Thursday, September 24, 2009

Lack of Confrontation is Lack of Leadership!

Posted by Hannah at 8:57 AM

I have to admit when I was growing up I felt the church was one of the safest places. I also remember when there were issues brewing in my family, and the church was nice about it...but didn't do to much towards that sense of safety I was asking for. This 'be nice' culture does it show lack of leadership? I think at times it can! The fact they ignored me made me feel like I was wrong to wish to have that sense of safety, and is that really what they wanted to do? I don't think that was the case, but they never did confront things either.

Safety foster abuse

I felt like I was to watch from outside the locked gate. Did they wish to have me feel this way? Chances are not! I think the fact my parents were doing SO MUCH for the church at the time they were afraid of the confrontation, and what they may risk losing if they did.

It reminds me of a business situation you see quite often!

In the business world you would have prize salespeople that truly helped the business bottom line. In alot of cases you have the company bending policies and procedures to accommodate them. They give them little extras on the side to keep them happy. To the business? It helps everyone involved. It helps the bottom line, and it helped keep jobs. Some may feel that is the game you play, and some resent the extra work load placed on them due to the game... and keeping this salesperson happy. Keep in mind not ALL businesses are like that, but you do find that atmosphere quite often.

Churches at times will do this when key people are doing things they shouldn't. They think about their bottom line, and how the church will react if they confront it seems like. If we take this stand it may tear the church apart! What confused me? According to the bible I read maybe that is what God is calling for, because he has a different avenue for everyone to follow. The church is quick to remind people that when God closes one door he opens another. That faith doesn't seem to apply when it comes to the politics on how to run the church. Confrontation is very scary, and they fear the repercussions of that.


I was a business leader in our local community for years, and I realize confrontation isn't the easiest thing in the world. I remember knowing we would have to confront things, and was losing sleep over it for days on end. I remember running things threw my head so many different ways to see if there was a different approach. I knew the atmosphere was going to be almost toxic, because you were only allowed to reveal so much about the dynamics behind the scenes. Its NOT a nice place to be! The anxiety levels at times are awful!

confrontation lack of leadership


We had a very charismatic business person that was doing a key job. I was placed in my position, and was to overlook some of his responsibilities.

I had no clue what I was walking into. I found secrets that past business people that dealt with him KNEW, but hid from view due due to not wishing to deal with it. They knew it would be a hornet's nest.

What I felt even more strange? They all moved their businesses out of the area as soon as their time frame for the position was complete.

I found immediately he was a GREAT people person! He was good front man, and everyone just loved him! I liked him as well!

When I got behind the scenes within his position? I found absolute chaos! That chaos slowly started to surface with time.

I started by putting procedures in place, because I felt maybe he just needed a formula to follow. He agreed with the procedures, and felt it was a good idea as well. He claimed he never truly KNEW what people expected from him. I felt I fulfilled part of that for him. He thought it was great, and told me he felt better about his job now.

What ended up happening was you had to PUSH him to follow the plan.

Next I had to gave him a calendar, and told him he needed to account for his time. I told him that people were watching, and were very curious as to what he was doing with his time.

I didn't fully realize right away WHY they were asking, but I soon found out! I remember telling him, "YOU don't have to be anal, but give a general idea of your daily schedule!" I warned him people were watching, so lets hand them this to make them feel better. He couldn't understand WHY they questioned, but was very agreeable to my plan.

He never could really handle the calendar either for some reason. I would have to push and remind him he needed to follow through!

The rest of the business people were all over me about his goals he was blowing! I couldn't figure out any EASIER ways of helping him!

Disorganized workspace confrontation lack of leadership

We finally had to just get a new description together about his job once again. We had to add things like, order office supplies on a timely basis. I asked them to come with me, and we sat down and informed him of what was expected. I figured if the present of others would help enforce it. I was wondering if I wasn't clear enough? He didn't take me seriously? I wanted the bases covered.

That meeting seemed to go well, but I found myself babysitting him once again. The group of business people saw the extent of what I was doing, and we all were growing frustrated. It got to the point we had to issue a first warning for his employment.

He seemed to straighten up a little, and then he mentioned his computer was giving him problems. I had already typed up maintenance procedures, and when to do them. I am talking step by step procedures with pictures!

I found that his virus protection had expired long ago, and he never said a word. We were on dial up at the time, and he said he didn't fool with it because it wouldn't update. He figured the program was broken. I found he never went online to do the update. He never ran the program.

I logged into the internet, and renewed the virus program, and updated the software. Then I did a quick scan, because the computer was acting funny. I found almost 5,000 virus all connected to porn. It totally grossed me out, and I did find a way to fix the computer. The whole time he was telling me he didn't know HOW that got there! I wanted to pop a cork, but I kept my temper in check.

In the business world you have to follow laws. There are procedures you must follow for employees. I went back to the business people after I found porn on his computer, and we felt another warning and a new description of restrictions for his job was needed by law.

We found we didn't have a procedure about porn laid out the way it would be needed by law, and couldn't terminate him due to that lack of documentation. (silly us!)

There were still some supporters among that business group that truly felt he was still an asset due to the community! Everyone loved him, and he was the best thing such sliced bread people said!!

I gave my boundaries as to what I would put up with at that point, and if they couldn't follow certain things they could HAVE the job of supervising him. I wasn't going to pretend things were NOT happening!

Boundary confrontation lack of leadership

I cared for the man, and I knew he was a single parent. I was concerned for him, but to me he wasn't capable of doing this job. I was tired of the excuses and denial. I pretty much had reached my limit, but that human side was nagging me.

NEXT He decided he needed medicine and counseling to help him. He was upfront with me about everything. I just warned him his job was on the line. He had to step up, and his reasons for not doing so? That was running out!

I empathized with him, but things were coming to a head. He needed to do what he could at this point to show everyone he was MORE than willing to change things in drastic ways! Personally? I so did not want to go down that road of termination! It was killing me inside!

Within a month I had to go to his office to get something off his computer. What did I find again? Well I think you know what I found yet again. Ick!

I also found nothing on his calendar, and printed it as well. I found he never followed any of the procedures he was asked to.

I had all kinds of feelings at that point. We had to get that group of business people together yet again, and we voted to terminate his employment. I went with others, and I have to tell you that was one of the hardest things I have EVER had to do!

Afterwards? The press, business owners in town, government, etc were so throw by his termination you can't even imagine the pressure it put us under. We could only give so much information by law as to what had actually happened. It was nasty!

Within weeks his mental condition went downhill, and he was arrested for things which I think his condition played a role with. We were in contact with his family at that point for their help, because he was clearly falling apart. The next thing we knew he was in the state mental hospital.

We made sure his COBRA benefits were taken care of so he still had health benefits, and stayed in contact with his family. It was a hard line to walk, and I know all of us were heartbroken.

Meanwhile the community was wondering if we pushed him to the brink of breakdown. They just couldn't understand WHAT we did to this wonderful, charismatic man that everyone loved. We were bound by law among others things to limit our communication regarding the matter.

His life did turn around with time, and the truth came out as to what we had been dealing with. The business organization changed and thrived with time.

It was a huge change, and a hard road. It was worth it, and it became a organization that people looked up to.


My point? Sometimes you have to do this confrontation, and YES it will eat you up inside at times. Things COULD fall apart at the seams it seems like, but hiding sins behind the scenes is NOT the way to go!

There were the people before me that didn't have the nerve to handle things, and it HAD to make their jobs 10 times harder! They continued to ignore that elephant in the living room! They didn't want to do the confrontation, and to me that was a lack of leadership!

At this point he has a better life, because he got the help he needed. I honestly never saw the meltdown he had coming.

I knew he would struggle emotionally, because this job was EVERYTHING to him! I was concerned about how he would provide for his son as well. We actually had people looking for new employment for him at the time.

It took a long time - years - for things to settle down after that. Heck he got it together before the resentment over his termination had settled down!

He now cares for his son, and has a job that is more fitted for him. He got the help we didn't even see he needed, and some help we KNEW he needed!

What I see is a lack of leadership within churches that refuse to do the same. It was lack of leadership within the business organization that wanted to ignore him. We risked alot because we had to, and churches that won't? I have to wonder about that FAITH they talk about!

Hard? NO DOUBT! We had a man that everyone loved, and defended, and were downright angry with us over! I had the old leadership RUN like the wind, and not tell me what we were dealing with fully. I had parties I think KNEW at the time, but hoped we would just allow it to be swept under the rug. I mean he was POPULAR, and people felt he did WONDERFUL things!

I wonder at times if the church realizes it shows lack of leadership when they refuse to confront things that might get a little messy. God's word says that we should, and to me its red flag if they can't.

If a woman can do They can also!

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Anonymous said...

You know, I don't think this guy had a 'breakdown' - I know one person who has a 'breakdown' every time they get in hot water after being irresponsible, and it's happened so frequently, one would have to be blind not to see that there is a definite pattern - it's a manipulative tactic to make people feel sorry for them and get a fresh start.
I found it striking that "NEXT He decided he needed medicine and counseling to help him" - pills don't change peoples' behavior (Nor do they really help deal with the cause of emotional problems) and counseling doesn't work if people are just 'playing' their counselor.
If this guy really did straighten his life out, he more than likely did so because he couldn't 'play' anybody any more (the game no longer worked) or else the guy finally took his salvation seriously.
It is difficult to deal with people who behave in this manner, especially when you consider them to be friends. On the job, though, I think it should be easier to terminate people who don't do their jobs. I wonder how long they'd put up with that kind of thing from someone washing dishes...
Whether the workplace or church, though, the problem is the demoralizing effect it has on others. When the problem isn't dealt with, the whole team suffers. Scripture gave us a way of dealing with problems in Matthew 18:15-17. Thankfully, there are limits to what we are to tolerate.

L. Diane Wolfe on 11:22 AM said...

I love the subject matter of your blog, Hannah!

Thanks for visiting mine.

Hannah on 9:38 AM said...

Anonymous: I think it was one of the hardest things I ever had to deal with professionally. Call me a wimp, but I was also worried about his son that he was raising as well. It didn't stop me from doing what I had to do. I realize he was trying to play me, but I responded to him softly but firmly. I think he knew that, and it was why he didn't try to many other things he could have with me.

His family from out of state had to come in, and help him with the mess. I don't think they truly had any idea how big of a mess it was. From what I have heard he isn't placed in a position he was here - job wise now. He is using his people skills, but in a position that definitely better serves him and others. I get the impression he continues to get help.

The leadership of the past? They just didn't want to deal with the mess. To me that doesn't show strength in any way. There are responsibilities to leadership, and some are NOT very pretty! Goodness knows I lost sleep over some of it, but it had to be done.

L. Diane Wolfe: Thank you for taking the time to visit as well!

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