“But the things that proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and those defile the man.”
Matthew 15:18 (NASB)
Yesterday, November 4th, 2014 were the mid-term elections across America. Stunningly the GOP, and more importantly the electorate of America, shook things up in Washington, DC. Across this country the people removed the Democrats power-hold in the Senate, increased seats in the House of Representatives with more Republicans and for added measure, provided more leadership of individual states by adding more Republican governors.
In response to this news, President Obama, as reported by Fox News through the New York Times said he was “Irritated” with one aide adding, “He doesn’t feel repudiated”.
Interesting choice of words…
Whether you are a liberal, conservative, moderate or even a progressive – know this – your/my words have significant meaning. Your and my words reveal our true heart just as a tell does to other players in a game of Texas Hold-Em poker.
In this case, for the president to say this one single word – Irritated – in response to an entire nation using the power of the electorate to clearly demonstrate their concern about the economy, the direction of the country and so much more is truly revealing.
So that we do not put words in the president’s mouth, let us put the spotlight on ourselves as leaders, to make the point.
Say you’re the leader of a company, organization or not-for-profit. Let’s use a not-for-profit for this example. You are responsible for a staff, board of directors, a bevy of donors and ultimately the people you’re trying to provide a valuable service to. Working till the wee-wee hours sometimes your job is immense and often spills over into other areas of your personal life. The task is daunting at times, but alas, you trudge through as only a dedicated and valuable leader could.
Yet along the way, your staff begins to pull away. Day by day, they become a little more distant. You can’t put your finger on “why”, it’s just happening.
Then your board of directors begins to question what you’re doing. In the beginning you were tight, but now, it’s as if you have to share every jot-and-tiddle of what you’re doing with them. The scrutiny is increasing and at some point you catch yourself saying in your head, “Is this really fair”?
Next, you lose a key donor or two. Significant donors who give generously and have been with you arm-in-arm. However, they just don’t seem fired up as they used to be. You ask them openly and as best you can describe it, they’re just “Meh”, not motivated by you or the organization. They’ve actually found another ministry to love and are firmly planted in their decision to support them.
Finally, client numbers are stagnant or worse yet, declining. You do your best homework to discover why and as far as you can tell the staff is working extra hard, the board is supporting the work and donations (while not their greatest) are supporting what you need to get done according to your vision. Yet, it’s just not happening. The impact you once you thought had is fleeting and people are going elsewhere to get like-minded help.
Now with all this happening it would be safe to say as a leader you could be:
However (this goes to the core of ALL OF US AS LEADERS) to say one is IRRITATED by all of this reveals a completely different position.
Frustrated – 1. disappointed; thwarted: 2. having a feeling of or filled with frustration; dissatisfied.
Irritated – 1. angered, provoked, or annoyed. 2. inflamed or made raw, as a part of the body.
Remember, words have meaning and they reveal our heart. As a leader of a company, organization or not-for-profit please reflect on President Obama’s response to the 2014 mid-term election and then yourself as a leader. What words are coming out of your mouth in response to all that is going on around you? What do the words coming out of your mouth reveal about the necessary changes you will need to make to improve things with A) your organization and B) yourself personally.
“The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is good; and the evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth what is evil; for his mouth speaks from that which fills his heart.
Luke 6:45 (NASB)
Think about it.