Are You a Drain to Your Leader

In the movie Apollo 13, we saw a fictional account of the rescue of four American astronauts. After suffering severe damage that brought an end to their original mission, and threatened their safe return to earth, we watched as the men and women of NASA worked passionately and diligently to bring our astronauts home safely. One of the obstacles that needed to be overcome was eliminating everything electrically that was not necessary and draining much needed energy.

Are you an unnecessary drain on your leader? Do you always pull from? Does he or she see you coming and mutter something in frustration? Sometimes we, as subordinates, need to ourselves from the other side of the desk. Leaders do not have an endless supply of time or energy. When they were placed in their positions, their duties did not get easier, they became harder, they must lead me and you.

Don’t be high maintenance. Every leader at some point in has had to deal with subordinates that are too high maintenance. They are shop clowns, locker room lawyers, independent contractors, pundits, and drama queens. Oh, and whiny babies, we don’t want to leave them out lest they, well they become whinny. These catchy titles I just mentioned can be placed into three types of people. The Mocker or Scoffer, the Rebel and the Fool.

In every one of these, the root cause is pride. Proverbs 21:24 tells us that, “Mockers are proud and haughty; they act with boundless arrogance. Likewise with the fool, they find no satisfaction, no enjoyment in wisdom or understanding, they only want to speak their own mind or thoughts. (Prov. 18:2) The Rebel, well their hearts are bent toward resistance of all authority. Whether in covert defiance, or blatant disobedience, the pride of their heart leads them to destruction.

In the mocker are the locker room lawyers, pundits, and drama queens. These bring repeated emotional distress and annoyance to a leader by their contempt in actions and words. These continually question a leader and his directions, and by making fun of or twisting truth to make their leader or his ideas look stupid. Always thinking themselves as right, they stir up drama among co-workers which only adds more voices to the leader’s ears.

With the foolish a leader is saddled with one that understands, but simply doesn’t want to comply. Out for her own benefit, pleasure, or attention from others the fool acts out and shows no concern for the consequences. The fool is a ticking time bomb for a leader, a liability from which there is little protection. When this one’s behavior reaches the ears of senior leaders, it is the leader that pays the price. Here we find the shop clowns.

Before turning to the rebellious, I want to offer an attitude I have held for many years, and it came by way of a mentor of mine.  In my thirty plus years in my trade, I have met many all these types. Any one of these can be a detriment to a team, but the rebellious in my opinion is the most damaging.

“Give me an average welder, who will show up on time, do what he is told and not cause a bunch of drama, over a hot shot any day.”

These words spoken by a former supervisor of mine sum up the desire of many leaders today. I want to focus on one part of his statement, and that is, “Do what he is told”. Here we see the Independent Contractor. These want their own head, or want to do what they want, when they want, and how they want to do it.  One of the first tests we all face as subordinates is the authority test. Every one of us learned to…before I continue, I should warn you, I am going to write a dirty word… submit. To some that word submit is like cussing. Some upon hearing that word bow up in their hearts. Submit, submission, and obey are words that reveal a person’s heart attitude toward authority.

Some view submission as weakness or bondage. Pride deceives them with the lie that the way to higher is never found in lowliness of servitude. This attitude does not allow them to perform more than the minimum requirement. They see their leader as one that is always taking from them, instead of one with whom they serve and give for their organization’s success. Instead of asking why, as employees we don’t submit, why we would mock and scoff, why we would act the part of a fool?  I want to offer some of the benefits of submission to authority. These benefits are the fruit of your sowing into or adding value to your leadership.

Prosperity comes. Being in proper submission to your organization’s leaders means you can continue to come to work and receive a paycheck. In some cases, there are bonuses or rewards. Peace is enjoyed not only for your leader but is experienced by you and your co-workers. You avoid always being entangled in contentions and unnecessary confrontations.

Promotion awaits the one who’s in submission to the leadership. There is a truth in leadership that those that would lead others, must first be in submission themselves. Another way of saying this is that to be a good leader, you first must have been a good follower.

Protection and freedom are afforded to the one in proper submission to their leader. They will find that their leader will be quick to defend them against unwarranted accusations. When situations do arise, those that have been quick to obey, are quicker to receive mercy.

I will close with, wait a minute, I almost left out the whinny babies again. These are always complaining and moping around the shop or office. They believe that they are always being mistreated and that they always get the hard and difficult tasks. They are miserable and seek the company of others in their unproductive pity parties.

Don’t add grief to your leader’s day, bring some joy! Endeavor not to be a drain that deprives your leader of strength and energy. Attempt to add value to your leader. Be positive both in your words and actions.