April 13, 2010

That's Not Fair!

One of the greatest tensions in leadership is the desire to be fair. The concept of fairness is pervasive in our culture. Everyone demands that they be treated fairly, that they get their fair share. When that cultural norm bumps into our role as a leader, there is inevitable tension. Leaders have decisions to make that will affect people, & those people demand that the leader lead in a way that is fair, & the leader himself feels the pull toward fairness in his own leadership. However, there is something bigger than fairness pulling at the leader as well, & if you're a Christian leader, this is especially true. The longer you lead the more you realize that fairness & leadership are really incompatible. Fairness is usually determined by our present desires, but leadership demands we see the long-term destination.

Absolute fairness in leadership is a myth. It doesn't exist & never has. God Himself doesn't even treat us fairly. After all, if God were fair & gave us what we deserved, it would be really ugly. Even if you just brought it down to the level of fairness that we usually operate on which is all about what we think we need right now, God wouldn't dare treat us "fairly". If He gave us what we wanted now, it's likely that it would ultimately destroy us. Instead God does what all good leaders do: He keeps the big picture, the long-term destination in view.

As a leader, you have the responsibility of leading people into a future that they won't always see or understand. In the midst of that, you'll probably hear, "That's not fair," but don't be distracted by the world's mantra. Fix your eyes on the finish line, on the destination that you have been called to lead others to. Don't try to be absolutely fair; it's impossible. In fact, it's actually an enemy to your organization, ministry, or family.

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