Guy Mason - April 2012
27 Mar 2012
“What I am learning about leadership.” (Part 2)
In my last edition I shared the story of a cupbearer named Nehemiah who served the king of Persia 500 years before Christ. It was a role that required him to drink the king’s wine should someone try to poison the cup. It was a position of sacrifice and service.
Yet one day he heard news that places him at a crossroads. He learns that Jerusalem is in ruins. He’s an ordinary man, faced with an extraordinary need.
It’s a gripping narrative that highlights not only God’s power but also what can be achieved when we unite and make a stand for him. As Nehemiah learns, the broken walls of our life and city are never beyond his repair – God is able to do immeasurably more than we ever think or imagine.
In my last column I shared that “effective leadership requires action, God’s strength and a servant heart”. This month I have two more observations.
Firstly, effective leaders don’t just work in the project but on the project.
In chapter three of the book of Nehemiah we see a long list of names. These are God’s people who each played a part in building the wall. It is curious that Nehemiah himself is not listed. Nehemiah is not “on the wall” because he knew that to get the job done it is unwise to be working in the project but must work on the project as well. Had he been up the ladder on the wall he would have been blind-sided to the rest of the project. Stepping off the wall allows him to get a bigger picture and see areas for improvement, support and attention.
This a valuable principle for life.
You can be on the treadmill of life and never stop to see where you want to go, and if you are taking the necessary steps and making the necessary decisions to get there.
The only way to do that is by regularly stepping back and asking the big questions. For example, ask: How’s my life going? Am I doing what I should be doing to get me where God wants me to be? Do I know God? Am I seeking to know what his purpose is for my life? Are there areas of my life and character that need to be changed? How’s my health, my finances? If you’re married ask your wife/husband, How’s our relationship going? Do you feel loved and respected by me? It’s all big-picture stuff, but very important if you are to make the most of the days you have.
Secondly, effective leaders take time to acknowledge individuals who serve and help achieve the vision.
The men and women who helped rebuild the wall worked hard. They sacrificed time and money. They endured much opposition.
I love that Nehemiah not only knew each of his workers by name, he took time to publicly acknowledge who they were and what they did. To have your name in the Bible is no small thing! And Nehemiah thought it fitting to honour them in this way.
In a world where everyone is shooting for self-promotion and glory, why not be distinct as a leader? Work hard at not only knowing who is in your team, but also working hard at acknowledging their efforts.
This can be done privately but also (and importantly) publicly. Within this ask: How do they specifically like to be acknowledged? It could be with words of affirmation, a gift, a letter, promotion, etc. There are many and varied ways to show someone you value them. What’s important is that you find that out and put it into action.
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