Tag Archives: Strengths

Wrong Person for the Job

Wrong Person for the Job (CaD 2 Ki 12) Wayfarer

The priests agreed that they would not collect any more money from the people and that they would not repair the temple themselves.
2 Kings 12:8 (NIV)

Many years ago I had a colleague at work who falsified data for a major client project. It was an egregious mistake that cost us what might have been a lucrative client relationship. The reason he did this was not criminal, but personal. He didn’t want to do the work. In fact, it was clear to me that his actions were basically a cry for help. He was in the wrong job, a job he couldn’t stand and for which he was ill-suited, with a boss he greatly respected and didn’t want to disappoint pushing him daily like a square peg into a round hole.

After being caught, my colleague was greatly ashamed. He did the work he’d fail to do. I and another colleague were brought in to assist, oversee, and do our best to smooth things over with the client. In the end, we responded the best we could but, understandably, we never worked for the client again.

My boss called me to inform me that he had chosen to forgive our colleague and that he was not going to fire him, but give him another opportunity. It was, perhaps, the most contentious argument I ever had with him. I told him that he was making a mistake. I argued that our colleague didn’t want to do the job. It didn’t fit his strengths or passions and it was killing him inside. Firing him was not only the right thing to do for our business, but it was also the best thing we could do for our colleague who needed to be freed to follow his gifts and passions to a job that was a better fit for him. I felt so strongly about it that I threatened to quit. My boss said that as a follower of Jesus, he had no choice but to extend forgiveness and grace and let our colleague keep his job. I countered that we did need to graciously forgive him, but to keep him in a job that he clearly was not suited for was only going to perpetuate the problem. I quoted the ancient proverb says: “As a dog returns to his vomit, so does a fool to his folly.”

In the end, our argument was moot. Our colleague packed up his things and simply disappeared.

This came to mind this morning as I read about King Joash of Judah. The Temple in Jerusalem needed to be repaired, and King Joash created a plan for raising the money and tasking the priests with making the necessary repairs. They raised the money, but the repairs never happened. When King Joash calls them to account for not carrying out the repairs, it is agreed that the repairs will be outsourced to carpenters, stonemasons, and construction workers. In other words, the priests should never have been tasked with it in the first place. Priests are not construction workers. Their priests. If you want a construction project to succeed put the right people in the right positions.

In the quiet this morning, I thought about our weekly staff meeting yesterday. It went over by twenty minutes because two colleagues were discussing an internal project I have them working on. They are so well-suited for this task. It plays to both their strengths and passions. It was almost as if they couldn’t stop talking about it. I just sat back and enjoyed their conversation and the moment. The sage of Ecclesiastes wrote that it’s a gift of God when a person enjoys his or her job.

One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned as an employer and a boss is that I want the right people in the right jobs where their strengths and giftedness can flourish. One individual in the wrong job can negatively impact the entire system.

If you know anyone who might be encouraged by today’s post, please share.

Chapter-a-Day 1 Kings 9

Achille's heel. sThe remnants from the original inhabitants of the land (Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites—all non-Israelites), survivors of the holy wars, were rounded up by Solomon for his gangs of slave labor, a policy still in effect. 1 Kings 9:20 (MSG)

Every leader, no matter how great, has flaws and faults. A chink in the armor. An Achille's heel. A tragic flaw. We're all human. We can't help it.

Solomon is heralded through the ages as a great and wise king. He is praised for his massive building projects. A temple, palaces, and fortifications. Nevertheless, reading between the lines of today's chapter, we see two cracks in Solomon's character. One of those cracks would grow to divide the kingdom he built.

Think about it. Great building projects take time, materials and labor.

As for time, the land was at peace. Time was on Solomon's side.

As for materials, it appears that Solomon expected and took materials from neighbors and did not offer much in return. Wise King Solomon did not show the expected gratitude to King Hiram for all the gifts of building materials Hiram gave in cedar and gold. Solomon gave the King twenty towns in Galilee, but you see Hiram's response. He wasn't pleased.

As for labor, Solomon enslaved the non-Israelites of the land. He worked them hard and provided little for them. We will see as we continue our journey through the story that Solomon built up the kingdom on the backs of slave labor, and then left an explosive, political mess for his son to clean up.

I'm reminded today of my person areas of leadership. I'm a husband. I'm a father. I'm an employer. I'm a community member. I have both strengths and weaknesses in my leadership. As much as I may wish to do so, I can't ignore my weaknesses.

How can I build on the strengths while shoring up the cracks in my character?