DCL 2.2 Instruction | The Hammer Principle

 The Hammer Principle: Never Use a Hammer to Swat a Fly Off of Someone’s Head


Video Presentation: Todd Mullins, Lead Pastor, Christ Fellowship, Florida


One of the easiest traps for a leader to fall into is to exaggerate a situation. Because we are human, we can get caught up emotionally in our problems and overreact to them. You might call this swatting a fly with a hammer. Leaders must work hard to respond to situations and people with the appropriate emotion and resolve. Leaders who are steady, wise and objective win the trust of others. In fact, leaders who practice this steady behavior have a calming effect on followers. When leaders fail to practice this, they forfeit some of their influence. This is exactly what happened to King Rehoboam in the Old Testament.


Biblical Case Study: Four Examples of People in the Bible unnecessarily using “hammers” – overreacting!

  • Joseph’s brothers in leaving him in a pit to die (Genesis 38:20-27)
  • King David sent Uriah to the battlefront to die (2 Samuel 11:14-27)
  • Herod the King executing infant males (Matthew 2:1-18)
  • Pilate executing an innocent defendant, Jesus (Matthew 27:11-26)


In order to respond with wisdom, try practicing the following principles:

  • Total Picture – Don’t jump to conclusions, but listen to gain a big picture perspective.
  • Timing – When you act may be as important as taking the right action.
  • Tone – People often respond to our attitudes more than our words.
  • Temperature – Make sure the problem and the reaction match.



  • Would others say you overreact to small issues in your organisation?

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