Sunday, November 16, 2008

stealing glances

Having a job where you are in the public eye can be weird sometimes. There are many challenges to being a public leader of an organization. These challenges are especially unique in the church.

Many such dangers are like a wolf in sheep's clothing. Sometimes people put you an a pedestal. Getting people's admiration is great. But being on a pedestal is also damaging. People put you up there only to see you fall. Inevitably you will end up not meeting up to someone's illegitimate expectations and then they will take it out on you. As you come crashing down, they think they are the one that got hurt, never realizing that by putting you on a pedestal, they were the beginning of the problem.

Besides the dangers of the pedestal, there are the dangers of the piercing gaze. One thing you can be sure about is that when you are in a public, visible position of leadership, many eyes will turn your way. You will get piercing eyes of many kinds.

Some will be judgmental eyes. They will watch your every move waiting for you to fail. These eyes will always see the worst in you and assume your motives are always bad.

Others will be eyes of attraction. You will find attractive people of the opposite sex stealing glances in your direction. Some will do this because they easily get crushes on people in the spotlight. This is why guys in bands tend to get girls.

Others will be enamored with the status of your leadership position. Your elevated "status" is attractive to them. And still others will just simply be attracted to you physically. Social scientists tell us that proximity increases attraction. So it follows that the more you are up in front of people, the more physically attractive you become. Just sheer exposure can increase attractiveness.

These various forms of "eyes of attraction" are particularly dangerous for public leaders. It's no mistake that we see many public leaders fall into sexual sin. Visible leaders, in the church as much as anywhere else, have to deal with a sea full of eyes turned in their direction. Sometimes this temptation can be a lot for a ego to handle.

Often the visible leader gets feedback from a mixture of people who either think too lowly of them or people who think too highly of them. Their critics are often way too hard on them and their admirers are often way too complimentary. This is why those who are leaders in the public eye need people who are close enough to them to tell them the truth.

They need to know when they are doing well and when they are screwing up. But they need this advice from a person to has a balanced view of them. They need to hear from someone who really knows them best. This is a key factor in a public leader's ability to find balance amidst the myriad of eyes.


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