Avoiding the black dot
February 1, 2006
Many of us in teaching the children's lesson in a morning service have used this object lesson: Taking a blank sheet of paper, we put a black dot in the middle. Then holding up the paper, ask the children, "What do you see?" You'll be lucky if any will say, "a sheet of paper." The black dot gets their attention every time.
Newspapers see life through that kind of lens. So, too, nightly TV and radio news reports. The worst is reported first. Fire, accidents and guns get top billing every time.
This is where one's definition of leadership kicks in. This is mine: "the stewarding of vision and resources in the doing of good." The operative word is "stewarding." My calling is to merge the compelling future reality—"vision"—with resources to achieve that vision.
There is nothing tougher for leaders than having to end someone's employment. Most often it's because a person doesn't have the resource of skills that we need. But doesn't everyone we work with have some inadequacy? As a steward, it's my job to see if strengths outweigh inadequacies.
Here is the challenge: to countermand the impulse to always critique; to not allow weaknesses to overshadow strengths so people know I cherish what is good in them.
Spirit of God, you who see the good, bad and ugly of me, teach me to see with your eyes. At my best and my worst, you make me your temple. Lord, give me eyes too to see what is good and valuable in others. May they in turn be lifted in faith and fired with passion for the work we do together. Amen.
"Look out for the good things, not the faults. It takes a good deal bigger-sized brain to find out what is not wrong with people and things than to find out what is wrong."