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Monday, September 19, 2011

Tempting Others to Sin

Dr. Gary Roberts
Robertson School of Government

Matthew 18:7
“What sorrow awaits the world, because it tempts people to sin. Temptations are inevitable, but what sorrow awaits the person who does the tempting.”

One of the most humbling aspects of leadership is to recognize that as shepherds of the flock, we possess a great responsibility to not discourage our employees and tempt them to sin. Many managers are oblivious to the fundamental Christian world view understanding of leadership that assigns great spiritual accountability for being the source of temptation. How do managers tempt employees? The answer to that question requires more than a dissertation solely devoted to the subject, but I will endeavor to introduce several fundamental principles. First, we tempt our employees to sin when we fail to provide the necessary encouragement and recognition. In essence, we “steal” the intrinsic heart rewards that are essential for stimulating ongoing motivation and the promotion of hope in difficult circumstances. Most employees report a drought of job-related feedback and are disheartened by the lack of acknowledgment. When we fail to recognize good performance, we are using dishonest scales and stealing from employees! We are called to encourage and support others with the comfort that we receive.

Second, we tempt our employees when we fail to provide the necessary discipline to correct poor performance and improver behavior. God disciplines those whom He loves, and undisciplined employees like uncorrected children will operate in a spiritual vacuum testing the boundaries until they are broken in spirit and body.

Third, we tempt employees to anger and bitterness when we develop in-group and out-groups in the workplace in which employees are treated unequally not based upon character and performance, but upon the manager’s arbitrary likes and dislikes. God call us to be no respecter of persons and treat all according to character and faith.

Fourth, we tempt employees to higher levels of distrust and cynicism when there is a gap between policy and practice. The absence of consistency between words and deeds shipwrecks the faith of many employees. If we promote empowerment in policy, but in practice only support employee decisions that validate or rubber stamp a preordained management decision, we promote organizational hypocrisy.

As Christian servant leaders, we must continually test both our motives and actions to avoid even the appearance of impropriety. If any of these temptations are present, we must repent and address the root cause issues to regain employee trust. It becomes a long road back, because it takes much more time and effort to regain trust once it is lost. Being a “hearer and a doer” is the path less well traveled, but well worth the cost given the bounty of trust produced from righteous treatment!

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