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“Relational Games Leaders Play”

 I read a quote by Colin Powell:

“Trust is the glue that holds an organization together and the lubricant that keeps it moving.”

I believe that establishing and maintaining trust in a relationship, a team or an organization is the most important thing that needs to take place. When trust is gone, it’s just a matter of time until everything else is gone. The worst thing one person can say to another is, “I don’t trust you anymore;” whether it’s a parent saying it to a child, a child to a parent, a married couple to each other, or team members saying it to their team leader. Absence of trust is the first rung on the ladder to becoming a dysfunctional team, according to best selling author Patrick Lencioni.

One of the ways you can lose trust is to play relational games with those you lead.

Let me explain what I mean.

You lose trust and credibility with people when they don’t believe what you say anymore. Over the years, I have heard leaders and worked with and for leaders who say things like:

1)   I’ll give you call next week 

2)   Let’s get together for lunch

3)   I’ll get back to you on that by Friday

4)   I’ll have this done and in your hands by Thursday

You, from your experience, can very well add to the list of things leaders have said to you that they never followed through on. In some cases, they really never meant what they said in the first place; empty promises that are not kept. Could it actually be a form of deception and lying when we say things we really don’t mean? And if we mean it and it looks like we missed following through, wouldn’t it be nice to hear:

 “I’m really sorry that I didn’t do what I said I would do.”

“What can I do to make it right?”

I am especially concerned in a conversation or meeting when things are promised but not written down or placed in a calendar or on a “Do List.” I honestly don’t have a lot of confidence in people’s memory when so many are over committed and overwhelmed.

Eugene Peterson’s Message Paraphrase 2 Corinthians 4:2 reads:

“We refuse to wear masks and play games. We don’t maneuver and manipulate behind the scenes. And we don’t twist God’s Word to suit ourselves. Rather, we keep everything we do and say out in the open, the whole truth on display, so that those who want to can see and judge for themselves in the presence of God.”

How about Jesus’ simple encouragement to let your yes be yes and your no be no from Matthew 5:37?

By God’s grace, I want to under promise and over deliver. I want to say what I mean, mean what I say and do what I promise, and not be inappropriately flippant with my words and commitments. If you are not saying what you really mean, over time people will loose confidence in you and in your leadership and begin to ask themselves what else is he/she not telling me/us the truth about? In honoring the one who is the Way the Truth and the Life, can we not be aboveboard and honest in our communication with those we are privileged to lead?

I’d love to hear from you on this in the comment section below. 

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