We all have “issues.” That’s right! I do, and so do you! These “issues” keep us back in our careers, alienate us from others, and stagnate our growth. Sadly, nobody seems to be willing to tell us the truth. They talk behind our backs but rarely speak to us directly.
In his book The Flip Side, Flip Flippen tells a story of meeting with some senior executives of a large company. Before he left, he wanted to debrief with the CEO. He was very curious about one of the guys named “Richard,” who had a huge knot on his head. Here’s how he describes what happened:
“Tell me about Richard,” I said. “He seems like a bright guy with a lot of potential.” The CEO quickly responded, “He’s very smart, and he has a great work ethic.” My next question surprised them. “Well, tell me about the knot on his head. Do you know anything about it?” They looked at each other. It seemed that neither of them wanted to acknowledge what was—to me—Richard’s most defining physical characteristic: a large, protruding bump on one side of his forehead. One of them finally answered. “When he was hired, he had that knot on his head, but it’s gotten bigger since then. At first, it wasn’t a problem because his job and area of responsibility were limited. But these days, he’s in meetings with customers all day and represents the company at many functions. We’ve never talked to him about it—how would we even bring it up?”
Since no one else was willing to talk about it, Flippen volunteered to privately meet with Richard. Even though the conversation was uncomfortable, he found out that Richard had a number of these growths on his body and didn’t really realize the growth on his forehead bothered people. In reality, it was probably getting in the way of where he was going professionally, especially since it was so large and right over his right eye.
Richards’s story had a happy ending. He had the growth removed, and his life and career were strengthened.
Here’s the question: Why doesn’t anyone share the truth? Why do people see the “knots on our foreheads” and are unwilling to talk to us? Is that even loving?
John Jacob Gardiner says three types of people in our lives who give us feedback.
First, Unloving Critics find fault in everything we do, often because of a lack of trust, perceived competition, jealousy, or insecurity. Second, Uncritical Lovers tell us everything we’re doing is just great; this group includes people who simply think we walk on water (e.g., our moms) or those afraid to speak truth to power (e.g., fearful employees). Finally, Loving Critics tell us the ugly truth because they care and want us to be successful.
Gardiner aptly observes, “Pity the leader caught between unloving critics and uncritical lovers.” People who are always fault-finding and always tell us what we want to hear are neither helpful nor truthful. We need people who speak the truth in love!
BEFORE YOU GO
So do you have someone who is a “loving critic?” I can guarantee you that you have your “unloving critics.” Sadly, it is often part of being a pastor and or leader. Do you want to talk more about this? You can make a free appointment with me on my website: https://ascentpathways.com.
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Thanks and reminded me of the story about the prince or king who had no clothes. Telling the truth in love is an art and very Biblical.
20 Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, 21 to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Ephesians 3:20-21 Bill Bill Vermillion 1441 S Ivy St. Unit 503 Canby Or 97013 Cell 503 453-7146, home 503 266 9337
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