Thursday, April 13, 2023

Unilateral and Corporate Leadership

(In my home office, making lots of decisions.)

I met a man who told me he bought a house for his wife and children to live in. OK. Then he told me, "I bought it without her and the kids seeing it." Not OK.

Big mistake.

Unsurprisingly, this did not go over well. It was a pattern in this marriage, causing many problems.

Many leaders simply announce, to their employees, decisions they have made, without consulting the employees. That is top-down leadership, which breeds insecurity and resentment among the people.

When I desire a cup of coffee at Starbucks, I don't call Linda and ask her permission. I can make that decision unilaterally. As for our house, this is the only one we have ever bought. Linda picked it out. And suggested we both look at it. Together, we discerned we were to make an offer. We made this decision corporately.

Note the word "together." Every person must know what decisions they should make corporately, and what decisions they can make unilaterally. When in doubt, take the corporate route.

Unilateral leaders are either dictators or fools, or both. A leader must not go more than one step ahead of their people. If they get two steps ahead, they are a martyr. That's foolish.

Unilateral leaders fear authentic community. Any group of two has at least two different perspectives. For example, a wife and husband. Corporate leaders understand and honor this.

Unilateral leaders are narcissistic. [Pastors, see here for the data.) They demand uniformity. This never turns out well for the community. 

Corporate leaders aim higher, going after unity. When this happens in a  church all experience blessing. As we read in Psalm 133:1-3,

How good and pleasant it is
    when God’s people live together in unity!
It is like precious oil poured on the head,
    running down on the beard,
running down on Aaron’s beard,
    down on the collar of his robe.
It is as if the dew of Hermon
    were falling on Mount Zion.
For there the Lord bestows his blessing,
    even life forevermore.