Sunday, June 5, 2011

" A Leader is a Coach, not a Judge" - Edward Deming - Ascension Sunday

" A Leader is a Coach, not a Judge"

Dr. Deming knew that business, government, and most organizations that have existed in the past centuries have seen their share of bad and ineffective leadership.  People who like to "Lord" over others, using fear, threats, manipulation, coercion, and absolutely all of the listed "Bad and Ugly" characteristics that I get when asking people in seminars, "What are the traits of a "Bad" leader that you know or have experienced?"  The list comes quick and seems exhaustive.  A pretty good statement that leaders have been "judging" others far too long and extensively, and doing major damage to people, relationships, and means of doing business. 

I have taught multiple times that, " There is no such thing as constructive criticism!"  The very words denote a form of judgment from on high from someone's point of view who is just a human and prone to faults and missperceptions as anyone.  Input, based on listening and empathic involvement and based on a mutual trust goes much further, and chooses words and means of conveyance that are accepted and incorporated.  Judgment statements only put up the walls of defense and posts the parties as warring camps, ready to win their cause no matter what.  There is no sharing of viewpoints, perspectives, accumulated knowledge or wisdom, its war as usual to who can over-talk the loudest, bully the strongest, threat the most fearsome scenarios.  There is a winner and a loser, who then looks for retribution or a means to sabotage in retaliation.  In fact, no one wins this kind of scenario.  All parties lose!  Even Dr. Deming himself said once, "When someone comes into the boardroom with an agenda, everyone loses!"

A better model is patterned by Jesus this week in the scriptures and practiced traditions of the Church.  Today was the "High Priestly Prayer of Jesus" from John 17:1-11 as the Gospel.  It is where Jesus prays for the current Apostles and the future church's believers that will come with the ages.  His prayer is for them to be covered and protected by God's Grace, but more importantly, that they are empowered by God's Holy Spirit to live out the pattern of "Servant Leadership" that Jesus modeled. It is as if Jesus personally lays hands on each soul of the current and future church. Passing on all knowledge, wisdom, faith, and patterned behavior for generations.  Being a Coach instead of a Judge!

It again is all about relationships, trust, shared knowledge and wisdom, and the added element of patterned behavior and conduct as to how to embed those teachings into the fabric someones lives - our life.  Listening for needs, thoughtfully applying theory, patterning behavior, looking for changed results, and adjusting as needed to continue the improvement, that's how it's done!  With Jesus' ascension, He leaves those whom he invested so much time, information, wisdom and models of behavior to their accountability to "make it their own and to pass it along!"  Yes, there would be set backs and failures, and times of denial, but Grace and Godly Guidance to forgiveness affords another try to make it right, not death, or destruction.  Not judging - but coaching and redirection when less that optimum is realized.  It's a Continual Improvement Cycle with implied ascending accountability, not a downward spiral or death sentence.  It's Grace in action, and not Judgment! We get to learn, not fail or die.  It's forgiveness in action that encourages growth and acquiring knowledge from experience, thus enabling acquired wisdom for future times and for future generations when passed along once again in relationships, with trust, and the skill of the mentor to the student.

Judgment is a Tyrants tool of destruction.  To systems, personalities, relationships and anything it touches.  It really only momentarily inflates the ego of the one judging, yet even ensnares them also. ( "Judgment as well as Anger are the cups many desire to drink from with the intent of harming or punishing others, yet all the while, poisoning themselves!")  Input from a wise coach, builds up, invests, encourages, brings to transparency, grows, and sends the student forward with new insight and knowledge for use.

So here we are in the in-between times of Jesus' Ascension. Our spiritual coach is now back in heaven and we are now awaiting for the promised gift to empower our faithful futures.  They had to wait 10 days in the original Apostolic time, we only have to wait as long as it takes for us to make the decision of faith, to reaffirm what we already have requested and received through baptism and by Grace, God's Holy Spirit, the true coach of our daily lives today! It is already present in our personal life, in our families, in our community, our businesses, our church and in our relationships - loved ones and colleagues, if we are so desire.

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