The Addiction Condition
Okay, here it is, a condition that describes almost everyone I’ve ever met.
“Addiction is a primary, chronic disease of brain reward, motivation, memory and related circuitry. Dysfunction in these circuits leads to characteristic biological, psychological, social and spiritual manifestations.” ~ American Society of Addiction Medicine
Everyone I’ve ever met?
Yep, everyone. We all at one time or another have medicated our pain in ways that are destructive, debilitating, and, perhaps, job threatening. For me, one would be snacking until midnight and that’s just for starters. You may be relieved, however, to know that I’m not going to shame myself nor you at this party!
Leadership addictions may be a bit more subtle than most of the more notable and dangerous ones, but they are real. Here’s the short list.
Leaders want to leave a legacy of doing things well. It is a value that particularly drives church musicians and it is not altogether a bad thing.
Here’s the problem, though, slavish and driven behaviors of any kind have—built into them—a list of dangers that go something like this. These leaders…
• sometimes work over the top of other people’s best interests,
• sometimes believe that their view of excellence is the ONLY view of excellence.
• sometimes take shortcuts to attain their goals.
There’s nothing wrong with excellence—that is unless it costs others their place at the table. I’ve seen it happen and I’ve been guilty of it.
Keeping up a good front is mother’s milk to leaders. Not wanting to disappoint their constituencies with human failings and weakness, they often “pretend” to be more adequate than the reality.
They fall in traps like believing that…
• their work is more important than the work of others. One colleague even suggested that it was her “butter ministry” that gave flavor to everyone else’s “bread ministries.”
• they are sure that they are driving the agenda of the church in areas like growth. hipness, etc. If I hear from one more church musician that they feel that their pastor “just doesn’t get it,” I think I’ll scream!
• they will prevail even though many criticize their strategies and actions.
This is both subtle and dangerous and goes something like this…
“I have had great success with that idea in the past, so let’s do it again.”
These are the insidious traps of such thinking.
• They tend to build program on top of programs instead of building out and away from programs. Meaning what? Programs that simply layer start to crush the programs at the bottom. Programs that follow a natural progression outward are generally more flexible and in many ways more economically sound.
• They become boring to those who devise them, those that implement them, and (YIKES!) those that participate in them. We should always stop and evaluate whether or not we are simply coasting or actually creating new and exciting ways to do things.
• They lose their credibility fairly rapidly because they simply don’t have the “juice” of their earlier iterations.
Certainly some addictions are more dangerous than others, but even if they don’t involve shame, survival, or reputation, they can still be dangerous.
Do you have some you’d like to share?
NO, not that, most of us are overweight!
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