Taking Steps toward Leadership–Obedience

Obedience?  Wait, don’t you give the orders and your people obey?  Well 1st of all, giving orders is not leading, but that’s later.  2nd of all, we all have some guidelines that we need to follow…  We all have to obey traffic laws; we have to obey tax and regulatory laws; we have to obey our parents, the police, our teachers…  Most importantly we have ethical guidelines that we have to follow–our own moral compass.  Hypocrisy is a guaranteed way to lose followers.  The pastor that preaches abstinence on Sunday and has an affair on Monday will find his credibility (and his job!) in danger.  The father that insists his son do his chores and then finds excuses to watch football instead of the chores he has to do is not leading.  The lawyer that has a stack of traffic tickets doesn’t lead.

Now being obedient is not doing what you’re supposed to with a whiney attitude, grudgingly, and reluctantly. That doesn’t inspire all your followers to be obedient to you.  There are 10 commandments, not 1000.  People complain that they’re mostly “no” statements, but when you think about it, if all 10 were “no” statements, they’re easy to remember!  How many people can remember 10 things?  Most would be able to.  That means that of the 100’s of 1000’s of things you can do, you only have to remember 10 things you cannot or should not do.  And, not all 10 commandments are “no” statements.  2 of them are positive:  Remember the Sabbath and Honor your parents.  So only 8 are “no” statements.  Doesn’t that make you happy?  Think of it this way:  What do the speed limit signs mean?  Don’t exceed this speed on this road.   That’s pretty simple isn’t it?  What if the signs said, “You may drive between 45 and 60 miles an hour during ideal road conditions (dry roads and perfect visual conditions) except if there are emergency vehicles present, during twilight (an hour before sunrise and an hour after sunset), if there are pedestrians or motorcycles present, or if you are physically or mentally impaired.  That would make the signs either 2 feet by 3 feet and liable to blow over in any Nebraska wind storm, or the print would be so small as to be illegible to anyone driving on the road.  To take it further, biblically, in the beginning, Adam and Eve only had 1 commandment…don’t eat that stuff!  One commandment…and they broke it.  Oh well.

The point is that being obedient is not an odious requirement.  You need to have a good attitude.  You have to have a set of ethics and guiding principles that you must obey.  If you do that, you’re people will pick up on this and will do the same.  If they believe you have their best interests at heart, and that you a person of character (see the earlier blogs in this series on leadership), and that you will not risk your integrity by obeying some but not all of your ethical principles, you will not have any challenges with obedience from your team.  Of course, if you choose to be cheerfully obedient, it will make everything in your life much less stressful!  It’s like a weight taken off of your shoulders!  Leaders are not above the law, they incorporate the law into their character.  They are cheerfully obedient because following the law and their code of ethics is easier than reinventing the kind of procedures and processes that will be fair to everyone.

Read Exodus 20

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