Don’t Change Your Vote

August 26, 2010

A note arrived from a pastor asking an unusual question. When the leaders of a particular ministry met, they were evenly divided on whether or not to dismiss a staff member. Because the vote was deadlocked, the pastor cast the deciding vote in favor of termination. When word leaked out, certain people were very upset, including some who threatened to leave the church. Now he is considering changing his vote. What should he do?

My answer was simple. Don’t change your vote. If you had good reasons the first time, why change your vote now? Since I don’t know the person being dismissed, I can’t comment on the specifics of the case. And I can say emphatically that it’s not a good situation for the pastor to be in.

But I can’t see what is to be gained by changing your vote because some people are unhappy with you. If you give in here, will it not send a message that you can be pressured into changing your mind? And where will that leave you the next time you have a tough decision to make?

This is not to say that you can’t change your mind. Sometimes you should, but do it over principle, because you are convinced you were wrong the first time, not because of pressure from unhappy people. Any time a leader makes a tough call, someone is bound to disagree. If people leave over your decisions, you have to let them go. 

Being a leader can be a thankless job at times, especially when your decisions directly impact the lives of others. Nothing is tougher than knowing when to let someone go. Sometimes it’s not a clear cut issue. When the time comes, make the best decision you can and then keep moving forward. 

People respect leaders with conviction even though they may not agree with every decision you make. So I say stick with your vote and trust God to work it all out. 

Do you have any thoughts or questions about this post?