最佳領袖有牧人的心

By Robert J. Tamasy

你對羊的了解有多少?除了知道毛線是來自綿羊,小羊叫做羊羔,我們大多數人對羊沒什麼概念。除非你住在紐西蘭,據報導那裡的羊比人還多。但幾年前當我與朋友肯恩.強生一起寫一本書時,我學到有關這毛絨絨動物的一些有趣事情。

肯恩已在他的「興趣牧場」花了幾年養羊,同時他也全時間工作,且想要為我們這本書提供一些他的觀察洞見。這本書原來書名是「來自羊群的省思」,後來我們改為「以牧人的心追求生命」。以下是羊教導他和他家人的一些事:

草並沒有比較綠。有一句諺語說:「籬笆另一邊的草總是比較綠。」羊也相信這一點,肯恩有一天看見他的羊群破壞牠們腳下的草,奮力要吃牠們圍籬外的草。你或某個你認識的人是否曾經在工作或家庭中也是如此,一心認為另一個工作或另一個家庭比較好,但後來發現並非如此?

「跟隨領袖」可能不是好主意。有一天早晨當羊群從羊圈裡出來時,我的朋友正好拿著一根掃帚在第一隻羊前面。那隻領頭羊就跳過掃帚,於是肯恩把掃帚拿開。但其他的羊還是繼續在相同的地點跳起來,雖然要跳的理由已被挪開。你是否曾經因為別人那麼做,你也跟著照做,而不問為什麼?或者你是否遵循一個傳統做法,卻從未想過為何需要那麼做?

更別提,羊有惹麻煩的傾向。有時一隻羊決定走自己的路,偏離牧羊人保護的視線。結果可能是場災難,例如跌斷腿、被樹叢纏繞住、或甚至跌得四腳朝天無法站起來。若沒有牧羊人迅速的協助,死亡很快就來到。

我們還詳述了許多其他的羊群發生的事件,但肯恩基本上是要證明聖經的一節經文,「我們都如羊走迷;各人偏行己路」(以賽亞書53章6節)。若沒有一位牧羊人盡心的引領,羊群很容易落入災難中。

在工商專業界,領袖的責任之一就是要像牧羊人一樣照看他們的「羊群」。領袖必須提供一個安全的工作環境,預防前面埋伏的危險,並確保員工得到他們所需且有卓越表現。

從屬靈的觀點,一位智慧的職場牧人會效法耶穌基督,耶穌形容自己是「我是好牧人;我認識我的羊,我的羊也認識我」(約翰福音10章14節)。之前祂也說:「我是好牧人;好牧人為羊捨命」(約翰福音10章11節)。無論何時,當領袖展現出他們會做一切需要做的事,把員工的利益放在第一位,他們一定能吸引忠心的跟隨者。

身為領袖,你是否願意做牧羊人的辛苦工作 ─ 在大牧人的引導下?

勞勃.泰默西是領袖資產協會的通訊部副部長,這是一個總部在美國喬治亞州亞特蘭大的非營利組織。他也是一個有40年經驗的退休新聞工作者。他寫過一本書「最佳狀態的商業:箴言給今日職場的歷久彌新智慧」(Business At Its Best: Timeless Wisdom from Proverbs for Today”s Workplace)。他也與David A. Stoddard合著一本書「導師之心」(The Heart of Mentoring)。要了解更多資訊, 可上網www.leaderslegacy.com 或上他的部落格www.bobtamasy.blogspot.com 。

思想 / 討論題目

你曾有照顧羊群或觀察牠們行為的經驗嗎?若有,你能否想出人真的很像羊的例子? 想到你自己被形容為「羊」,你有什麼感覺?這是一種侮辱或尷尬嗎?為什麼? 你是否曾見過「籬笆另一邊的草總是比較綠」的實際例子?為何我們常常會認為我們所沒有的一定比我們已經擁有的好? 你是否看自己在職場中是擔任「牧人」的角色?若是,你如何實現這角色所承擔的責任?對於效法耶穌這位「好牧人」的建議,你有何看法?請解釋。註:若你有聖經且想要看有關此主題的其他經文,請看:詩篇23篇;以賽亞書53章7節;馬可福音6章34節;路加福音15章1-7節;約翰福音10章1-18節,21章16-17節;使徒行傳8章32節;彼得前書2章21-25節

THE BEST LEADERS HAVE SHEPHERD”S HEARTS

By Robert J. Tamasy

What do you know about sheep? Other than knowing we get wool from sheep and that little sheep are called lambs, most of us are pretty clueless about sheep. That is unless you live in New Zealand, where reportedly sheep outnumber the people. But years ago I learned some intriguing things about the fuzzy animals while working to write a book with my friend, Ken Johnson.

Ken had spent years raising sheep on his “hobby farm” while also working full-time, and wanted to offer some of his insights in the book, first called Reflections From the Flock and then named Pursuing Life With a Shepherd”s Heart when we revised it. Here is a sampling of what sheep had taught him and his family:

The grass is not greener. An adage says, “The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.” Sheep believe this, too, as Ken witnessed one day when his flock virtually destroyed the grass under their feet while straining to eat grass outside of their enclosure. Have you, or someone you know, ever done that to their job, company or family simply because another alternative appeared better – only to discover it was not?

“Follow the leader” can be a bad idea. One morning my friend held a broom handle in front of the first sheep as they were coming out of their barn early in the morning. The lead sheep jumped over the broom. Ken then pulled the broom away, but the other sheep continued to leap at the same spot, even though the reason for jumping had been removed. Have you ever done something just because someone else was doing it, without even asking why? Or have you followed a traditional practice without wondering whether it still needed be done?

Left alone, sheep have a tendency to get into much trouble. Sometimes individual sheep decide to take their own path, straying from the protective watch of the shepherd. The result can be disastrous – broken limbs, getting tangled in bushes, or even falling on their backs unable to get back onto their feet. Without the shepherd”s prompt assistance, death can be minutes away.

We recounted numerous other anecdotes, but basically Ken”s story proved a passage from the Bible declaring, “All of us, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way” (Isaiah 53:6). Without the guidance of a diligent shepherd, sheep can easily stumble into calamity.

In the business and professional world, one of the tasks leaders have is to serve as shepherds, overseeing their “sheep” as they carry out their responsibilities. The leader must provide a safe working environment, anticipate dangers that lurk ahead, and ensure the workers receive what they need to excel.

From a spiritual perspective, a wise workplace-shepherd looks to Jesus Christ, who described himself as “the good shepherd; I know my sheep and they know me” (John 10:14). Earlier in the same passage, Jesus said, “The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep” (John 10:11). Whenever leaders demonstrate they will do whatever is necessary, putting the workers” interests first, they are certain to attract faithful followers.

As a leader, are you willing to do the hard work of a shepherd – under the direction of the Shepherd?

Robert J. Tamasy is vice president of communications for Leaders Legacy, Inc., a non-profit corporation based in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.A. A veteran journalist for 40 years, he is the author of Tufting Legacies (iUniverse); Business At Its Best: Timeless Wisdom from Proverbs for Today”s Workplace (River City Press); and has coauthored with David A. Stoddard, The Heart of Mentoring (NavPress). For more information, see www.leaderslegacy.com or his blogs, www.bobtamasy.blogspot.com and www.bobtamasy.wordpress.com.

Reflection/Discussion Questions
Have you ever had any experience either in working with sheep or simply observing their actions? If so, can you think of any other examples that show that people truly are like sheep? How does it feel to consider yourself being described in terms of being a “sheep”? Does it seem like an insult, or embarrassing? Why or why not? When have you witnessed the “grass is always greener on the other side of the fence” principle in action? Why is that so often we can be enticed by the idea that what we do not yet have is always better than what we already possess? Do you see yourselves serving in the role of “shepherd” where you work? If so, how do you fulfill that role for others? And what do you think of the suggestion of following Jesus, who described himself as “the good shepherd”? Explain your answer.NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to review additional passages that relate to this topic, consider the following verses: Psalm 23; Isaiah 53:7; Mark 6:34; Luke 15:1-7; John 10:1-18, 21:16-17; Acts 8:32; 1 Peter 2:21-25

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