Everyone knows the story of David and Bathsheba. After David’s sin, he is confronted by Nathan and hears the story of “the rich man who had exceeding many flocks and herds” but who, instead, took a poor man’s only ewe lamb instead of offering one of his own. The Bible says that, “David’s anger was greatly kindled against the man.”(ESV) To which Nathan responded, “You are the man.”
When it comes to what is wrong with your team--why they are not working well together, why they are not achieving goals, why they are not experiencing unity and high morale—many times the answer is, “You are the man/woman.” You are the one at fault, the one responsible, the creativity buster, the motivation stifler, the morale killer.
Your leadership style may be your team’s biggest problem.
Many years ago I asked a mentor of mine what he thought my biggest strength and biggest weakness was. His answer was eye-opening, convicting and educational. “Dave,” he said, “your biggest strength is your biggest weakness.” It was clear that I was (and still am) very task/goal-oriented and hard-driving. This is what I bring to the table…the value I add to any team I’m on; but, if there are not strong doses of grace and relational sensitivity, this strength becomes a weakness and can/will cause havoc.
If you are familiar with the *DISC, I am a high “D” on the DISC…many leaders are. “D” stands for dominant. The high “D” is the go-getter, the high achiever, the goal-setter, the driver who is very task-oriented, with high standards for himself and high expectations for others. When someone who is wired up like me is not careful, team members can experience:
- Fear in disagreeing with me or suggesting solutions or ideas different than mine.
- Lack of motivation, feeling they can never achieve enough to keep me happy or keep up with me.
- Their creativity being stifled or inhibited because I can come across as overbearing and micro-managing because of my high expectations.
When a leader is perceived to be a bully or condescending, or leads by fear, there is a very good chance their team will not achieve its potential and it will be dysfunctional in various ways.
When you keep your team in a constant state of fear of failure or punishment for making any mistakes, you can’t expect them to take risks and be creative.
Are you the man? Do you work for the man?
You could be the man…the bottleneck on the team. It’s not team members, it’s not their work ethic, it’s not the organization, it’s not the economy, nor is it the fault of the present administration in Washington!
You are the man. You are responsible. As the sign on President Harry Truman’s desk said, “The buck stops here!”
If you think there is even a slight possibility (I know it’s hard to believe) that you are the man/woman, here are a few ideas on how to find out and deal with it:
1. Ask your family members if you are a tiny bit too rough or demanding at times. If they roll on the floor laughing, you are the man.
2. Ask those on your team if they feel you push them in unhealthy ways. If most everyone says yes, you are the man. Ask them to furnish recent examples of how you have done this.
3. Ask team members (and others who have worked for you in the past) if you tend to control, micro- manage or set standards so high (too high) for them that it demotivates them…inhibits them from being creative and innovative or from taking reasonable risks. If they roll their eyes and break into a big smile, you are the man
4. Ask your family, as well as people who work with/for you, what one or two aspects of your leadership they would most like to see you change (with the help of the Holy Spirit). Listen carefully and trust God to see some things change to the glory of God and the morale of your family and co-workers
*Note: If you are not familiar with DISC or have never taken a DISC assessment, here is a link to a free one: