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Greetings dear friends & welcome to my world again this week. In my last two articles, I spoke of our witnessing an unprecedented social experiment, & perhaps with the odd exception, a powerful way to experience unity in community. As the world responds to the fast changing & ever growing threats of Covid-19. All around us change is happening with a willingness & enthusiasm often described as unprecedented.

Accordingly, in these strange times something different is going to happen. You can count on it. It is inevitable. It is absolutely certain. As sure as the sun will come up in the morning, if you are a leader, someone you know will have a disastrous moral failure.  When I talk about moral failure, it could be related to finances or some other breach of ethical behaviour.  

We have seen it so much in recent years it should not surprise us any longer… But it still does. I think part of the reason we are surprised is because we are usually blindsided by it. We do not usually get any advance notice. Most often there is not a gradual awareness. We are just rocking along, focusing on our job at hand & then BOOM. An unexpected hurricane hits & we never saw it coming.  

Because we do not see what happens in secret, we can be lulled into a false sense of security no one is in the midst of an impending disaster. But when it becomes known, it is a wake-up call. It is a sobering reminder all of us are very human & very flawed. Every single one of us are vulnerable & our power to self-deceive is incredibly strong. I am susceptible… & you are susceptible. Do not be naïve or arrogant about what you are capable of.  

It will be a devastating storm for the person & potentially for your organization. So, if we are wise, we will look down the road & see moral failure will at some point impact our team. The hurricane is on the way. And, we will proactively need to make the necessary preparation.

One of the ways we prepare is to own our leadership responsibility when a hurricane hits. We do not get to outsource this. We do not get to leave town & let somebody else worry about the hurricane. No, we ride out the storm & then dig in to help with the clean-up.

In this age of extreme tolerance, the thought of judging anyone makes me squirm. It is helpful to distinguish between judging & being judgmental. To be judgmental is to have an attitude of condemnation, contempt, & derision. To be judgmental is to look down your nose at someone. It is the feeling we are “more than” & the other person is “less than”.  [1]

It is very different than having to carry out the function of a judge. When I think of a judge, I think of someone who has been granted authority & whose job it is to uphold the law & hold people accountable. The best judges carry out their duties without being judgmental.

Many of the young people I see & deal with today have grown up in a time when we have not talked much about these hard issues. Therefore, when the inevitable hurricane of moral failure hits a team, there is often devastation, confusion, misunderstanding, & anger.

No matter how much teaching you do, & no matter how gently you deal with the person & the situation, you can expect people to think you are being harsh & condemning. In this Age of Tolerance, any kind of discipline or removal from leadership will be misunderstood.

By the way, the worst time to teach on this is in the middle of the hurricane.

Just like an actual hurricane, no amount of preparation will eliminate the damage, but good preparation can minimize the damage. You need a plan. It is my hope this article will help you create a well-defined plan for dealing with a moral failure on your team.

I hope my comments each week are helpful dear readers; & again, provide just an opinion, from my world. Thank you for taking the time to be with me, I hope my journey may encourage you also. This is Kenn Butler in Paradise, Nelson. With my best wishes, I look forward to connecting with you again soon.

[1] Lance Witt the author of the book Replenish, which is dedicated to helping leaders live & lead from a healthy soul.

Kenn Butler
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