Today, I have decided to reprimand one of my staff because of insubordination.  It's a strong word.  But I am not sure if people really understand what it means and how it affects the one they behaved that way to.  The dictionary describes this word as, "Defiant to authority."  Defiant is another strong sounding word which means, "Open resistance.  Bold disobedience."

I have worked in this company for 2 years and have taken every single blow through mockery and ill-toned side comments against the department I have been trying to build from the ground up.  I have defended each and every member of my team and took a chance on each and every one of them.  I have tried to set up healthy work systems so that they will not have to deal with the pressure that other departments go through.  

I have treated them to lunches and dinners and have given them gifts that cost me my entire Christmas Bonus just so they can feel that they have been affirmed for their hard work because the company I work for does not give enough budget to give them more monetary rewards.  

I have listened to their woes and prayed over them when they drowned in their tears.  I have shared with them my heart and have honored how broken theirs is.  

Insubordination is the most painful thing a leader can experience.  It is the greatest display of disrespect.  It is like shoving all the work I've done to my face saying, "It does not mean a thing."  

I have tried to be Christ-like in all my ways.  Struggled with integrating my values into my work life because I don't  want to be the kind of leader who just orders people around.  I want to be the kind of leader who journeys with each and every member of the team and see them unfold and unleash their biggest potential.  Ordering people around is not fulfilling.  It's a power trip.  But journeying with them and developing a relationship with them is what matters most to me.  

I see these young people who have no clue about the bigger challenges of the work place.  I see them waste their time.  I see them half-heartedly punch the keys of their keyboard wrapped in the smugness of a rebel teen who hates the work they're doing.  I see them groggy during the morning after a night cap of drinks and nursing a hangover.  And they want to be affirmed that they are worth taking a chance on.  And they want to be recognized for the efforts they have put into.

I'm confused.  This puzzles me.  What has human nature become?  

Right now, I am nursing a leader's wound.  And as a leader, I will have to learn to get over it but not before I admit that it has greatly disappointed me.


  1. it's hard kathy. i've done it a few times, and sometimes i felt bad. but i can't let things that matter to me or to the betterment of the whole group go on the way side because someone doesn't care. these young workers ought to take a hard and good second look at you, they could learn a lot, only if they accept that humility is a good virtue to have.

  2. Sigh. Thanks for the vote of confidence Reni. I'm still wobbly along these steps but hopefully with much perseverance, I will walk on a bit more gracefully. :)

  3. I come here to be uplifted.

    You always have done that for me.

    Even today when you struggle with a leadership challenge and talk about the sad state of the young.

    We do live in a vale of tears and your writing makes them sweet tears :-)

  4. Hi Alexander, thank you. I didn't realize it that way. Your comments have always been very uplifting and much appreciated. :)

  5. I really hate confrontation, but sometimes it's unavoidable. :( In certain situations, it'd actually be cruel *not* to confront. I hope this person takes your words to heart.


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Lectio Divina | A Reflection on Yehuda Amichai's "The Amen Stone"

Writing Out Restlessness and Organic Creativity

Believing to See