This week I started to wonder what would the Olympics look like without judges.
How necessary are they really? Perhaps the athletes could do it themselves, diplomatically? They could get together and discuss each others’ routines; coming up with the deserving winner. Or perhaps, the coaching staff could discuss and delegate the medal winners? After all, coaches should be fairly trustworthy.
Alternately, they could always move to an electronic or text voting system in the stadium or at home, much like American Idol? I can just hear Ryan Seacrest saying, “Stay tuned to find out who will be your next (danananana) Olympic Idol?” Obviously, much like many American Idol contestants, this might bring out some pretty annoying behaviors from athletes. I can just see them trying to use hand-signals for their represented countries, mouthing their country name with fake smiles; much like American Idol contestants do with the number they represent. Yep, looks like judges are the best way to go!
As a spiritual leader, do I need judges? On that note, who judges a spiritual leader anyway? The quick response would be God does and that is true. God will definitely chose whether or not to lead a spiritual leader to success or failure. But what about our earthly judges? One may resolve to look at the popularity of one’s messages, books, podcasts, etc. However, that’s pretty fleeting since most of these people don’t know spiritual leader personally. Hence, they’re more like fans and/or critics than actual judges.
For me, I think the best judges are my staff. As a leader who works on a prominently volunteer staff, the first judge is whether or not I have staff. As Walter C. Wright notes in Relational Leadership, “The choice of the follower is critical. Unless the follower chooses to follow there is no leadership…” So according to Walter, I’m doing alright considering a few people follow me. But what about tangible scores on how I’m doing; much like a score card that an actual judge would complete on specific areas of my leadership? Can a spiritual leader get this kind of specific report, knowing that each staff member will be completely honest? I believe they can.
For those of you who do not know me, I started in the Hospitality & Tourism Industry prior to my ministry career. For a hotel, the comment card has long been a great resource to give the General Manager and staff an idea of how they are serving their guests. Furthermore, the option to leave the comment card blank is a key piece to this resource, as the guest can give their true feelings without the worry of a future conflict regarding the matter.
A few years ago, I decided to match a leadership survey with the hotel comment card and give one to each of my staff members. The goal was to obtain accurate scores on how I was doing as a leader. I specifically told them that I did not want them to include their names, so that I could make sure I was receiving their true thoughts and opinions. Much like the hotel comment card, I ask well-structured questions that addressed particular areas, but I also left a fair amount of space for additional comments.
If you are any type of leader and you do not have an anonymous way for your staff to give you information, you’re missing out. Sometimes our titles and positions as leaders make us unapproachable. It’s often not that we’re unapproachable people, or that we have weak staff. Our teams simply need to be asked for information in a fashion that feels comfortable. What is interesting is that since I have put this into practice, I have received many tough comments but most of the staff are willing to come clean of what they wrote. Once they formulated their thoughts into the comment card, they knew the cat was out of the bag! They were then empowered to articulate the situation and address it in a positive manner. These are the situations that prove to me that my staff make great judges!
When will you choose to be judged?