Saturday, October 15, 2016

Responsibility


This is post about two related ideas: who gets the credit and who is responsible. Who in the photo above should get the credit for the successful space flight, who should take the blame for it's failure? This is one of those theoretical questions that people have already answered intuitively but it helps thinking through because it may change to who you hold responsible and to whom you give credit. Essentially responsibility is broader and thiner than credit which is deeper and narrower. For better or for worse our culture likes to measure stuff and that sentiment is also found in Christian ministry. For example Christianity Today recently published an article about a mission agency changing the way they tallied conversions.

Leadership is about making decisions and taking responsibility. Everyone in Australia reading this post has probably seen one of those Politicians newsletters once or twice in their lifetime. You know the ones with the Politician in front of a school, next a new bridge or announcing a funding increase etc etc. Did they build the bridge or even do much at all to secure the funding? No, but the buck stops with them at the end of the day. This is the beauty and delight of local members we elect them to help make those decisions and be responsible for their success or failure. The holds true at any level of leadership, it's both a privilege and a burden.

Giving out credit is slightly different. Leadership is fairly obvious, we can point out the group or individual responsible. Credit goes deep and could be the result of many different people. For example even the photo above doesn't capture everyone who helped. There may be people missing, overlooked, or who helped indirectly or historically. The difficult aspect of giving credit (or assigning blame) is proportionality and proximity. I think the size and significance of the event should determine the assignment of blame and credit.

[Photograph from Pics of Space]

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