Do mercy and justice govern your discipline? (165-3)
Written by Barry-Werner on March 16th, 2011. Posted in Exhortation, Fairness, Integrity, Jeremiah, Leadership Principles, Old Testament, Personal Development, Relationships, Team Building.
Effective leaders exhort in such a way that valued team members know they are “safe” even during a time of discipline. Read Jeremiah 46:25-28.
The people of ancient Judah were in the midst of a time of discipline from God. Jeremiah had just prophesied concerning judgment for the small remnant of Jews that had left Judah and sought refuge in Egypt and he had prophesied concerning the fate of Egypt. In the midst of these prophecies of judgments and intense exhortations to change, God uses Jeremiah to show today’s leaders a model for exhorting those who fail.
In verses 27-28, God assured His people that the penalty for their disobedience would stand but added that mercy and justice would govern his discipline. The people knew they were safe, even though they were being disciplined. God demonstrated that He always cares for His people and desires the best for them. Through Jeremiah’s words God showed the people that their future, for good or for ill, depended on their response to His loving exhortation.
There are times when confrontation is the most loving act of a leader but few things are more difficult than exhorting or disciplining a valued teammate. There is a risk that they will not receive discipline with a spirit that fosters growth; there is a risk they may simply leave; and there is a risk that they may remain but no longer trust your leadership. Yet, failure to confront, exhort and discipline ultimately will destroy a leader’s ability to lead.
The following are just a few elements that will help leaders when they must exhort and discipline teammates:
Make sure your actions are for the good of the teammate not based on a selfish or controlling attitude in your own heart.
Get to the root of the problem to make exhortation and discipline effective. Sometimes behavior and attitude are only symptoms of a character issue.
Limit the discipline to levels that are appropriate for the offense.
Be fair. Show no favoritism or prejudice.
Insure the one being disciplined knows the offense that generated the disciplinary process and the action that will make corrections for the future.
Let the teammate know that their future depends on their actions.
Insure those being disciplined know there is a path to full restoration.
Give hope and encouragement during the process while maintaining the understanding that the full disciplinary action must be completed.
Keep your word concerning restoration if the disciplinary process is successfully completed.
Let the successfully completed discipline restore trust. Don’t withhold assignments or send obvious or subtle reminders of the past problem if the teammate has been faithful to make necessary changes.
Wise leaders know that exhortation and discipline used in a God-honoring way are sometimes the most loving act they can offer to their team.