Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Responsibility vs. Authority

Today I got a lesson in leadership! It didn't feel all that good at the time, but I grew!

Here is the scoop: I thought I had been given the authority to help make some decisions about an upcoming event, so with consensus I made some decisions that subtracted from a local tradition.
Maybe, it has happened to you. Someone delegated something to you, asked for your input, listened to your recommendations, upheld your thoughts and decided in favor of the above, but when the decision was made, you were the one standing in front of the proverbial bus. Yep, that was me and the bus was a community transit.

As I processed the situation all day I realized a few things about myself. First off, I don't want responsibility without the ability to make decisions. There is nothing more frustrating than being accountable for something you can't make better or change. This is not to say I am a maverick; instead, it is to say I want the ball when the game is on the line. In other words, "LET ME DO WHAT YOU ASKED OF ME." Secondly, knowing the difference between authority and responsibility is the key to better relationships, especially leadership relationships.

Finally, I was able to sum up my leadership. My leadership style requires me to be able to delegate responsibility to others, make decisions when necessary, use consensus on certain elements, and lead with passion.

The opposite is a leader who micro-manages, dictates, doesn't listen and is depressed. Funny thing is when situations arise, like today, where the proverbial bus is coming at me, this is the kind of leader I can become. I am convicned all leaders can be relegated to the negative when they have the rug pulled from under them. Bottom line, I can't afford to be a micro-managing-dictator-unable-to-listen-while-depressed. Now that's a word pciture:)

After today, I will no longer lead when I do not have the ability and authority to contribute. It isn't healthy for me, and if it is not healthy for me, then it is not healthy for The Rock Church. I want to delegate responsibility, be a decision maker when I have to be, use consensus when appropriate and lead with passion. Anything less, I will not be involved.