Why Guilt-Ridden People Make Better Leaders

LAFD_handcuffs_squareThe head of security, Fred, poked his head into my office the other day and asked if I was busy.

“Uh…well, I’m going to lunch,” I said. It was 12:15, and my stomach was growling.

Fred doesn’t usually show up around here in the executive suite, so it seemed a little suspicious. But, whatever. Maybe he was looking for a lunch date.

He stood there at my office door, looking awkwardly down at the floor while pawing his foot into the carpet, then he commented on the colorful print hanging on my office wall.

“Yes,” I agreed, as we both fixed an admiring gaze towards it. “The evocative interrelation between color and form has a soothing effect, don’t you think?” Fred nodded.

We chatted for a couple more minutes about this and that, and then he suddenly swooped in for the kill.

“Your name has come up for a random drug test,” he abruptly announced, as if cramming the entire sentence into one lengthy, multi-syllabic word.

Ah. So that’s why Fred is here.

Our company, like many others, has a random drug screening program. Fred asked if I would mind being escorted to the occupational health unit.

“Sure!”  I exclaimed enthusiastically as I jumped out of my chair, suddenly feeling the compulsion to sound overly innocent and pure. Meanwhile, a rush of terrorizing thoughts ran through my head.

“Did I take any drugs last night? No, duh, of course not! But what about wine? Does that count? Dear Lord - I had two glasses of wine! And on a weeknight! Wait – what about those fish-oil pills? I think I read somewhere they test positive. Oh no! My acid reflux prescription! That will surely show up as cocaine or something! No, no, no, no, no!”

I tried to maintain a low profile walking down the corridor as the panic of guilt-ridden thoughts swept over me. Eventually, I worked up enough courage to ask the most dreaded question of all:

“Will I have to pee in front of you?”

Fred chuckled. “Only if you tamper with the evidence.” I made a mental note to follow the instructions very, very carefully.

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About J.B. Wood
  • http://alittlesomethin.wordpress.com/ nancy

    It can…have a part…in a person being more selfless.

    If a person sees the guilt in their self, and knows of the kind of Love that God has for them; perhaps they will hear the voice of this Love when they experience guilt in others, and will be able to act upon this Love.

    • http://www.shrinkingthecamel.com shrinkingthecamel

      Very good point, Nance. There is something about the humility associated with guilt that allows people to have more compassion, I think. Less ego, too. More susceptible to God’s love? Let’s hope for that!

  • Joni Bee

    But Christ died for our guilt and our shame. I don’t want to keep it if I can be free from it. I think the issue is our motivation: if the good things we do are motiviated by guilt, they cannot also be motivated by love. I want to trade my guilt movitated good-doing for love motivated good-doing. One is life, the other is death. Guilt is not good.


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