I have had a bellyfull of managers this week. I have to be careful, because I often become a breeding ground for a depressing cynicism about my work.
I am a Social Work Manager to earn my mortgage, but at times I look around and wonder if I have been cast on a foreign shore amongst some kind of fish people who breathe a different substance and speak in bubbles.
There is a certain kind of management culture that values one dimensional toughness, and measures progress by the attainment of irrelevant goals. Failure to fit in to a certain stereotype is punished subtly and unsubtly- and I am never really going to fit in- both as a choice and as a consequence of the way I am made.
On good days I feel that I have a whole set of skills that mean that I can do my job in my own particular way, and do it well.
But then I spend time with management colleagues who rail against the failures of their staff and have no good words to say about anyone but themselves, and how they are going to sort out the slackers that work for them. And I fear for those people- who will no doubt become slackers, even if they are not already.
And I a brought up sharp by a higher management who do not treat members of staff fairly and with respect- even though their rhetoric (which they even seem to believe) suggests otherwise.
And I am angry with myself for my complicity, and my inability to challenge or walk away.
But I am a person who believes that God uses us as Trojan horses to gain entrance into the very fabric of our humanity, and there to tend the fragile but tenacious seeds of the Kingdom.
So as I wheel my horse into the office for another day of solutionless problems, what should be my calling?
To find precious integrity, and to hold on to it- not as a position of superiority, but of survival.
To see people not as a reluctant resource that requires the insertion of a rocket where the sun don’t shine, but instead as creatures of unique gifting and abilities. To search for strengths, not failings, and encourage them out.
To build bridges not battlements between groups of staff.
To understand the need for boundaries, but not to hide behind them.
To be first, an Agent of the Kingdom…