Every gardener encounters ants in the garden. For a leader, these ‘ants’ could be people, circumstances or issues which ‘bite hard and leave you in discomfort’. However, there are valuable lessons to be learnt from the ant. Difficult circumstances will most surely come, but they should move you in the direction of becoming like the ant – disciplined, diligent, developing structure, team-work, service, and most of all, visionary – pacing yourself to provide for the future.
These are all principles you should practice for effective leadership. Proverbs 6:6 says: ‘Go to the ant, O sluggard. Observe her ways and be wise’. Learning how to manage your life means that you can be dependable and trusted. An effective leader learns from the circumstances that bring discomfort, and keeps focussed on the vision.
Learning to work as a team reflects God’s design order of support for each member of the body. ‘For even as the body is one and yet has many members, and all the members of the body, though they are many, are one body, so also is Christ’. 1 Cor.12:12. Teamwork develops and reflects the Unity in Purpose that a leader inspires in his followers.
Just like the daily sunshine gives some predictability to growing plants, effective leaders lead with purpose. The purpose of sunshine is to provide an environment where productive energy is high and where growth and reproduction are happening. Purpose gives meaning to life. Our purpose on earth is to glorify God. It begins with a strong relationship to God that is relentless in multiplying and being fruitful.
Learning to treat others as you would like to be treated is the distillation of the 10 Commandments: ‘Treat others the same way you want them to treat you’. Luke 6:31.This teaches Love for God and love for neighbour. This is the kind of servant leadership Christ taught His disciples. When you examine the leadership qualities of the One Whom we follow you will see that Luke 2: 52 said of Him, even in childhood: ‘and Jesus increased in wisdom and stature and in favour with God and man’. These are the seeds of growing leaders who serve others.
Learning to memorize Scripture to guide your life becomes one of the most practical out-workings of the seeds of sowing and reaping. What you think about, what motivates you and what you eventually become passionate about, is an indicator of what you will become. Therefore the warning to: ‘Guard your heart‘, is worth meditating on – Prov.4:23. A wise leader also guards his heart by meditating on Scripture to guide his thoughts and passions.
If you were to examine many of the Biblical characters provided as role models for you to follow, you will see that they all exhibited a strong vertical relationship with God, before they experienced a horizontal relationship with their fellow men.
- Noah believed God when no one else did. He exhibited Faith and Courage
- Abraham believed God and it was counted to him as righteousness. He exercised Faith, Courage and sometimes Fear
- Jacob exercised Faith, Diligence and Hard work, Courage, Integrity and even Fear
- Joseph exhibited Courage, Trustworthiness, Wisdom, Integrity
- Moses had Faith, Courage, God-given Vision, Humility
- Joshua had Faith, Courage and a Vision for the future.
One aspect of leadership that God instituted from Moses’ time is the need for a leader to train others to do the job when he is gone. There must be succession training. Parents train children, so they can train their children and the subsequent generations. The children of Israel were told to ‘write these things and teach them to your children and to your grandchildren’. Moses was told to recite these things in Joshua’s ears.
So how should you measure your leadership?
Effective Leadership is disciplined and diligent; it develops structure, team-work and service; is visionary – looking to and planning for the future. It develops teamwork which reflects Unity in Purpose. Purpose gives meaning to life. Our purpose on earth is to glorify God.
Effective leadership begins with a strong relationship to God that is relentless in multiplying and being fruitful. Effective leadership is also servant leadership, which is what Christ taught His disciples.
Effective leaders grow in self-awareness. They are constantly asking themselves:
- Am I a good steward of God’s resources and faithful in little?
- Do I have integrity? (keep my word, dependable, faithful, trustworthy)
- Do I have a vertical relationship with God and can others recognize it?
- Who do I admire/esteem?
- What am I passionate about?
- What social issues stir in me, a deep grief because of a lack of righteousness in the land, and what can I/my children do about them?
- How am I preparing the next generation to lead?
How You Should NOT Lead
Matt 20: 25-28: “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them. 26 It is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant, 27 and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave;28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”