Leadership: What is it? (part 2)

The introduction to the book “Leadership Meditations” is a great starter for describing what leadership is:

It’s easy for us to feel overwhelmed by the fact that God has called us to lead. That he has entrusted to us the responsibilty of caring for other people, guiding an organization, solving problems, pointing the way for our families or others under our influence. King David, too, must have felt overwhelmed when he considered God’s call on his life.

When Psalm 78 lists “the praisworthy deeds of the Lord, his power, and the wonders he has done” (NIV), it includes God’s parting the Red Sea, guiding the Israelites by a supernatural fire, making water gush from a rock, and dropping a flaky, delicious white food out of the sky. But the psalm concludes with a deed that should astound anyone: “He [God] chose David his servant and took him from the sheep pens; from tending the sheep he brought him to be the shepherd of his people Jacob, of Israel his inheritance. And David shepherded them with integrity of heart; with skillful hands he led them” (vv. 70-71) . . . .

No wonder David prayed, “Who am I, O Lord God, and what is my family, that you have brought me this far? . . . You speak as though I were someone very great, O Lord God” (1 Chron. 17:16-17)

This last comment by David sums up much of what I have read so far. The best leaders, what Jim Collins calls “Level 5 leaders”, are an amazing combination of personal humility and professional will. I posit that it’s not just professional will, it’s personal resolve. Resolve to do the right thing, always, unconditionally, sacrificially, no matter what the circumstances. Think Abraham Lincoln.

Nate Ritter lives in the Pacific Northwest (U.S.), popularized the #hashtag and creates web applications for a living. He also does miles and point hacking to enable cheap travel for his family. More here →

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