I was talking with a young pastor recently who is having to make some hard decisions in his church. He’s praying, seeking wisdom from other pastors and leaders, allowing input from the church. He feels confident that he is making the right decisions for the life of the church at this time. None of the changes are clearly addressed in Scripture, he feels. The majority of the people support him, but still, there are some who continually question the decisions he makes.
It reminds me of one thing I’ve learned about leadership:
Not everyone will understand all the decisions a leader makes unless they sat where the leader sits.
The leader can explain. And he or she should try. The leader can walk with them through the decision. And he or she should. The leader can listen to the objections. And he or she should.
But there will be times when the leader has to make decisions based on the information available. The leader must consider all aspects of the decision: how it impacts every person (not just a few), every ministry, and how it helps accomplish the vision for the future of which he or she feels charged to lead.
Not everyone will understand.
That principle is equally true for:
- Business owners
- Elected officials
A friend of mine uses the term “second chairitis.” It’s similar to “back seat driver.” Basically it means that it’s natural to question the actions of a leader when you aren’t carrying the full weight of the team. The “outside looking in” view isn’t always the clearest view.
For the leader, I would encourage you to:
- Make sure you are obedient to God and His word.
- Make sure you are seeking wise counsel.
- Make sure you are open to correction.
- Make sure you are leading with integrity, in your public and personal life.
- Make sure you allow people you trust to speak into your life.
- Make sure you stay true to the vision.
- Make sure you consider the interests of others, even more than your own.
- Make sure you develop methods to measure progress.
Then make decisions — the best decisions you can, based on the information you have, realizing in advance that not everyone will always understand. Hopefully, someday they’ll look back and realize you were making good decisions, even when they couldn’t understand. Sometimes you’ll look back and realize you made the wrong decisions. Admit those times. They are like gold for your future leadership decision making.
Leaders aren’t called to be popular. They are called to lead.
Have you ever had to make decisions others couldn’t immediately understand?