This week I was reminded how fragile things are. I attended a meeting of a group to which I belong (not a church gathering by the way). The meeting began positively and with a great spirit. In the midst of the gathering our secretary read a letter to the group that changed that spirit in an instance. More than that, the letter undid years of painstaking work to heal and rebuild the relationship between the group and its parent organization.
I tell this story because this change of spirit, this shift in course happened because someone who is a leader wrote a misguided paragraph that I am certain he believed was appropriate. Maybe he believed that he was being faithful to his duty or even helpful to us in this local group. Yet he wasn’t and the waves from this moment will continue to affect this group for a long time.
We who are leaders have an incredible privilege – whether we lead in the church, a club, a league, a society. We are given the opportunity to guide the future of an organization that we love. We have a moment to impact a group of people, large or small, for good. But these organizations are not mechanical systems like engines but living organisms composed of complex people.
I am pondering still this moment and what it means for this group I love. It makes me cautious. It makes me reflective. What I do and say as a leader – in the church, in my lodge, in my family for that matter – touches other people and affects them in ways I may not understand or even know.