“Then the king promoted Daniel and gave him many great gifts; and he made him ruler over the whole province of Babylon, and chief administrator over all the wise men of Babylon.“Daniel 2:48 (NKJV)
Chaos is all around us. How we interact with it is the key to overcoming it. Perhaps the best example of overcoming chaos is Daniel during the period of the Israelites captivity. From the time of Daniel’s youth he understood, all Authority on earth is under God’s control. Therefore he respected the pagan Authority placed over him. As a result:
Then the king promoted Daniel and gave him many great gifts; and he made him ruler over the whole province of Babylon, and chief administrator over all the wise men of Babylon. – Daniel 2:48 (NKJV)
Whether Daniel was promoted or demoted, he remained faithful to the God he loved and served. Daniel’s secret to peace, whether serving in the king’s palace or the lion’s den, was that he kept his relationship with the One True and Living God secure: by praying three times a day; by witnessing for God at every opportunity; by waiting patiently through seventy years of captivity.
Too many people who are entrusted with Authority become addicted to it. Like Chuck Colson and Richard Nixon with the Watergate Scandal, they start believing they were above the Authority appointed to them. They believed they were above the rules set to guide their actions.
Samuel Butler (novelist, 1835-1902) spoke well when he wrote:
“Authority intoxicates, And makes mere sots of magistrates; The fumes of it invade the brain, And make men giddy, proud, and vain.”
Yes, Authority is a great responsibility. When we are entrusted with it we need to be careful not to misuse it. The misuse of Authority, almost always has a negative effect not only on the person misusing it but on those under them as well.
One of the best ways to keep the intoxication of Authority in check, is to remind yourself regularly, as Daniel did, you are under the Authority of an all-powerful God.
A second way to help correctly exercise Authority entrusted to our care, is to grant permission to several people close to us, to call us out whenever they witness or suspect we are misusing Authority.
“Perhaps nothing in our society is more needed for those in positions of authority than accountability.”
– Larry Burkett (Christian financial expert, writer, 1939-2003)
Efficient operations require Authority not only be well managed but well received. As with good parenting, to help direct reports welcome the Authority over them, TCA recommends to:
- Be Consistent: People appreciate knowing what to expect. Consistency allows them to plan accordingly. Providing employees a clear understanding of the consequences of their actions (and following through on it) will provide a stable environment for them to perform well.
- Be Compassionate: When wrongs are acknowledged, with a willingness to accept the consequences for wrong-doing, and a sincere commitment is made to learn from one’s mistakes, grace can be multiplied. Extending grace prematurely often creates a downward spiral of productivity.
- Care: Love covers a multitude of sins. Not only the sins of others but often our sins as well. As we consider others more important than ourselves, others will grant us grace when we miss the mark. And we will have more loyal employees. lt, any of our behaviors may be called into question, even when our motives are worthy.
As we properly steward the Authority God has entrusted to us, as we help train others to do the same; we should see increased efficiency (less waste), leading to higher productivity and profits. This is the expected result of helping others be part of a team pouring their lives into things much bigger than themselves.
But remember, it is more important to have Godly influence as Daniel, than the Authority of the king.
Or as stated in the words of Kenneth Blanchard (writer and speaker, 1939-) “ The key to successful leadership today is influence, not authority. ”