The Faithful Pacesetters

Learning leadership from those who led in the Bible

Permitting Failure

Bible Character:  Elijah

Then you call on the name of your god, and I will call on the name of the Lord.  The god who answers by fire-he is God. 1 Kings 18:24

Why was Elijah, a prophet of God, encouraging the prophets of Baal to call on their pagan god?

Elijah knew that the only way the Israelites would authentically believe in the true God Almighty is if their god Baal failed them.  Elijah proceeded to build two altars, both piled with wood.  He asked the Baal worshipers to pray to their god, and have him light the fire.  After Baal failed, Elijah prayed to God Almighty, and suddenly his fire was lit.

Sometimes we need to do the same as leaders.

Don’t be a Dictator

One of the biggest temptations for a leader is to control every decision that is made.  Even if every decision a leader concluded was correct, sometimes the best learning experience for staff members is for their plans to fail.

If Elijah had simply built an altar, and had God start the fire, the Israelites would still not have believed.  He let them try their God first, that is the key to the experiment.  It’s hard to let staff members make a decision that is wrong, but sometimes that is more important to the long term success of the individual and the organization.

Be a Motivator

After letting someone make a mistake it’s important not to constantly remind them about it.  The whole objective is to try and develop engaged staff members.  Permitting the bad decision is hard to do, but don’t fall into the temptation of saying…”I told you so”.

None of us are perfect and all can learn from our mistakes.

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2 thoughts on “Permitting Failure

  1. “When I go I want to go out like Elijah…”

  2. Dawn, I personally think you have earned it! 🙂

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