Leaders Have a Place for Bad Influences

Here is a thought for those who serve youth, young adults, and people new to your organization:

Resist the temptation to shield them from “bad influences.”

We often work hard to be great role models, and expose those we serve to other great role models and mentors, so that they are only subject to “good influences.”

But, people are imperfect. And, if those we lead fall into some bad choices, they may not see a way out. Why? Because all their influences are “good.”

When someone surrounded by near-perfection starts to go astray, they may think, “What’s the point? I’m not as good as they are, and will never be.”

But, if they’re sometimes a witness to “bad influences,” to people who make the occasional misstep, they’ll see how complex life can be — they’ll see how someone who isn’t perfect can still do good work, and have real relationships to the organization, and to others.

They’ll also see those who make bad choices lose out on promotions, or accolades, or total respect. It can become a cautionary tale.

If we are subjected to all influences, positive and negative, we can more fully clarify the direction we want to take.

What do you think?

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