The tension in relationships around the world and in every sphere of society has escalated to an unprecedented level. Most of us are so frustrated with the leadership around us that we don’t know what to do and where to start in healing the brokenness in our cultures. Today I’m going to ask you to consider 2 Cultural Lies that may be keeping you from engaging.
Premise – It’s not what you’ve done or what’s been done to you that keeps you bound… It’s the lies associated with those things.
Cultural Lie #1
Those in power are the most corrupt. (Truth – many of us have been hurt by those who are corrupt in positions of power, authority and influence.)
While many of us have been and continue to be disappointed in leaders in every sphere of influence – trust in leaders and as leaders must be established and cultivated if we are going to address corruption and dysfunction at any level.
You may be familiar with this statement from Lord Acton – “Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” The only way to break the lie associated with Cultural Lie #1 is to submit God, the highest power. Where power and love are synonymous – justice prevails. Where the scales of justice are tilted toward a corrupt bias and personal gain – corruption reigns.
When we submit to Jesus, the Lord Acton quote transforms into something like this…
“Power is not corrupt. God is absolute power. And that power is love. Power loves! And absolute power loves absolutely. Power is forgiveness and absolute forgiveness, forgives absolutely.”
Now filter Cultural Lie #1 through this thought = If you have influence with at least one person – that makes you a leader. Based on that truth (assuming you believe it’s true) – where is the corruption in your leadership? Not anyone else’s – yours. Based on the understanding of absolute love and absolute forgiveness – how’s your power (leadership influence) being demonstrated?
There’s a good possibility that you’re thinking – ‘But how does that address the corruption in the leaders over me?’ Great question! It may not, unless you believe you can demonstrate the kind of leadership they need to see. The hard part about becoming a demonstration of unconditional love and forgiveness is that you have to go first (take personal responsibility) and you may never get the same demonstration (reciprocity) returned back to you.
Cultural Lie #2
That two uniquely different types of people, with different values and beliefs (often called cultures) cannot work together and honor each other. (Truth – much of the conflict we experience in our relationships has come out of fear, misunderstanding and lack of relational trust.)
In the West – one of the things that has created this current climate of distrust and accusation is the inability to confront directly with the unconditional love and forgiveness talked about above. Remember, based on the first Cultural Lie – the first place of confrontation is with ourselves.
I have blind spots. Ready… you have blind spots. Whew! Got that out of the way. What I don’t have – or I should say – What I didn’t use to have in my life were people who loved me enough to tell me when my life was hurting them, myself and others. I do now.
In order for others to feel safe enough to share things they observe in you that could hurt you and others – they have to feel that it’s safe to approach. Have you ever asked someone to tell you what they think of you? To evaluate you? If not, I can pretty much say that you have little positive influence.
When leaders distance themselves either above or apart from those they lead or have influence with they create differences. It is these differences that can become barriers for separation. Many of those barriers are false assumptions based on limited information. Many of those barriers are perceptions based on revealed behaviors that contradict what is often said by those individuals. While we all say words matter (and they do), it is the incongruent behavior that reinforces Cultural Lie #2.
If you want to bring about transformation with uniquely different people you have to be on the cutting edge of personal transformation first. Sorry… I wish there was another way.
Reality – All transformation begins with personal transformation.
Cultures and organizations are places where two or more people are in relationship with each other. The greatest way to set fresh foundations for trust and cohesiveness is by knowing that person and creating appropriate expectations.
In TL (Transformational Leadership) we do it by building clarity for engagement. Clarity – what do you want out of this? Engagement – what would allow us to show up and show out with the same understanding, potential investment and desired results?
We have a process that we call the Social Covenant. In this process we unpack two simple but transformational questions –
- When we’re together – how do we want to treat each other?
- Assuming we can agree on how we want to treat each other – what will we do when one of us fails the original expectation / agreement?
Look friends, bottom line – Relationships equal Conflict. The only way to raise the bottom line is to invest in a powerful new reality that allows for unconditional love and forgiveness to be the values we seek and contribute to everyday in every way with everyone.
Patrick McBane is a Lead Trainer – Relationship Manager for FSH Strategy Consultants and Transformational Leadership. Patrick can be reached at email@example.com. This article was adapted from “Developing Cohesive Cultures – Anywhere.”
Transformational Leadership helps you identify, address and remove personal, team and process constraints. Removing these constraints allows transformation to occur and encourages healthy, trusting relationships to grow.
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