I actually had a leadership thought in my quiet time this morning. I used to have all sorts of leadership ideas, thoughts, principles, values, and systems that I would work through my head and hear about from John Maxwell, Craig Groeshell or some of the other men who have really lived principles of leadership. I love reading leadership books, materials, and watching videos that have leadership material within them. But one of the things that is often talked about and is “old school” is the principle or value or whatever you want to call it of going to our elders for advice. I don’t mean the elders of the church (although that would be a great group of men to get advice from) but more the concept of going to someone that is older, has lived longer, has more experience and really is wiser in essence because of their experience to seek counsel and advice. I am working through God’s word and reading a bunch of scripture at a time in the mornings, but this morning, I came across 2 Chronicles 10 where Rehoboam basically needs some advice from some different folks as to how he should lead the people that he was in charge of. When I have heard leadership talks on this issue, it usually is about the way that we must choose to lead people by getting their buy in and by really allowing them a hand in the decision and not being a heavy handed leader. But as I read, I think there is a whole different concept presented in this section that speaks to leadership principles and values.
Rehoboam first goes to those that were older and asks their advice. They give him great advice that we should heed in our lives to go back to the people and really see what they have to say and make sure that they feel heard and then advance forward from there. Rehoboam (in his youth and I’m youthful as he is in many ways) decides that he doesn’t like that answer and instead heads to the “young men” of the culture to ask their advice. They say, “Just tell the people that you rule more heavy handed than your father did and that it’s your way or the highway!” And Rehoboam liked this answer alot and decided to do so. He was no longer a leader. No one was following him because they wanted to but because he would kill them if they didn’t. Too many times, we as young leaders, attempt to assert ourselves as leaders when we really must be willing to invest the time with people to allow them some time to either buy into the concept or genuinely disagree so that an organization can go a different direction. I think we sometimes disguise our wanting to have people “buy in” by asking people to come to a meeting and then asking them for any input when we really have already made the decision. This is not only heavy handed but also downright deceptive. And once those values are exposed, leaders will lose any platform that they might have had before to speak from.
I struggle to lead well at times. Leading myself is easy. I can make decisions and choices that I want to follow. I do think that we must lead ourselves well and in step with scripture to keep ourselves eligible to lead others. But sometimes the principles and values of my self leadership influence how I lead others. And that is where I must stop and remember that collectively, people need to be on board and that takes a group of people leading themselves to follow another. And that can be hard depending on the situation.
I don’t think that this section of scripture is any excuse for not making hard decisions in the moment of battle. It’s really not where”leaders stand in the moments of comfort and convenience but where they stand in the times of challenge and controversy” (that’s a quote from my office wall) that defines their leadership. But if they are standing alone in those moments of challenge and controversy, they cannot be described as leaders. They are simply self leaders that lead themselves to the middle of nowhere.
Okay, application: I’m going to seek counsel from those with more experience. And God has given me that right here where I am at in the situation that I am in. I will push hard, make hard decisions, based in the council of God’s word and of the others that self lead in a way that holds God’s word to be true!