I’ve seen so many ministries and organizations go wrong by failing to recognize and abide by this very true and biblical principle articulated by Colin Powell in his book It Worked for Me: In Life and Leadership:
Whenever I took command of a unit, I announced early on that my bias was toward the guys in the field; I took their word as ground truth. Until I was persuaded otherwise, my staff must be wrong. This did not make my staff happy, but that was good.
My bias toward the guys in the field may sound unreasonable, but here’s how it worked for me. First, it let my staff know that our clients were the leaders on the line and their troops. My staff didn’t work for me. My staff worked for them. Problem solving went both down and up. Once every staff member realized that any field commander could drop a dime on them to me, they worked like the devil to solve field problems. The staff realized they couldn’t make me happy unless the line was happy.
….Over my many long years of experience, the line was right about 70 percent of the time.