The Secret to Leadership
We work with a lot of leaders doing what we do, so the subject of leadership comes up quite a bit—whether we are discussing leaders we admire or our own leadership style and goals. Countless books have been written on the subject. In fact, asimple search on Amazon will produce hundreds of pages of options.
Can you guess one of our favorite leadership books? The Bible!
In the scriptures, you’ll find trusted advice regarding wisdom, hard work and leadership as well as plenty of examples of how the application (or the lack of application!) can play out in real life.
We know that a critical trait that good leaders must possess is wisdom. Being an effective leader is not just about being wise, it’s about connecting with the source of wisdom.
"It is the Lord who gives wisdom; from him come knowledge and understanding. He provides help and protection for those who are righteous and honest. He protects those who treat others fairly, and guards those who are devoted to him." Proverbs 2:6-8 (GNT)
For those who misuse their wisdom and don’t give heed to the source, we see a warning. The prophet Ezekiel spoke against the king of Tyre, stating:
"Your wisdom and skill made you rich with treasures of gold and silver. You made clever business deals and kept on making profits. How proud you are of your wealth!
Now then, this is what I, the Sovereign Lord, am saying: Because you think you are as wise as a god, I will bring ruthless enemies to attack you. They will destroy all the beautiful things you have acquired by skill and wisdom." Ezekiel 28:4-7 (GNT)
Obviously the king’s wisdom about business dealings made him a hefty profit, but his lack of humility was his demise.
King Daniel knew the importance of humility. After humbly praying to God for His wisdom in regards to the interpretation of a dream, and not just depending on his own knowledge and skill, Daniel received a revelation from God, after which he praised:
God is wise and powerful!
Praise him forever and ever.
He controls the times and the seasons;
he makes and unmakes kings;
it is he who gives wisdom and understanding.
He reveals things that are deep and secret;
he knows what is hidden in darkness,
and he himself is surrounded by light.
— Daniel 2:20 (GNT)
The apostle Paul declares that God is all-wise (Romans 16:27). Being led by God’s Spirit is necessary—God’s wisdom does not come naturally.
What most would consider wisdom may be perfectly sensible by ordinary standards, but unfortunately the world we live in is distorted by selfishness, violence, greed, and oppression. God’s radical righteousness and unfailing love—aware of evil but uncontaminated by it—gives a perspective very different from ours. God’s wisdom leads to the cross.
Conventional wisdom says that mercy, grace, forgiveness, and love of enemies do not make sense:
"For the message about Christ's death on the cross is nonsense to those who are being lost; but for us who are being saved it is God's power." 1 Corinthians 1:18 (GNT)
But wise leaders have been and are being transformed by God’s saving power!
Ultimately, wise leaders are not actually very different from those who follow. The journey of faith brings leaders and followers alike to a promised home where even wisdom meets its end in the glory of God.
As leaders, we find our end in the One who is the Beginning and the End, the Leader who is wise beyond all wisdom—God Most High.
We’d love to hear which Bible verses have influenced your leadership style. Leave a comment and share!