a mixed bag

When I was a little kid, my mom would occasionally (OK, rarely) allow me to select some Brach’s Caramel Royals candies from the grocery store. It was a candy-junkie’s dream – an entire vat full of tooth-rotting treats. They sold the stuff by the pound but I never got a full pound. That’s because my mom knew I was a pig and would eat ALL OF IT, immediately. However, my gluttony served a practical purpose; my brothers would’ve eaten it all if I hadn’t. –

Connect this with a leadership observation. I receive a mixed bag of responses to my leadership responsibilities. Today I had three separate conversations with leaders who are of a different cultural background than me. These leaders were amazingly respectful and gracious. They made me feel important, they were careful to honor me as their leader. This sometimes happens to the point that I feel a bit uncomfortable. Conversely, I find that some folks I lead who share my ethnicity and cultural background are less likely to present themselves as respecting their leaders. Rudeness is sometimes not uncommon. And making the leader feel important is not always a top priority. It is truly a mixed bag.

I had a favorite Brach’s candy flavor – chocolate. I would eat the others first; the orange, the maple, the vanilla…, but save the best for last.

I also have a favorite response to my leadership – the nice one. I like positive. Supportive is good, as is cooperative. If I could choose, I would select respectful every time. It feels good to feel good. It could be tempting to gorge myself on my favorites. I may even want to “pick over” the flavors I am not crazy about. But it is a mixed bag. I have to learn to enjoy the not so gracious responses to my leadership as well as the gracious ones.

God, help me to appreciate the variety. Help me not to select only my favorites. Help me to value the not so great flavors. And help me not to pig out to the point that I get sick.

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