“I have said these things to you to keep you from stumbling. They will put you out of the synagogues. Indeed, an hour is coming when those who kill you will think that by doing so they are offering worship to God. And they will do this because they have not known the Father or me. But I have said these things to you so that when their hour comes you may remember that I told you about them.
It is only after having first brought about a change and then subsequently enduring the resultant sabotage that the leader can feel truly successful. Ed Friedman - A Failure of Nerve.
Tod Bolsinger, author of Canoeing the Mountains, reminds us of these words of Ed Friedman, that sabotage is a normal part of leadership.
Sabotage often comes, not from inherently bad people, but from those close to us. It may come from those who feel that things aren't changing quickly enough, who have become discouraged and impatient along the way. It may arise out of good intentions. It may come from those who know us best and want to move things on and feel that, out of love and friendship, they are uniquely placed to do just that.
Sabotage is not something to be avoided but, rather, something to navigate. Surviving sabotage is a necessary part of leadership that promotes resilience and may even help leaders to clarify the journey. It enables healthy conversations that help people journey forward together with a clearer focus and renewed energy and stability.
Sabotage is to be taken seriously but not feared as we continue to lead people toward the hopeful future that God envisages and as we continue to discern and engage in the Mission of God today.