"Now the Ephraimites asked Gideon, 'Why have you treated us like
this? Why didn’t you call us when you went to fight Midian?' And they
challenged him vigorously. But he answered them, “What have I
accomplished compared to you? Aren’t the gleanings of Ephraim’s
grapes better than the full grape harvest of Abiezer? God gave Oreb
and Zeeb, the Midianite leaders, into your hands. What was I able to
do compared to you?' At this, their resentment against
him subsided" - Judges 8:1-3.
In today's passage, one of the tribes left out of the attack on Midian 'vigorously' challenged Gideon's decision to go to battle without them. In other words, they angrily got in Gideon's face. Yet Gideon did not take the attack personally and skillfully turned their anger by complimenting them on a past victory while minimizing his achievements. Leaders can expect to be vigorously challenged from time to time and must learn how to do what Gideon did - defuse a potentially volatile confrontation. When confronted, leaders cannot become competitive and try to win the argument, but must rather do what is necessary to keep their team on task as they all pursue the vision of the organization through the human dynamics that almost always threaten to derail the journey.
LEADERSHIP STEP: Your Step today is to learn to listen when confronted and not become defensive. Do not react but rather respond. The first thing to watch is your body language. Don't cross your arms or legs, but remain open to the confronters. Then don't raise your voice, but rather lower it from your usual level. Listen intently and ask questions to clarify. You may want to practice these steps in your mind so you will ready when the confronter comes.