When those around Him saw what was going to happen, they said to Him, “Lord, shall we strike with the sword?” And one of them struck the servant of the high priest and cut off his right ear. But Jesus answered and said, “Permit even this.” And He touched his ear and healed him. (Luke 22:49-51 NKJV)
Every good leader wants team members who are competent, trustworthy, self-starters that don’t require a lot prodding to get things done. But sometimes those team members can go too far and the leader must take corrective action. How do you handle it?
Jesus dealt with a similar situation involving his disciples. One of them, Peter, cut off the ear of a servant of the high priest when a group came to arrest Jesus. Instead of embarrassing or berating his disciples, Jesus corrected the action without harming them and healed the servant. From his example we can learn a few tips for correcting our teams.
Know the Situation
Jesus was fully aware of the situation that led to his disciples’ actions. This knowledge was crucial to determining the appropriate response. Leaders should never make disciplinary decisions based on assumptions. Assuming in correction makes the leader look self-centered, incompetent, and uncaring in the eyes of the team. Gather as many facts as possible to help you make an objective decision.
Correct the Action
When Jesus spoke after the man’s ear was cut off, he didn’t try to punish his disciple. Instead, he corrected their actions. When we set out to “fix” a problem we’re often tempted to project our frustrations toward a person. When we give in to this temptation we end up bruising the person which could slowly deteriorate the working relationship in the future. Instead, we should give grace with correction. We should use the correction as a teachable moment. We should speak the truth but do it in love so our team members won’t lose their confidence and we won’t lose their trust.
Leverage Your Power
In this case a man’s ear was cut off and only Jesus had the power to heal him. For leaders, there will be times when our team members will create problems they are not qualified or equipped to handle. For these times, it’s important for us to step up and exercise our authority for the good of everyone involved. It may cost us initially but we gain in the long run. By stepping into the situation we can appease and retain disgruntled clients or members, mend broken relationships, and avoid future damages.
No matter how bad the mistake or the problem, at the end of the day leaders must still value and honor their team members. We must do our best to separate the person from the actions by extending love and grace.