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Oscars on Shelf
March 31, 2022

Leadership Lesson From the Oscars

It’s been called “the slap heard round the world”.

If you weren’t watching the Academy Awards live this past Sunday night, you’ve probably watched the video on YouTube or read a few of the hundreds of articles and social media posts of people giving their opinion of the incident between Will Smith and Chris Rock. Some defend Will and others defend Chris and the repercussions of the event keep unfolding.

As a Christian business leader, I think there’s an important question to ask and lesson to be learned from what happened. This has really made me think, what steps do I need to take ahead of time so can learn and be prepared as I face challenges and hurts in life and leadership?

What do we do when we are deeply and personally offended? How do I choose to respond when I may feel emotionally punched in the gut?

There are times when someone says or does something that cuts me to the core. It may be that it triggers a reminder of a painful event in my past. Or it sparks a reaction to defend and seek revenge in order to protect myself or the people I love. Or it may be my personality that tends to get easily angered if I am not careful.

I’ve had a lot of hurt in my past, just as many have, and I know I tend to be strong and aggressive in business. One of my best friends and I say this to each other regularly, “Be wise today.” The truth is, we are all one decision away from making a bad decision. The predicaments we find others in could easily happen to any of us.

But here is one thing that I have I’ve realized the hard way as a leader: My impulsive reactions can do a ton of damage because my words and actions hold so much weight.

So what do we do when we feel the sting of an offense? Here are a few suggestions:

1. Take a breath: I’ve learned that when my “button gets pushed” and I feel the urge to react, be quick to listen and slow to speak – take a second to think through the situation and my response.

2. Identify what I am feeling: When I realize I have had a strong reaction physically and emotionally, I want to understand what is really happening. I ask God to give me insight. Can I name the emotion I’m feeling? Can I identify what “button” got pushed? Do I know why the comment or action impacted me the way it did? Is this a me issue and is the other party correct?

3. Seek Godly Wise Counsel: I have found that when I am emotionally tied to a situation (and many other times) I should seek wise counsel. I share the situation, what I am worked up about and how I plan to respond. I then ask them to share with me their perspective and shoot holes in my approach. I never want the person I share this with to simply agree with me – I need this person to shoot straight and challenge me if needed, but will do so because they love Christ and they love me and want me to grow in Christ.

4. Pursue peace: I have to remind myself God calls us to be peace makers, not peacekeepers. And often we need to have a conversation with the person who offended us and address the issue directly with them in love. I am not saying we can always come to a resolution this way, but we should follow the model of Christ and the teaching of the word of God.

The bottom line is this. As Christian leaders we want to strive to love and serve, also being proactive, not reactive. My in-the-moment reactive responses most of the time are ones that I’ll regret. But through the power of the Holy Spirit, I can learn to exhibit self-control, proactively work through the offense, and pursue peace and reconciliation.

Let’s be wise and make decisions with a long-term view and realize that taking action in a reactive way may feel good in the moment, but the repercussions will only make the situation worse in the end. It is in these moments that God can use us to model godly restraint, increase our influence on others all for the glory and honor of Christ.

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