There is no doubt that the lack of quality leadership today is rampant. In fact, one of the primary indicators to a business’ long term success, employee engagement, community prosperity and strong family ties is leadership. Which begs the question, if leadership is so vital to positive outcomes, why is there such a deficiency of quality leaders? As I look back over my career, I have had the good fortune to have had many leaders. Some were good, some bad and others made no influcence at all. However, it wasn’t until I began studying what the Bible has to say about the subject and looked at the leadership examples it highlighted, that my perspective on the subject was inspired and truly transformed. I wouldn’t claim to be a great leader nor assume to have all the answers, but I definitely know I desire to be a Godly leader. My guess is many of us may feel the same. So, provided below are a few insights gleaned from the Bible to help us in this worthy pursuit:
Influential: What type of influence do we make, or do others make on us? Ultimately, there is either a positive, neutral or negative impact. An interesting illustration to this point arises when we look at the nation of Israel and how their progress was greatly determined by the heart of their king at a particular time. If they had a Godly King, blessings followed, if not, chaos and breakdown ensued. Thus, as we look around us and our spear of influence, is there chaos breaking out in our homes, jobs and community, or blessings, unity and progress? We must then examine the type of influence we are making, and adjust accordingly (Psalm 101:3). It won’t be easy and will require sacrifice and commitment, but making a positive impact always does. It’s the neutral and negative impact that’s easy, which is also why it’s so common.
Relational: In order to have influence however, we must have relationships. For effective leaders are relational leaders. They get involved, are committed and care to know the people around them. They aren’t the dictators that stand alone and never interact, or get involved with others. Quite the opposite. They care and they seek to discover the strengths in others and pull that out of them so that they develop to be better leaders (Proverbs 27:17). For in the end, Godly leaders seek to multiply Godly leaders. Jesus demonstrates this well when he built relationships with twelve common men, and as a result, we continue to feel their impact today.
Developmental: As mentioned, once we have relationships established, we are better able to develop others. As an example, I once had an executive coach assigned to me during my corporate career – an experience I’m very thankful for having had. One of the most rememberable insights shared during this time was when I was directed to stop paying so much attention to my weaknesses, but rather focus more on my strengths. This was hard to do because I felt to get better I had to work on my weakest areas. Yet, what her wisdom revealed was that my efforts to improve weak areas was taking too much of my time and left me feeling discouraged and exhausted. Alternately, focusing on my strengths generated better results faster and left me feeling motivated and encouraged because I was seeing success as I leveraged my gifts (1 Peter 4:10). This was a light bulb moment for me and wisdom we can all apply – focus on our own strengths and the strengths of others and develop those areas. Not that we neglect weaknesses, but focus more energy on the gifts we’ve all been given.
Application: “Good To Godly” – Psalm 78:72
Most in the business world have probably heard of the book, Good to Great. However, I’d like to humbly suggest there is something better. Good To Godly. We may be doing good, but we will truly never achieve greatness until we are Godly. For God transforms our hearts and a transformed heart empowers us to leave a Godly legacy. Again, just look at the disciples for evidence of what Godly leaders can do. Now imagine our churches, our homes, our communities and our businesses filled with more leaders like that! We can be one of them and that’s truly a great way to “lead” a legacy.