The Small Demonstrations of Disloyalty

February 9, 2010 - Mac Lake - Leadership
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I’ve never served under a leader that I agreed 100% with everything he or she said or did.  My guess is you’re experience has been the same.  But agreement is not the basis of loyalty.  Loyalty is rooted in relationship and respect regardless of differing opinions, approaches or philosophies. 

Disloyalty generally develops slowly and subtly slips it’s way into a persons character.  It expresses itself through pseudo commitment, self-promotion and slanderous comments that ultimately dismantles people’s confidence in the leader.   It’s not always obvious and outright, in fact it’s more commonly understated and simple.  This was the approach Absalom took when he began to undermine his father David’s leadership.  2 Samuel 15:2-6 tells us,

Absalom would get up early and stand by the side of the road leading to the city gate. Whenever anyone came with a complaint to be placed before the king for a decision…Absalom would say to him, “Look, your claims are valid and proper, but there is no representative of the king to hear you.” 4 And Absalom would add, “If only I were appointed judge in the land! Then everyone who has a complaint or case could come to me and I would see that he gets justice.”  5 Also, whenever anyone approached him to bow down before him, Absalom would reach out his hand, take hold of him and kiss him. 6 Absalom behaved in this way toward all the Israelites who came to the king asking for justice, and so he stole the hearts of the men of Israel.

This took place over a four year period of time and slowly but surely Absalom dismantled the people’s confidence in David’s leadership.  While it’s not likely that you’re planning on overthrowing the Senior Pastor at your church or CEO of your organization we still have to be careful in our daily interactions to demonstrate flawless loyalty to our leaders.  Simple phases like, “I wouldn’t do it that way but…”, “I’m not sure why he chose to go that direction” OR “Her decision didn’t make any sense to me” can have destructive effects on the leader of your organization.   While these phrases may sound like a simple expression of opinion it’s also a subtle expression of disloyalty that undermines others confidence in the leader.

What do you need to do this week to reinforce loyalty to your leader and organization?

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Mac Lake

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15 responses to The Small Demonstrations of Disloyalty

  1. That blog is great!!!!! Thank you for sharing.

  2. Thanks for the write up. It is true that disloyalty starts out subtly and seemingly unnoticeable. Encountered it within our church this quarter and within my workplace the whole year last year. I believe Christ’s followers should be be doubly careful about this. There are grave consequences according to the Bible for those who undermine the leadership and person of God-appointed leaders.

  3. Thanks for your comment Bob, it’s true as believers we must be aware that people are watching us closer than we think. Our attitude, good or bad, can be contagious throughout the organization.

  4. Hate to say it, but, our President is our God-appointed leader. That’s the hardest one for me and most Christians right now.

  5. Loyalty goes both ways. It’s a relationship.

    And I love the president.

  6. Great, great thoughts Mac!

  7. I’m not a church leader…just a layperson…but your blog post really comes across to me completely opposite your likely intent.

    I understand how disloyalty can undermine a leader…but your example of Absalom shows someone deliberately attempting to create disloyalty with the intent of taking over the Kingdom. He was starting his coup. I see that as an incredibly different situation than a staff member who questions some decisions made by the senior pastor.

    For example, if the senior pastor of a church is spending thousands of church dollars on fancy cars only they drive or spending every other weekend flying to speak at events on the church’s dime I would want a staff member to speak up and ask if that is really the wisest way to spend the church’s funds. (I.E. could the conference be picking up the tab for the pastor’s appearance? Why wasn’t a nice, new four door Chevy at half the cost of what was purchased sufficient for the needs of the pastor and his family?)

    The post just reads to me like someone saying we should never question the leaders and their decisions. If a senior leader is making decisions that reflect poorly on the church, are you saying it’s better to resign and leave the church to falter rather than speaking up?

  8. I was simply looking over my twitter tweets this morning and I came across a link for this…and as much as I hate to admit this….I hardly ever read them. I am so glad that I did.

    I am a pastor’s wife and for years I have had it set in my mind what loyalty truly means. I can honestly say, that I have expected A LOT from not only my husband, but others where loyalty is concerned.

    Thanks to your article, I realize that I need to humbly seek forgiveness for my lack of loyalty at times towards my husband and other people that are serving in a leadership position. Thank you so much for this thought provoking article. I totally GET the message that you are trying to convey. Great job!

  9. @Jason – Man it sounds like you need to spend a little more time with God in prayer so He can help you let go of some anxiety towards your pastor. Maclake clearly stated: “While it’s not likely that you’re planning on overthrowing the Senior Pastor at your church or CEO of your organization we still have to be careful in our daily interactions to demonstrate flawless loyalty to our leaders.”
    Your rebuttal comes from a place of offense, instead of being unbiased and taking the lesson. The Bible’s recollections don’t have to fit a situation exactly for God to make a point. He recently reminded me Noah’s life as an answer to whether I should leave the company I’m with for a “better opportunity.” What does the flood, the ark, and a dove have to do with corporate america?
    That being said, your questions are valid. Yet the Bible is clear on how we are to deal with leaders, good or bad, Christian or heathen, if that is who God has placed over us then we are to follow because ultimately God is the leader. What if he tells you to do something wrong? of course you don’t do it. What if she is doing something against God? First you need to ask God what to do and if you feel impressed, or you are flat out told to speak TO THAT LEADER then that’s what you do. God is able to hold His own. Didn’t He say that He sets up kings and takes them down? Hasn’t He shown that to be the case?
    Whispering in the ears of others about the wrong being done doesn’t help the situation at all. Everybody isn’t as strong as you to handle seeing a Christian leader going astray. Be wise as a serpent and harmless as a dove, man. Find some prayer warriors in your church that are willing to go to God about the issues that you see. It’s apparent that you are devastated by his behavior. The song says, “…Oh, what peace we often forfeit, Oh, what needless pain we bear, All because we do not carry Everything to God in prayer!”

    @maclake – dude, kudos to you for bringing this out. As men it is especially hard for us to follow either an incompetent leader or an evil one. Yet, the Word shows us over and over again what God expects out of us as His children: David under Saul, Joseph under Egypt, Daniel under numerous dynasties, Christians under Rome…
    I especially needed to be reminded of this today. I’ve been on a roller coaster of being positive to being negative to being neutral about the seemingly chaotic leadership of the organization God has placed me in. Humility wasn’t a strong suit for me, yet I’ve found in learning to be humble and to lean on God I’ve become stronger. yes the subtle complaints come out: “why would they do that,” “what are they thinking,” “Is she serious,” “It would be easier/better if we…” And being the only professed Christian in the group I am looked at more and my attitude does have more sway. Even when people come to my office to complain it’s more to vent and to gain encouragement than to have company in the misery. So, I am learning to take my complaints to our Father as they come so that I’m able to give my coworkers encouragement and my leaders the proper boost that they need in the eyes of the people. If the leader is as whack as we imagine, he doesn’t need any help from us to continue looking bad.

    Just Christ

  10. Awesome article. Great information too.
    God bless!

  11. @reid: You made me laugh hard, dude…I have absolutely no problem with my pastor! 🙂 Valid questions can be asked without problems with your pastor. 🙂

  12. Yes, I do believe that sometimes we might have to question things. Not long ago, I, with shaky feet, called to speak with my minister. I have never done this ever before, but I was very troubled my own self and had heard one or two comments from different people, it was as if I were being pushed to do this. He had said “I am so disgusted with you people,” which he repeated 3 times, louder each time, even pointing his fingers to the audience. I later was told that there plans were being made to get rid of him. I went in and asked what he meant by being disgusted—did we not dance around when singing (we have a prayer and praise service where this is done), I just couldn’t imagine what he meant. Obviously no one else had approached him, as he just shook his said in disbelief, saying he just didn’t think the church was growing spiritually enough and not enough new members being brought in. I told him one thing I had learned in life was a soft voice turneth away wrath, that encouraging us to do better might work out better, that we cannot expect things to happen on our time schedule…that if we are doing God’s will, we should not be expecting instant results…God works on His own time schedule.
    The next week the church board met with him and decided to work with him for a year. I do not know what what will be the outcome, but I have seen what seems to be an humbling of himself. I do hope the vote is to keep him.

  13. Mac,
    Thanks for the teaching. It’s spot on. A result of subtle wandering of alignment with the leader often eventually causes people to focus on what THEY THINK the vision and goals are vs. their God appointed leader. According to a recent Harvard Review article, research shows that a full 37% of employee (members of an organization) activity is not aligned with overall organizational strategy.

  14. Right on bro. Great practical advice with solid Biblical backing my man! Sounds like a new sermon for me! Appreciate your ministry bro!

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