Instead of seeing leadership as a hierarchy, we need to see it as a stream. People up stream and people downstream matter, but they have different roles.  The folks upstream may be in charge of decision making, but if they don’t consider those downstream, they can put up dams and stop the river up with rocks.  Those downstream talk to each other and create all sorts of havoc. A guy went to the teller at his bank and he noticed she was standing and fidgeting. She said her feet were hurting. He asked, “Why don’t you sit down and grab a chair?”  She said, “Somebody with a chair upstairs decided we didn’t need a chair.” The folks upstream decided the folks downstream didn’t need chairs, and now there are disgruntled employees. It’s a rule of thumb that the decisions upstream leaders make affect them the least. We need to understand that the collective wisdom of the group makes some of the best decisions. Wendell Berry is quoted as saying, “Do unto those downstream as you would have those upstream do unto you.” Jesus said, “Do to others as you would have them do to you” (Luke 6:31).
  • For discussion: how does this apply to those you lead in ministry, to your staff?  Where have you seen the people you lead put up dams?  What are the benefits of decision making that considers “the collective wisdom of the group?”