The Saga of the Least of These

This third installment of the Trilogy of Mercy is The Saga of the Least of These. It was inspired by an encounter with a former classmate. It teaches us to be mindful of the personality of Jesus and His intent for His followers to model love and compassion for everyone.

The Saga of the Least of These

 

He came in contact with the least of these;

Strategically positioned beneath his gaze.

They walked the streets and loitered under trees;

Fought for survival on difficult days.

Rather than seeking to understand,

He figuratively gave the back of his hand.

Invisible to some, but to his glance;

The poor decisions they made in their lives,

Were not deserving of a second chance.

But they were not angry for life deprives

On one hand and gives with the other;

At times a way forward is discovered.

 

He came in contact with the least of these;

He did not know their stories or their plight;

To those down trodden and knocked to their knees,

He gave an uppercut, a left and right

And offered platitudes instead of food

And chastised a non-existent attitude.

His words were a punch to their mid section;

His accusations were born of neglect;

His demeanor inflamed their rejection

Their current state was not their fate and yet

He blamed them for their present condition

And gave them negative recognition.

One day he came upon the least of these,

Not the image on the evening news,

But a panhandler who wanted to please

By offering to shine his shoes.

After a few pleasantries were exchanged

He noted that the man was not deranged.

He was spell bound by the look in his eyes.

There standing before him was a classmate;

A football team member to his surprise;

A high school friend he had not seen of late.

They had a reunion for old time’s sake,

But pondered the difference time could make.

He was outrageous, loud and authentic,

While they reminisced within the concourse.

He found out his friend was schizophrenic

And lost his job while on the police force.

He was homeless and as a last resort,

Tried to survive working at the airport.

The image of suffering changed for him;

Became personal and it changed his heart.

He no longer felt the need to condemn,

But to contribute and play a part;

For if not by the grace of God he sees

He could have been among the least of these.

Copyright © 2012 Orlando Ceaser

Reprinted from the book Daily Resurrections

By Orlando Ceaser

31 Day Leadership Gauntlet – Day 26 – Arrogance

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Pharmaceutical sales representatives are familiar with the customer referred to as the “Know-it-all doctor.” The connotation was not just a physician who knew everything, but an individual who was arrogant and spoke to people in a condescending manner. There was a feeling of superiority which made it difficult to deal with others. The air of arrogance made it hard to be effective as a leader. The person who knows everything and feels no one can teach them anything, is difficult to talk to and may not be open to receiving important information.

Many times, we use arrogance to cover-up for an insecurity. We don’t want people to recognize a deficiency in some aspect of our behavior and we do not wish to be challenged. On other occasions we do not wish to be questioned because we feel we are better than everyone. Humility is not a skill that makes them comfortable.

When you make the commitment to move beyond arrogance, it must be done with authenticity. Here is an example of what not to do. A manager received feedback that addressed his arrogance of feeling he was always right. It revealed that he did not listen to his direct reports, did not solicit their comments, but when they were given, he would not value or use them. It was described as follows.

He would adopt the stance of a good listener, someone concerned about his staff’s point of view. He would lean forward, establish direct eye contact and use transitional phrases such as, go on, is that so, I did not know that and tell me more. At the conclusion, he would thank them for their courage and valuable input. He would close by saying, he was glad to have the opportunity to know how they felt, but he would continue with his idea and the original plan. His subordinates were confused and wondered why ask for their opinions and bother going through such a pointless exercise. His actions curtailed their ideas and reduced trust. Why give comments if they did not matter?

Personalize your actions to prevent arrogant behavior by focusing on these areas.

  1. Beware of arrogant tendencies.

  2. Listen to others.

  3. Involve others in your decision making

  4. Include their ideas to show you value their suggestions

  5. Do not respond in a threatening manner when you don’t like what you hear

People do not wish to support the arrogant person. They may withhold information. They may watch someone go down the wrong path and remain silent. They will surely not give them their best effort. They will do just enough to keep their jobs. They will engage in OMDB (Over My Dead Body) behavior and thinking. Review the poem below and reflect on it and discuss with others.

Many of us may be blind to our arrogant ways. In order to change we must be open to critical remarks without taking them personally. Act as if people may feel you are arrogant, and request insight. A manager read the poem below and was offended, for it struck a nerve. He was offended by the content because he thought I was speaking to him. However, members of his staff contacted me and confirmed that it was an accurate depiction of his arrogant leadership style. Let’s act as if this might be the case. Remove personal anxiety and allow people the opportunity to give you comments that are good for everyone.

You Might Not Be A Leader

You may have been a superstar in sales;

An individual who never fails,

But, if you can’t ensure the group prevails,

You might not be a leader.

If vision is absent and no one cares,

If knowledge is power, you will not share;

If you look behind you and no one’s there;

You might not be a leader.

If you did not earn stripes or pay your dues;

If faced with decisions, you fail to choose;

If people ask for help and you refuse,

You might not be a leader.

A passive aggressive management style,

If your deficiencies are in denial;

Too selfish to journey the extra mile,

You might not be a leader.

When seen as a puppet of management,

To throw teammates under the bus is meant,

As a symbol of brewing discontent,

You might not be a leader.

If you lack trust and thought to be lying

And giving feedback is terrifying,

Here is a fact that’s not worth denying,

You might not be a leader.

You feel emotional intelligence

Are soft skills without any relevance,

And being vulnerable makes no sense,

You might not be a leader.

If given a job that’s over your head;

If you cannot reach them, the word will spread,

If you cannot teach them, it will be said,

You might not be a leader.

Copyright © 2019 Orlando Ceaser

Personal Reflections

  1. Do you solicit input from others?

  2. Do you use ideas presented by your staff?

  3. Do you speak down to others when they state their opinions?

  4. Do you involve others in your decision making?

  5. Review stanzas and lines that relate to arrogance in self and others.

  6. Do people come to you for advice on a frequent basis?

  7. How do you receive feedback on your impact?

  8. Does your impact match your intent?

More leadership information at OrlandoCeaser.com

The ‘O’ Zone Blog: myozonelayer.com

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=orlando+ceaser    

 

 

31 Day Leadership Gauntlet – Day 17 – Ego

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Ego as defined by Webster’s New Riverside University Dictionary is the personality component that is conscious, most directly control behavior, and is most in touch with external reality is also referred to as self-love, self-confidence and self-esteem. Ego is also referred to as the part of us that feels threatened when we feel insecure, arrogant and caught up in ourselves. Ego also serves as another barrier in the gauntlet that we must face as individuals and as leaders.

There is a cycle of response that people use to protect their self-image or their ego. I watched people lash out to guard their ego when they sense danger is present. They want desperately for their ego to succeed and flourish. The ego has;

  • An image – a face, which must be saved

  • An identity

  • Feelings

  • A reputation

The ego is a repository of who we are.

The ego requires

  • Nourishment

  • Encouragement

  • Praise

  • Challenge

  • Support

When feeling threatened, attacked or ridiculed, a force field is activated that launches a counter response to protect the person.

President Harry S Truman said, “It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.” This quote reflects directly on the ego. Another quotation comes from Benjamin Zander and Rosamund Stone Zander in their book, The Art of Possibility, where they write about Rule #6.  People tend to get so caught up in their ego and in themselves that they must periodically be reminded of rule number six. There are no rules one through five, a rule number six simply don’t take yourself too seriously. They use slightly more colorful language, but this is the essence of the rule.

During your workday, think of individuals and situations where you are inclined to evoke your ego. Visualize the individuals and the situations, and mentally rehearse how you will interact with them.

Ego

I had a bout with ego.

Its symptoms were blurred vision,

Inability to make a selfless decision;

A sense of self that was overblown,

Chronically centric, with pride overgrown.

I had a bout with ego.

It was too late to screen for the vaccine,

I did not note the antidote

And so susceptible to the fever

I became a blind believer

In a despicable deception

That affected my depth perception.

One day everything was in the “I” refrain

And I became a wall not a membrane

That let others in;

I was not a swinging gate

That let others infiltrate.

I had a bout of ego

I needed a vaccine

An antidote to let me know

I had to intervene

And open myself to others

To hope to find a cure.

I had a bout with ego

That I must win for sure.

Copyright © 2003 Orlando Ceaser

Reprinted from Leadership Above the Rim

By Orlando Ceaser

Personal Reflections

  1. How do people usually bruise your ego?

  2. How can you protect your ego?

  3. Rule number six states that “you must not take yourself too seriously.” In other words, it is not always about you, so reduce the tendency to take things personally.

  4. Look for situations where you can let other people’s ideas come forth and received the credit.

  5. There are situations where you must protect your reputation and your ideas. Think carefully and act wisely.

More leadership information at OrlandoCeaser.com.

The ‘O’ Zone Blog: myozonelayer.com

YouTube:

https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=orlando+ceaser