I think most leaders struggle with a measure of paranoia. For some it’s a fear of abandonment. For others it’s the looming threat of betrayal. Whatever form it takes, the power of paranoia can be paralyzing.
I’ve certainly experienced the repercussions of suspicion on both sides of the ball. And the other day I came across this interesting piece of Scriptural advice:
Do not pay attention to every word people say,
or you may hear your servant cursing you-
for you know in your heart
that many times you yourself have cursed others.
As leaders, if we dig for dirt, we won’t come up empty. If we look for reasons to mistrust, they will emerge.
If we look for a booger, we’ll find one.
(I know that last one was crude, but there’s some wisdom in it. You’ll just have to dig around to find it.)
So Solomon suggests: sometimes it’s better not to know.
Leaders shouldn’t be oblivious to the loyalty level of those he leads. But it’s equally detrimental to give precious attention to reading into everything everyone says, approaching every day like it’s a witch hunt, consistently putting our team members on trial.
Because the fact is, there will always be someone saying something undermining about you. People (you included) are not perfectly loyal. And when you see that disloyalty in a tangible form, by all means, act on it. Don’t tolerate it. Be decisive and severe.
Just don’t go looking for trouble. It will find you easily enough when the time is right.
As Spurgeon once said (don’t I sound smart?):
Sometimes it’s better to have one blind eye and one deaf ear.
Paranoia causes way more problems than it solves. And since God is watching your back, it’s wise to let Him do His job-just keep your eyes straight ahead.