Feb 13, 2020

Letting Go While Maintaining Control

A Parable

It was 2007 and I could tell that he was upset when he walked into the construction company where I worked and he made a beeline to my office. His name was Tony and he was a supervisor and I was his boss.

“Bob won’t follow my instructions”, Tony said as his eyebrows were raised by his wide-eyed look. “I think that we should get rid of him!” he said as he sat down in one of the chairs in front of my desk.

I asked him to tell me what he had done and he went on to explain how Bob (under his leadership) continued to not do what he asked him to do.

Apparently, Bob had blown off some specific instructions that were given to him by Tony, but had actually come from the owner of the company.

He added that he had given Bob a good tongue lashing.

I told him that I would talk with my boss John (who was the general manager) and see what he would like us to do. Until then, I asked him to not talk to Bob because I could see that his anger was still there as he talked with me about Bob.

I left my office and went to talk to John about the situation. He agreed that we should bring Bob in and have the three of us meet to get his perspective.

I went back to my office only to see the supervisor chewing out Bob and adding that he was in trouble since he went up the chain of command.

I asked Tony to come into my office where I asked him why he was talking to Bob since I had asked him not to do so.

Tony said that he was going out the back door when Bob came in, so “I decided to let him know that he was in trouble!”

I told him that John wanted me to set up a meeting with himself, myself and Bob; but not Tony. The plan was for us to get Bob’s side of the story and then talk about following his authority. To fail to do so would result in disciplinary action; including the possibility of termination of his employment with the company.

I asked Tony (again) to NOT talk to Bob about this situation. He could cast it upon me and I personally would handle the situation. Bob said that it sounded good. He made his way out the back door to his truck.

A few minutes later, I needed to get something out of my vehicle so I, too, made my way out the back door.

When I got to the parking lot, Tony and Bob were having a shouting match that was escalating as Tony let Bob know that he was REALLY in trouble. I asked Bob to leave and I asked Tony to please go to my office.

I asked him why he was shouting at Bob when I gave specific instruction to not talk with him.

Tony replied that he was just letting him know that Bob had to come in for a special meeting at which time he was going to get written up.

I asked Tony to wait in my office and went to talk to John.

When I spoke to John about the latest development, he shook his head in amazement and asked me to bring Tony to his office; which I did.

John asked Tony; “Why did you talk to Bob when we gave very clear instructions that we were going to handle it?”

Tony responded that he let his frustration and anger get the best of him. We once again asked him to cast it upon us and that we would take care of it. Once again, we asked him to NOT talk with Bob, then dismissed him as John asked me to stay behind.

John said to me; “Give him five minutes and then check on him, and then get back to me; ok?” I agreed and went back to my office.

Five minutes later I went outside to the workshop off the parking lot and…sure enough, (once again), Bob and Tony were having a shouting match as Tony let Bob know the latest depth of the trouble he was in Bob let Tony that he was mad at him for talking to John and I.

I went back to John to report the latest update. John asked me to (once again) bring Tony to his office for a meeting, which I did. During the meeting John asked Tony how he could ever expect someone to follow his leadership when he wouldn’t follow ours?

Tony made excuses which sounded very similar to Bob’s excuses about why he didn’t have to follow his instructions. We told him that this was unacceptable and it was decided that we were terminating his employment and asked Tony to turn in his keys.

After he was escorted out of the building to make sure that he didn’t run into Bob, John and I met to get our bearings. We stared at each other as we analyzed how Tony’s valid complaint had turned into his departure. 

He let his pride stop him from trusting that we really cared for him and would follow through. He couldn’t see how we were on his side and had his back.

Simply put; he brought his cares to us to take care of; but couldn’t seem to trust us to take care of things…so he kept picking it back up.

Similarly, how often have things gotten worse because we don’t follow the instruction of the Lord?

1 Peter 5:6-7 says; Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.”

If you cast your cares upon the Lord, why are you still carrying them? Why are you still worried about it? Isn’t it time to do something different?

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