and specially how you have been cautious about excluding jerks from the group of people who deserve respect.
I think they still deserve to be treated like if they had been the greatest leader in the world.
Because I am evil.
Yep, the better you treat them the more accountable you make them.

You may want not to come by my blog as often as before now I bet :P