Pastor in the middle: Dont avoid conflict, avoid triangles

It's up to pastors to remind each other to talk to people instead of about them.

When my brother was a regional manager for a large corporation, a top-level executive came to visit him at his office. During the visit, my brother shared some of his ideas about the business. The executive responded, “Bixby, we do not pay you to think. We pay you to execute.”

The executive didn’t want to hear my brother’s ideas. He had given my brother responsibility without giving him any authority. When leaders do this—give people responsibility without authority—they’re saying that they don’t trust those people, and it keeps them from feeling that they’re part of a team.

My brother knew that he couldn’t change this dynamic, but he would have liked to be able to express an idea or a reaction. He was on the front lines of the business and was trying to share practical insights, not some global vision. Sharing authority does not mean letting go of the steering wheel. Yes, executive leaders need to be the captain of the ship, but they do not always need to have the last word, or in some cases, every word.