Published: 1 year ago

Are You Pandering?

If you lead in any capacity, you run the risk of pandering to the lowest common denominator.

Whether you’re a parent or a pastor, a manager or a middle school teacher, the temptation in leadership is to think about the perpetually dissatisfied person that you lead and cater all decisions to them.

As a father, I tend to do this. When a decision is being made that will affect the family – from where we go on vacation to what we’re having for dinner – I envision the one kid that will be least happy about the potential option and gear the conversation with their displeasure in mind.

As a leader, I often think about the volunteer(s) who will be most vocally opposed to a new strategy, and either water down the plan in order to pacify the perceived grievance, or start the explanation from an apologetic posture rather than a visionary one.

To be clear, I think it’s important to consider the different responses that a decision might bring, and plan accordingly. But when we automatically default to the negative, we fail to proclaim the positives. Worse, we sell our entire team short when we pander to the opposing minority which – by the way – may or may not exist.

Where are you pandering this week? Where do you need to infuse vision, rather than assuming a defensive posture?


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  1. Susie Rodgers says:

    Hmm, I’ve been caught. I finally had time to read this one and it wasn’t what I expected. By your examples, I’m amazed at how many times this small church choir director changes/apologizes/dumbs down or just generally anticipates trouble from my squeakiest wheels. And, how often I get angry about it before it ever happens. Thanks for the eye opener and a reminder for me to go back to the basics of why am I in this ministry.

  1. […] @leadershipfreak) This is a good tie-in to a recent post about pandering. How can we help bring our people […]

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