My natural tendency is to be a people pleaser. I don’t feel good when someone disagrees with me. Recently I was talking with a friend who challenged a statement made by my church. It was regarding a practice of the church that we believed was scripturally accurate, but he was not willing to agree to this statement. I realized that I was trying really hard to come up with at solution so that he would be satisfied. I was trying to please him, rather than stand true to a statement we had made and believed to be biblically accurate. There was no reason for me to try to please him except that I like this guy and didn’t want to feel like there was disagreement between us.
Any leader needs to realize the value of being considerate and finding ways to get people to follow, but we cannot lead from a position of pleasing people first.
Know What You Believe.
I realized that I was a little unsure in this conversation. I was being asked to support a statement that I hadn’t given a lot of thought to. I believed it to be true, but when questioned, my first thought was to figure out how to make him happy rather than about showing him why I believed this statement.
I realized that I needed to be clear on what I believed. My job as a leader was not first to make him feel good about this statement but to show why we believed it was biblical and one worth following. Yes, I wanted him to agree – and I wanted him to feel good about it and accept it as worthwhile. But I should have begun with a desire to protect the truth of the statement rather than trying to please him.
If you know what you believe, then you know what to stand up for.
Know Why You Believe it is True.
Not only did I need to believe the statement was one that we should live by, I needed to know why. The more we understand the why of something, the easier it is to stand up for it. When there are certain expectations in our church or organization that we don’t agree with, it is hard to stand up for them. If we believe them, it may help to also know why we believe them to be worth operating by.
Sometimes the “why” can help us explain it to those who are questioning us. If I am convinced of the value of something, I will be more likely to stand up for it instead of trying to downplay it with the hope the person I am speaking with will agree with me.
Know What You Will Do if Someone Disagrees with You.
Not everyone you encounter will agree with you on certain issues. Even the people in your organization, and your friends, will not always see eye-to-eye with you on everything. What then?
Sometimes it is easier to try to please the person, and we end up being wishy-washy, always changing our minds according to whom we are talking with.
Sometimes it is easier to fight for what we believe and stand for, with the risk of losing relationships.
We need to find a way to balance, standing up for what we believe and our desire to be in a good relationship with people. Ideally, we convince our friend to agree with us, or realize they were right. And we have maintained our relationship.
Unfortunately, we will have disagreements where we cannot convince someone to change their mind and agree with us. We need to figure out how to continue to have good relationships with people who see things differently than we do. This will not always be easy. Some relationships will not continue. Even if relationships fall apart, maintain a proper love and respect for the other person. Sometimes we will not be able to maintain our integrity and our relationships at the same time. Then part in as amiable manner as possible.
We will always come across people we disagree with. Let’s ensure we stand up for what we believe even as we value the relationships we have.
Keep looking up,