key component of quintessential leadershipI recently heard a discussion that contrasted the way God and Jesus Christ interact with humanity now (the terms “hands off” and “choice” – or free will – were used interchangeably) and the way the Bible says they will interact with humanity in the future (the term “hands on” was used).

Words are important. The way we construct and present words to present ideas are important. And the way we define relationships (such as similarity and contrasts) with words is important.

Equally important is whether we listen, how we listen, and whether we are critically thinking about what we hear or we just accept it at face value as being accurate.

Quintessential leaders pay very close attention to both sides of this equation at all times.

Therefore, for example, if someone sets up a contrast, then they present two opposite things. If  interchangeable words are used on one side of the contrast, then there are, either expressly stated or implied, interchangeable words on the other side of the contrast. Since it’s a contrast, the words (stated or implied) on each side are opposites of each other.

So, in the discussion I talked about above, if “hand’s off” equals “choice” (which was expressly stated) then, in contrast, “hand’s on” implicitly equals “no choice.” And the lack of choice equals force.

But is that true?

Is it accurate?

And is it consistent with the written record we have that shows how God and Jesus Christ (whom we are repeatedly assured are consistent, don’t lie, and have the same character and characteristics forever) have interacted with humanity, who they created, from the beginning?

The answer is “no.” While I could go to many places in the Bible to prove this, I will use the first example I immediately thought about to refute this, which is in Genesis 4:3-7.

The conversation (and I have no doubt it was a lengthy one but we just see the summary here) between the Lord and Cain shows explicitly how God and Jesus Christ lead humans and what that relationship has looked like, looks like, and will always look like.

The Lord (I AM in the Old Testament and Jesus Christ in the New Testament) had the ability to force Cain to do the right thing. But He didn’t do that.

Instead, He laid out the big picture of the framework within which Cain had to operate. He educated Cain on the options he had and what the consequences of executing those options were. Then He coached Cain on which option would lead to a successful outcome.

But Cain had to choose which option he wanted to pursue. Why?

force unquintessential leadershipForce can get the results a leader wants, but while force may win the battle, it loses the war.

A person who is forced to do something, whether by fear, intimidation, coercion, or bullying, is passively participating, but they have no investment, no commitment, no heart, soul, and mind conviction behind their actions. 

Using force puts all the accountability and responsibility on the shoulders of the person exerting the force.

Finally, force requires a total shutdown of logic, reasoning, and critical thinking (all attributes that humans were created with and are expected to use). Essentially, force creates rote action accompanied by suspension of all the unique elements of our brains and our consciences that make us human. 

In other words, force creates the same superficial and unknowing conditioned responses in humans that Pavlov’s famous experiments created in dogs.

choice quintessential leadershipWhen choices are presented, on the other hand, they require active participation on the part of the people they are presented to. Choices carry responsibility and accountability, and they require logic, reasoning, critical thinking, and action.

Not all choices carry the same weight and, therefore, may not require a total heart, soul, and mind investment and commitment (for example, choosing between eggs and toast or cereal for breakfast), but all choices, when they are executed, have some level of investment and commitment.

Choices also create a partnership between leaders and their teams. There are obligations on both sides and there are rewards on both sides. One of the greatest rewards can be growth as good choices are made that lead to greater progress and productivity, resulting in successful outcomes for everyone.

Even bad choices serve a vital purpose. They help us to learn what not to do the next time. As we deal with the accountability and responsibility of the consequences of bad choices, it spurs us to critically think about what we did that led to those consequences and to think about what we will change in the future to produce different – and, hopefully, better – results.

God and Jesus Christ are the epitomes of quintessential leadership and the models we as human quintessential leaders strive to perfectly and totally emulate in who we are, what we are, how we are, and how we lead.

So, choice or force: which is quintessential leadership?

Comments
  1. […] I’ve said before, forcing people to do something may seem to work in the short-term, but it is not leadership nor is […]

  2. […] a previous post, I asked whether choice or force was the methodology of quintessential leadership. Now I want to […]

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