Proverbs 25:4 [MSG] Remove impurities from the silver and the silversmith can craft a fine chalice; Remove the wicked from leadership and authority will be credible and God-honoring.
Dealing with the Turkeys in the Flock
The first thing that must be done before one can deal with a turkey is to define what a turkey is so that they can be identified. A “turkey” is a member of a team or organization who has his or her own agenda. “Turkey’s” are great at politics. They know what to say and when to say it. The author likes to call them “word smith’s” because they can take words, whether it be yours or theirs and twist them to benefit themselves. Turkeys are also masters at covering their ineptitude. In short, turkeys are the team breakers rather than team members. They are team members who have a position but not a passion. You have heard it said that “eagles don’t flock”, well turkeys do! Dealing with the turkeys within a team or organization can be extremely tricky. If they have the favor or ear of the head leader a new leader must walk cautiously and carefully when dealing with them. Turkeys will not be hard to find for new leaders because they are insecure and normally they will make themselves known through their actions toward the new team member. Turkeysseem to always be striving to make life for a new leader difficult. If the new leader is confident, consistent, and committed and begins to get noticed for his or her successes he or she must be careful to watch their backs. The new leader must use their words and actions with great wisdom. Turkeys with a certain amount of “pull” or “power” or resources can make life miserable for new leaders trying to fulfill their purpose. A new leader must not be afraid to confront the turkey and stand up for what he or she is trying to get done. An effective way of dealing with a turkey is to let one’s work and success speak for itself. No one can argue with success!
The key to dealing with turkeys is to know what a turkey is. One can not deal with someone or something if that someone or something can not be identified. It is easy to identify a turkey because they have their own agendas. Usually they try and mask their agenda with words but their actions reveal the truth. Turkey’s are excellent politicians. They are full of false concern and they use that to gain information. They always seem to be where the head leader is and they always seem to be in his or her ear. Turkeys have a position but they do not have the passion or drive to fulfill the purpose of that position so they use words to cover ineptitude.
Turkeys are “Word Smiths”
They have the uncanny ability to use words to accomplish their agenda. In the book of Esther in the Bible there is a story of a man named Haman. He is a perfect example of a turkey. He used the king’s own words to have a whole people group exterminated. When the king finally discovered the plot because his queen, Esther, was a member of the people group condemned to die. He had Haman executed by the very words he used to try and destroy a whole people group.Just as Haman used words to fool the king turkeys use words to influence the head leader. The most alarming issue is that they can your words or their words and use them to gain leverage and benefit themselves. Words are powerful so a new leader should use them ever so carefully when dealing with the turkey or turkeys on a team or in an organization.
Turkeys are Masters at Covering Their Ineptitude
Many times the turkey has gotten to the place he or she has by using words to convince the head leader he or she is capable and possesses the abilities needed to fulfill the purpose. Other times the turkey has been put in the position due to the “principle of princes” or length of service in an organization. No matter how they got their they are masters at covering their own ineptitude. The glaring reality of this is felt when other members of the team are relying on the turkey to help them “tow the line” and accomplish the purpose the organization has been created to accomplish. The challenge comes when the turkey continuously “drops the ball” and leaves the new leader or other team members “holding the bag”. It is in those times they use words or actions to cover their ineptitude. Dishonesty and deceptive practices are tool used by these turkeys.
“Eagles Don’t Flock”
We have all heard that “eagles don’t flock” well turkeys do. They usually seem to flock the head leader. The heaviest challenge for a new leader comes when the turkey has the ear and the favor of the head leader. It is at this time the new leader must walk cautiously because he or she could be in grave danger. When a turkey has flocked with the head leader and he or she has gained favor the turkey will make sure the new leader understands the power that they wield. It is a defense mechanism Used by the turkey to keep new leaders and other team members at bay. Flocking close to the head leader provides protection for the turkey to cover ineptitude and it provides safety from the criticism of other team members.Turkeys are normally very insecure and they will attack the new leader or team member as a way of gaining self-assurance. They also attack the new team member if the head leader is paying particular attention to him or her. This is the best time for a new leader to establish themselves with the head leader by not attacking the turkey but letting the turkey hurt themselves.
Success Breeds Jealously from Turkeys
Turkeys do their best to make the lives of new leaders difficult. When a new leader comes in and is well liked by other team members the turkey will see that as a threat to their security. It is in these times that the new leader must be extra careful with words and actions. If a new leader comes in and begins to build success after success and the head eagle notices the efforts of the new leader the turkey can become jealous and launch an attack against the new leader. Jealously is an ugly thing and it can cause a lot of strife within a team. It can also be used by the turkey to cause times of trouble among team members. The new leader who works hard and gets results will be the target of any turkey within and organization. The turkey sees that as an attempt to take his or her place in the flock. The turkey also sees the new leader as a threat because their results based success will eventually reveal the ineptitude of the turkey. Jealous turkeys are even more dangerous than happy turkeys.
The Power of Turkey
Turkey’s with a certain amount of “pull”, “power” , or resources can make miserable for a new leader trying to fulfill his or her purpose. The head leader feels he or she can trust the turkey and the turkey is very careful to keep his or her agenda hidden from the head leader. The turkey will use his or her “pull” with the head leader to keep the new leader from being as successful as he or she can be. It is in those times that the new leader must be committed to his or her purpose and team. He or she must seek out the head leader and negate the “pull” of the turkey by sharing his or her purpose with the head leader and explaining the benefits for the organization a whole. The turkey will use his or her “power” to dishearten the new leader and cause ineffectiveness. The author has suffered at the hands of a turkey so he knows first hand what it means to be disheartened. One particular time the author was in need of equipment to fulfill a purpose and enhance the success of members of his team and the turkey told him, “You really don’t need that stuff to be successful. You just want that stuff. They did not need it in the old days and they don’t need it now.” Then the turkey proceeded to lose the purchase orders for over six months. The head leader never once questioned why the author was silent. Many months later the head leader called the author into the office and apologized for losing the purchase orders and the author finally received the much needed equipment. That equipment was helpful in making the author’s team successful. It also boosted the moral of the team members. Resources are vital to the success of a new leader. He or she must be committed to battling the turkeys to get the tools needed to accomplish the task and fulfill the purpose he or she was called upon to accomplish.
Stand Up and Fight
A new leader must not be afraid to stand up to the turkey and fight for what he or she needs to be successful. The use of wisdom and words are key to the successful battle against the turkey. Never fight behind closed doors where words can be used against you later. Make the battle known to the head leader. Communicate openly the concerns and challenges that are being faced. If the head leader does not know about the opposition the new leader is facing he or she can not help settle the issue. The best way for a new leader to silence a turkey is to let his or her work and success speak for itself. No one can argue with results. Results also allow the new leader to stand up and fight. When the new leader’s performance outweighs the performance of the turkey the head leader must see the value he or she has brought to the team and the organization. Turkeys are not in every organization and on every team but if your team has one and you are a new leader or team member it won’t be long before you know you have one. A new leader should seek to create success and deal with the turkeys upfront. Don’t do what the author did and wait until the lid blows off. Deal with the issue and fight fair.Let the merit of the work produced be the platform that facilitates dealing with the turkeys.
Life Lessons From The Author
If there is one thing this author hates it is turkeys. I do not hate any person I just hate their methods. In my life time I have allowed turkeys to get the best of me. Then I learned how to deal with them. I learned to keep my mouth shut and let my work speak for itself. I also learned that by keeping my mouth shut their glaring imperfections and methods were brought to light. In the beginning I would kick, scratch, claw, and fight with turkeys. I would attack when attack and it always seemed like I was the one with the bad attitude. You see turkeys have the uncanny ability to fire you up at just the right times. It seemed like right in the middle of my ranting this particular turkey would be sitting there enjoying himself as he watched me make a fool of myself. That is when the light went on! I determined no matter what he would do I would keep my cool and let his work speak for himself. It was not long before he was in the hot seat because of his inabilities. It would drive him crazy he would do all kinds of things to get under my skin. I would just let my work respond for me. After a while the turkey left me alone because he had to get to work. You see I was facilitating his ineptitude by covering it up with my ranting and raving. I still have to watch myself and sometimes I slip. But for the most part I allow the turkey to cook himself. Since I learned my lesson Thanksgiving is a lot more fun.