Have you been in a meeting and had the desire to shame someone for his or her error so you look good? Have you purposely wanted to have the best idea so others don’t look as smart as you? Do you have a “work enemy”?
The corporate meeting room or even a conference call can be a very competitive environment if your team is not rowing in the same direction. The reality is if you are the team leader or a key contributor, this culture starts and stops with you. Taking the high road isn’t always easy but it’s always worth it in the end.
David Takes the High Road
In 1 Samuel 23 and 24 we see an incredible way that David took the high road when he was under attack by Saul. David was gaining ground in the recent popularity contest and Saul was getting increasingly jealous even though he was still the king.
Saul couldn’t stand it any longer, so he went on a mission to find David and kill him. However, in 1 Samuel 24:3 we see David actually having a chance to kill Saul! The Bible says Saul went into the cave to “relieve himself” (yes, that’s what you imagine it to be!) and David was in the cave with his men relaxing. In this moment, David had the perfect opportunity to kill Saul first, but instead we see he quietly cut off a corner piece of his robe!
After Saul exited the cave, David followed him out and confronted him in private. David’s words were calm and taken from a position of humility. He showed Saul the corner of his robe to demonstrate that he could have chosen a more extreme way to handle the situation.
In the end, David chose the high road as he didn’t manipulate or control his way to the crown but communicated to Saul with character that was actually fit for a king.
Your Own High Road Journey
Often in our daily lives somebody is gaining momentum compared to what we think we are experiencing. Maybe they seem to be climbing the corporate ladder faster than us, or always seem to have that great new idea. Whatever it is, consider that the real opportunity in front of you may be more internal than external.
So the next time your “work enemy” walks into a meeting slightly unprepared think twice on the response you will take, and how you will go about confronting their behavior. Or the next time you have the opportunity to take advantage of a co-worker in a weak position, think about how that will actually make you look.
In the end, you will do more good for your work culture by being a person of high character combined with your high competency, rather than trying to exploit the situation and/or person at hand.
Take advantage of the true growth opportunity within you!