March 14; Do As I Want; Not As I Say
365 Daily Bible Verse &
One-Minute Management Lessons For The Busy Faithful


14 March

For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.

John 1:17

Do As I Want; Not As I Say

Law vs. Grace

Every manager comes to work each morning with a secret that he will share with no one in his organization.

That is: His direct reports terrify him.

The manager has two great fears:

  • The staffer will not do exactly what he is told, and,
  • The staffer will do exactly what he is told.

Bum Phillips, the former coach of the Houston Oilers, once said that “There are two kinds of football players ain’t worth a [darn]: the one that never does what he’s told, and the other that never does anything except what he’s told.” (Nelson 2003)

But the manager wants both: to be obeyed; and to have the work done right even if the management process is flawed.

How can the manager ever get things done?

There must be obedience in an organization. A group of individuals without a ranking structure of authority and a following is not an organization—it is a mob.

Compliance in following directions comes in three flavors: A) Incompetent, B) Vicious, or C) Delightful.

Even the novice manager can recon with incompetent non-compliance. Or the leader can rejoice when staff follows directions producing an amazing outcome. This is simple Moses law-giving and law obeying.

But life (and management) is not so simple. Hence grace.

Every boss knows the power that the staffer has in doing exactly what was directly directed.

“If the Boss wants it bad,” Vicious Compliance says, “How do we give it to him?”

“Real bad…”


Mercy is not giving us a punishment we do deserve.  Grace is giving us a reward we do not deserve.

The manager should extend mercy to the repentant, viciously compliant staffer as would the Christ. But the manager also needs mercy and grace, because unlike Jesus, the manager can be wrong.

Or worse. The manager’s staff may detest him. The staffers could be so terrified that they are unable to do anything but do exactly what they are told.

The management and staff may both need help. Each failed to manage the relationship. But the team can be made to be effective with training. And grace and Truth.

For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. John 1:17.


Managing For Dummies, 2003, By Bob Nelson, Peter Economy


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