Last time I agreed with Jim Collins characterization of a leader including both personal humility and professional will (or personal resolve). Regarding these traits, I recently spent some time thinking about the businesses I’m involved in. I was reminded of a story in the Old Testament about a leader named Nebuchadnezzar (I will call him Neb). The story encourages us to take into account two more surrounding facets.
- God is sovereign.
- God places us in leadership roles as well as places the leaders above us.
Whether or not you believe in God is a decision left up to you (another potential conversation in a different thread). Even if you don’t, the story still applies some fundamental ideals. One, it is impossible for us to control all aspects of our own lives. Attempting to control every detail of our life is an insatiable thirst for something which will never exist. Two, those who lead us do so because we are willing to follow. Any definition of the word inherently implies this:
1: the activity of leading; “his leadership inspired the team” [syn: leading] 2: the body of people who lead a group; “the national leadership adopted his plan” [syn: leaders] 3: the status of a leader; “they challenged his leadership of the union” 4: the ability to lead; “he believed that leadership can be taught”
– Source: WordNet ® 2.0, © 2003 Princeton University (via Dictionary.com)
Neb’s problem was his lack of humility. He believed he had control of his own life and all the things he created. He alone took the credit for his vast empire which he certainly did not physically build alone. He could not have done it without his followers (or the fact he was placed in that position by family heritage, not by his own will).
In contrast, next, we’ll take a look at some other leaders who were more humble about their successes.