Autonomy Under Authority


Luke 6:39b-40  “A blind man cannot guide a blind man, can he? Will they not both fall into a pit? A pupil is not above his teacher; but everyone, after he has been fully trained, will be like his teacher. …”

Over the weekend I had an epiphany:  when my boss tells me a procedure, I dare not go into robot mode.  I’m to take the extra beat to bring my skills to the table; to fill in the gaps.

My usual modus operandi is to obey authority.  To my detriment (even shame), I’ve often done so, blindly.  In praying about this job, and specifically that my brain would engage, my amazing God gave me that weekend epiphany:  authority structure is divinely instituted, and thereby good; it’s the definition that can be corrupted.  So yesterday went well.  I wasn’t stepping on toes or stepping out of line, I was stepping right in.  And guess what?  We all got more done!

Over the years, I’ve worked with many different styles of leaders.  Some are happy to have me fly solo; others are micro-managers.  Some appreciate feedback; others consider it a personal affront, as if the subordinate is being divisive or headstrong.

Now that I think about it, whenever there was a struggle over pecking order, a lot less got accomplished.  To see this illustrated in spades, just look at the government’s political system.

As a Temp, most of my placements will be under construction.  This is the perfect venue to remember that blindly obeying is not at all efficient.  In fact, every venue in life is under construction.  God is the Foreman, and I’ve got news for you: not a single one of His managers is perfect.  I guess that’s why my job title is administrative support.

The best leaders—in all walks of life—don’t blindly wield authority.  The best workers don’t blindly follow it; we welcome each others’ knowledge and insight.  The goal is doing things rightly; pleasing the owner; the president; the Foreman.

This reminds me of driving a car.  If you glaze your eyes over at the pretty license plate in front of you, you take the risk that he isn’t texting.  [People! Don’t do that!]  If nobody’s watching the road, you both might end up in the pit.  (And I’m not talking about pot holes.)


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