What messages are we sending?

Have you read about the latest issue regarding the legalization of recreational use of marijuana in the state of Colorado? There was an interesting article this weekend in The Denver Post. (article on Denver homeless) The paper reports that the number of those who are homeless and seeking assistance from Denver charities has increased significantly. Many attribute this rise in homelessness to the legalization of marijuana.

This is not the only change in Colorado since the new law as passed. Many hospitals report more admissions of adults and children sick due to ingestion of marijuana. 12.5% of drivers pulled over for driving under the influence became impaired after the use of marijuana. At the same time, it appears that the violent crime rate has decreased across the state.

Hard facts are tough to come by related to the legalization of marijuana with one big exception: During the first five months of the state law allowing for recreational use of marijuana, the state generated $12.6M dollars due to marijuana-related taxes and fees.

Let’s got back to the issue of the Denver homeless population growing. During a radio show today, I heard one of Denver’s new homeless explain that he had never been in Colorado before, but had come to the state after their drug laws had changed.  He commented that he “enjoys” being in a place where “finding weed is easy and the where the people are nice.”

Hmmm. When the 55% of Colorado voters marked their ballot to legalize marijuana, did they intend to shout the message “Denver is now open for marijuana use – food and shelter provided.” I doubt it. It should be interesting to see how they deal with this “unintended consequence.”

As leaders, we need to consider carefully the messages we send. For instance, the micro-manager teaches workers that personal initiative is not desired. The never-to-be-seen supervisors teaches that since they don’t show up at the site, the task must not be important. The overly lenient manager shouts with their actions that the workplace really is a free for all, no standards exist.

What messages are we communicating?  We must daily consider our words and deeds; we may be saying more than we think!

“To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in His steps.”  (I Peter 2:21)

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