Much of it is revealed through the narrative of God's Story. Some is expressed in clear maxims of wisdom, while other insights come from reading between the lines, or rather, by paying attention to what is told and written.
Truth can be harsh
What the Bible has to say is not always positive. This is one of my favorite things about the Scriptures—it's honest. (Tweet or Share this) The truth is not glossed over, nor compromised.
Sometimes the truth is brutal to our ego, as it ought to be.
Recently, I was reading through a devotional and reread the story of the standoff between Moses and Pharaoh. Talk about egos and leadership, even though we are told later that Moses was the meekest (humblest) man on the earth (Numbers 12:3), Moses had an ego, as do all leaders.
Pharaoh's rash assessment that the Hebrews were lazy (Exodus 5:6-9), reminded me how easily leaders can lose connection with those they lead, whether they are soldiers or citizens. (Tweet or Share this)
When leaders lose connection, harsh consequences often follow. First, for those immediately impacted, in this case the Hebrews making bricks, but the ripple of consequence travels far and impacts many. This ripple effect touches those it was never intended to touch. This is seen as the story unfolds in Exodus.
It is easy to look through history, whether secular or biblical, and find great errors in judgment by leaders. Sometimes we fail to see how close to home it happens. (Tweet or Share this)
If the shoe fits
I've been the leader who made a decision, by default or with intent, and saw people suffer the consequences. Sometimes, too often, it has been within my own home as a parent or husband, or "c," both of these.
It's not just a trickle down or ripple effect. When a leader loses perspective, and their words and actions don't fit the reality of those they lead, it's a disconnect. (Tweet or Share this)
Rhetoric is not just useless and empty talk—it reinforces the reality of a leader's disconnect.
I like to read well-written historical novels and biographies. What I've read in them confirms what I've read in the Bible over many years—people in power make decisions that have immediate and ultimate consequences.
For most of us, the word consequence has a negative connotation. But its meaning is neutral—an effect or result of something said or done. So, a consequence can be good or bad.
The wrong agenda
The attitude of Pharaoh towards the Hebrew slaves is echoed throughout history. His agenda was at odds with the condition of the people he led, or in this case, had control over. His arrogance and disdain put him out of touch with the people directly impacted by his decision. He wanted what he wanted and didn't care about the cost.
Reading accounts of some wartime decisions made by commanders mirrors Pharaoh's disconnect with the Hebrew slaves. There are plenty of examples to draw from, such as, Napoleon at Waterloo, countless battles in the US Civil War, the Battle of the Bulge, and in more recent battles in the Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan wars.
Perhaps this error in judgment of commanders is epitomized best in Tennyson's classic poem, The Charge of the Light Brigade.
This problem of disconnect is the result of a leader's disengagement with people—the people he or she has responsibility for and leads. (Tweet or Share this)
Some helpful advice I found
Many years ago I came across a helpful book that addresses this problem, as well as others—The Top Ten Mistakes Leaders Make, by Hans Finzel. This book resonated with me so much I bought a case of them while ministering in the Philippines. I gave them to my leadership staff, board members of our ministry and our church, and some friends in leadership.
I still recommend it. It's one of the most practical and clear books on leadership I've come across. It's not full of axioms and theories, but useful and honest guidance. The humble honesty is what resonated for me. I could relate to all the issues addressed from experience, as the author did.
If anyone looks to you for guidance or as an example, you are a leader. It doesn't matter how small your sphere of influence is, what you say and do matters. (Tweet or Share this) This is why personal, intentional discipleship is so essential. (Tweet or Share this)
Let me leave you with some questions to consider (that I ask of myself)—
- Are you actively engaged and in touch with those you lead, whether at home or at work? (Tweet or Share this)
- Are you honest and humble enough to admit when you are wrong and make amends? (Tweet or Share this)
- Are you honest and humble enough to change and make adjustments in how you lead and relate with people? (Tweet or Share this)
- What are you doing daily—with the Lord and your heart—to be better connected as a leader and example? (Tweet or Share this)