The ethics of the man or women in charge are easy to read; just look at the actions of the people who work with and for the leader. As I look reflectively at society’s recent past up through today there are clear patterns that weave themselves with the leaders at the top directly reflecting the intricacies. The industry does not seem to matter, the patterns spans all of them! Country and embedded culture can change however the pattern is still quite obvious. Socialist, democratic, theocracy, communist, and dictatorships all follow a weave based on the one at the top.
Wisdom’s note plays out clearly. “When good people are promoted, everything is great, but when the bad are in charge watch out!” (Proverbs 28.12) Yet Wisdom is silent in any immediate commentary as to our response to the situation. Are there clear principles that we can and should apply? Is there a mandate that is laid on our shoulders long before we became aware of the situation? Is action always called for?
Let me gently suggest several key points.
1. There is a clear difference between our accountability for the impact of leadership and our responsibility for our personal behavior. Individually we are fully accountable; it is far less clear what role we play in an organization or team.
2. Part of everyone’s mission is to live and model Divine’s pattern of relationship response, regardless of the situation or the cost. I cannot find an automatic extension of this principle anywhere that suggests everyone is called to confront leadership in every situation and without regards to the price that will be paid.
3. Confronting “bad” leadership is dangerous. “Watch out!” Be careful. Standing up to leader through positive behavior is one thing; direct confrontation is quite another. Make sure you believe, feel, and can touch your conviction of the pending action before you take it!
Rotten apples exist in every organization. Some are in key positions. The question is not that they exist but what we will do in response. Remember the apple could be you!