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Friday, January 20, 2012

Men in Black, Leadership and the Garden of Eden: Taking Responsibility

We all want to be the “best of the best of the best.” (“GIJoe” and Agent J, “Men in Black”). Everybody wants to know how to stand out as leaders, and rightfully so. Our lives are complex, and there are many areas in which we are responsible for leading their people. And, we are constantly making choices in leading ourselves.
Where does Adam fall short of his duty?

Adam has not demonstrated that he is a great leader, yet. He has not demonstrated that he has taught Eve what God told him. He has somehow neglected to give her the whole counsel of God.
If he is indeed standing nearby, why does not speak up to correct Satan when he distorts God’s words? Why doesn’t speak up to correct Eve’s mis-conceptions? He doesn’t chime in to say that God said not to do that.
He has somehow become a follower, rather than the leader of this tiny band. We can see a little later in Genesis that one of his boys doesn’t quite understand the rules either; but that’s for another day and another post.
He is a follower. Eve simply hands him the fruit, he takes it and eats it. That's it! He does not use his greater understanding, knowledge or wisdom to lead her out of this predicament. As one of my friends suggested, he was probably too busy watching my "fine behind" to pay attention to the trouble!
Then, he throws her under the proverbial bus! When God shows up (as he does every day), he says, “She did it!” and “It is Your fault because You, God, put her here!!!”

Adam tries to divorce himself from this relationship in the hopes that this will somehow save him. No longer are they working as a team, together, in unison, but it’s every man and woman for himself / herself. Ok, enough Adam-bashing...
What do real leaders do?
  • Step up to the plate, and take responsibility for everyone's action
  • Develop true relationships with the people we lead and follow
  • If we are casting a vision, explaining a plan, starting a mission, we must be clear.
    • We must cast visions that people can understand
    • Visions they can articulate, not a long paragraph of gobbledygook that no one can remember.
    • Visions that people can get on board with and defend against argument
  • We must be inclusive. Everyone is a member of the team a team effort. Everyone has something unique and valuable to bring to the table.
  • We must demonstrate the behavior we wish to see in our teammates
  • We must defend our teammates- their person, job and character
  • We must correct them when they are wrong, while teaching them how to improve
  • We must maintain open lines of communication

Adam fell short in a couple of these areas, but you know what? Adam is every single one of us. When the road get tough or the task gets hard or it looks like we might lose something we hold valuable...sometimes, as much as we hate it, we buckle.

But, the important thing is not that we buckle, and we will, but that we get back up, learn some lesson from the experience, and do better the next time.

Maybe one day, we will all be a lot more like J and K, all the time. Or better yet, more like Christ.

Agent J and Agent K stand in the gap protecting us against the things that go bump in the night.

Christ stands in the gap, restoring us to God and defending us against the Darkness.

Where do you stand?

What do you stand in the gap to do?

Are you doing it? 

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