When You Disagree with Those Who Lead You (Part II)

When You Disagree with Those Who Lead You (Part II)

When you disagree with those who lead you

Where two or three are gathered….. there’s sure to be conflict.

Conflict is not inherently bad.  As I’ve heard it said before, if two leaders agree on everything, one of them is probably not needed. Whether it’s within a church, a business, or even (perhaps especially!) a marriage, strength is found when we value and explore alternate viewpoints. 

However, as I discussed in a recent blog, conflict can be particularly distressing when we disagree with those who lead us. More often than not, though, we can and should give our input, ultimately deferring to the decisions of those who have been entrusted to lead us.

But what, you might ask, if your leader is flat out wrong?

Yikes! I’ve been there. And some of you may be there now.

Let’s get one thing straight:  Leading like Jesus is not for the cowardly. 

While Jesus was in all things love, He was also bold, courageous, and powerful. He didn’t mince words when it came to confronting sin. And we read of His righteous anger when authorities abused their power or dishonored His Father. (Read Matthew 21:12-13, for example.)

While Jesus was in all things love, He was also bold, courageous, and powerful.

If your leader is acting in a way that is oppressive, abusive, immoral, or irresponsible, you have an opportunity to stand up and use your influence for good.

So how exactly does one do this, while still exuding the grace and love of Jesus?

  1. Pray.

It’s so basic – yet so often overlooked.  Too often we wade knee-deep into complicated circumstances before we ever think to look up and ask for help.

Your Heavenly Father loves you. And He loves your leader. All work is holy when we dedicate it to Him, and therefore He is concerned about the concerns you face.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7

  1. Discern.

Stop and search your heart.  What is at the root of your disagreement?  Is it possible you simply want to have your own way?  If so, it might be time to step back, set your own pride and fears aside, and follow the direction of your leader. If not – and if you truly believe your leader is out of line – your ongoing concern and action is warranted. 

“Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” Psalm 139:23-24

  1. Consult.

Seek out the wise counsel of a trusted, Jesus-led leader. This is not an excuse for venting – or for finding allies to join your cause.

Look for the objective advice and accountability of someone whose knees and Bible pages are worn from hours spent in intimate conversation with Jesus.

“Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm.” Proverbs 13:20

  1. Confront – and Listen.

Talk to your leader – privately and candidly. Articulate your concerns in a manner that is full of truth and grace. With every word you speak, remember that this a child of the Creator, whom Jesus loves just as much He loves you. 

And be sure to listen!  Enter this conversation with an open heart and mind. Your disagreement may be rooted in misunderstanding, or your leader may be able to share a new perspective that helps bridge the gap. 

As Phyllis Hendry, president/CEO of Lead Like Jesus has said before, “The key is to approach these moments with pure hearts … prayed up and ready to love.”

Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted.” Galatians 6:1

Approach difficult moments with pure hearts, prayed up and ready to love.

  1. Pray again.

You can never over pray! And you should continue to pray for God’s wisdom as you try to determine the best way forward.

Should you defer to the decision of your leader? Or should you continue to hold your ground? Should you raise the alarm for others, or consider walking away from the situation or organization altogether?

In His Word, God promises wisdom to those who earnestly seek it.  So listen to that still, small voice, allowing the Holy Spirit to be your guide.

“If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” James 1:5

In His Word, God promises wisdom to those who earnestly seek it. 

Conflict is never easy – but it’s an inevitable part of leadership.  So pray. Discern. Consult. Confront. Listen. And then be sure pray some more!

As you learn to lead like Jesus, conflict can be a means of using your influence for good.

Prayer:  Lord, I pray for your wisdom and peace as I navigate the complexities I will face today. Guide me in every decision, and help me to always speak the truth in love.  Amen. 

This is Part II of a two-part blog on the topic of "What to do when you disagree with those who lead you."  To read Part I, click here.


Heather Day

Heather Day

Heather Day is an accomplished writer and communicator, who served as Lead Like Jesus’ Director of Communications for two years. She also spent nine years as Director of Marketing Communications for Olivet Nazarene University, three years as the Creative Services Coordinator for Bible League International, and two years as Community Outreach Coordinator for St. Anne Community High School. Heather and her husband, Robert, reside in Bourbonnais, IL with their two young children, Emma and Jackson. She is an active member and volunteer leader at Manteno Church of the Nazarene.

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