Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Napolean

Here’s a great question…Why does it seem as if most people who have no business whatsoever in leading people usually do? I mean really. I can’t tell you how many times I encounter someone, especially in a mid level management position, attempting to lead a group of employees or even volunteers for that matter and just messing it up royally. I don’t think there’s a person in this country who has ever worked in a fast food environment or maybe a retail environment who couldn’t relate a story or two or ten about a boss of theirs who mysteriously made it to management seemingly to make their working lives miserable. Managers of fast food chains are almost the worst in my humble opinion. Some of you may argue in favor of your favorite boss to hate. Whatever your history, and mine for I have suffered as you have J, I have found some universal truths to these types of people. Feel free to tell me if you can relate. It seems as if many if not most of these people have a Napolean complex. They are always trying to prove something to the world and especially those underneath. It’s a “You will respect me even if I look small in your eyes”, kind of attitude. They have an associates degree in business management and automatically you are expected to genuflect in their presence. I find that many if not most have a “that’s the way it is and you’ll just deal with it” approach to helping their underlings succeed in their positions. There is some wisdom that encourages individuals to establish expectations and responsibilities upfront in an employee / employer relationship. These mean nothing to the Donald Trump wannabe’s who find themselves with your life in their hands. They don’t tend to flex or accommodate unless it’s in their best interests. Another quality that is common is that life for them is their position and they expect all those around them to live in their world. They don’t seem to be able to look outside the bubble and understand that most peoples life ambition is not to perpetually ask “do you want fries with that?”. They don’t understand bigger ambition, larger goals, or maybe that you are only doing what you have to do in order to do what you want to do. I know that these may be huge generalizations, but I merely see them as observations. Where this all plays out for me in my life’s environment is in the church. It’s been my experience that the church is not immune to little Napoleans. In fact, I find, unfortunately, a disproportionate number. I think that it’s because you don’t even have to work to get into some form of management in the average church. You just show up and present yourself louder than those around you. Or you just show up more often and then by default you are the leader. It’s a dangerous place filled with dangerous people and too often the underlings (volunteers?) decide very quickly that they don’t need to be treated in an underling fashion. After all, they’re not even getting paid minimum wage. It’s a shame because it’s not at all scriptural, let alone right. In fact, the bible does give plenty of management advice. One of them in particular is a completely reverse kind of logic thing that goes something like “If you want to be great, you need to become servant to everyone”. Now I wonder what would happen if people of faith actually committed to just that this year. No witnessing, no preaching to, no knocking on doors, no five spiritual laws, just serving others, especially those “beneath” you. Try not being responsible to those you are responsible for. That goes for you reading this who lead volunteers and for those who lead employees. I write these wandering thoughts nearly weekly and rarely get feedback. I know that many are reading this (I have no idea why) so I’ll simply ask you to consider this concept. Imagine what we could conquer when we’re not seeking to conquer.

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