Last month, I was on a trip and saw the movie, “Doubt.” I’ve never seen the stage play, but heard it had won some Tonys. I went to the movie because I enjoy Meryl Streep and Philip Seymor Hoffman. I enjoyed their acting–but enjoyed the story so much more.
It’s the story about a nun who is committed to enforcing a strict, behavioral code on her students. The priest of the church has a different angle. He tends to believe the best about the students, and allows for “out of the box” behavior at times. His grace makes him popular among the students. The nun, on the other hand, enjoys only the fear of her students, not their love. Even her colleagues respect her but generally are not attracted to spend time with her outside of what’s required.
The story makes you think. There is always a balance between rules and grace. We all agree schools, companies, churches and organizations would be in chaos if they didn’t have boundaries. However, when the boundaries become the centerpiece of the organization, there is not more life. It ceases to be a “life giving” place and becomes a “life grabbing” place. People are the same way. How does a leader balance the two?