#114: 4 Sure-Fire Ways to Fail as a Leader

For those of you looking for sure-fire ways to fail as a leader, I’ve got four techniques you’ll want to try out. For those of you who prefer to rise and shine as a leader, it would be best to avoid these.

Fail as a Leader

Sure-Fire tip #1: Don’t be decisive

Being decisive is a sign of a powerful leader. You can’t afford to be seen as decisive if you want to fail as a leader. This is especially important if you are surrounded by enemies who are ready to attack. It is key that you let someone else think they are a leader by stepping out in front. Afterall the people in front of the army most often end up with arrows in their chests! It’s about survival, baby!

Sure-Fire Tip #2: Don’t do anything to inspire your organization

There is no sense spending time and energy inspiring your organization towards a common vision or goal if you want to be a bad leader. Look, you are large and in charge. You didn’t get where you are by making flowery speeches about some great vision. Tell the peons to get on board, or else!

Sure-Fire Tip #3: Don’t listen to other’s advice

Being a bad leader gives you the freedom to be your own man/woman. Hey, you’re the boss. What you say goes. You give orders and expect them to be carried out post haste! Just because some wise counselor says you should do something one way, what gives them the right to tell you what to do?! You didn’t ask for their input anyway!

Sure-Fire Tip #4: Don’t be honest about your shortcomings

Nothing can be gained by admitting your weaknesses (as if you had any). When confronted with your failures you need to cover-up, lie, and blame others. Make sure you keep track of those who are bold enough to speak out about your short-comings—they need to be dealt with!

For Further Study

I hope you’ve found these four sure-fire ways to fail as a leader helpful. If you want to study a little more about leadership failure take a look at 1 Samuel 14. In this chapter, King Saul demonstrates each of these four techniques brilliantly.

To set the scene the people of Israel had been selected by God to be His special people. He had led them for hundreds of years, caring for them, protecting them, and providing for them. But the people were unhappy, they wanted a king like all the other people (their enemies) had.

God told the prophet, Samuel, to anoint Saul as their king. God warned the people what it would be like to have an earthly king, but they insisted. Here’s a recap of Saul’s failures from this chapter:

  1. Saul failed to act decisively when threatened by the Philistines (1 Samuel 14:1-4). Jonathon, his son, declared war on the Philistines and defeated them, yet Saul took credit for the victory.
  2. Saul failed to inspire or control his army (1 Samuel 14:5-7). Some of the men ran away, some hid, and some left the country.
  3. Saul failed to follow Samuel’s directions to wait seven days before offering a sacrifice (1 Samuel 14:8-9). His impatience and rebellion against God began his downward spiral early in his reign.
  4. Saul lied to Samuel in an attempt to excuse his actions (1 Samuel 14: 10-15). When Samuel confronted Saul he lied to Samuel rather than confessing and repenting his sin. (We’ll catch Saul in a similar lie in 1 Samuel 15:15.)

So you see, we have a Biblical example of how to fail as a leader. Of course, these weren’t all of Saul’s mistakes, just the ones we see in this chapter, but they should be enough to get you started on the path to failing as a leader.

I’ve been a bit tongue in cheek here. As my daughter says, “the sarcasm light is on!” We may laugh a bit as I recount these characterizations of poor leaders. But seriously, look around at the people who are leaders in business and in government, and tell me you don’t see each of these playing out every day!

As Christians, we are called to be separate from the world, but part of the world. We need to be the shining light on the hill that draws others to Christ through our example. So how about we practice not exhibiting any of these failed leadership practices?

Join the Conversation

As always questions and comments are welcome. Have you ever been this kind of leader? In what way? Have you worked for this kind of leader?  How did you respond? What was the result?

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Category: Personal Development | Character

 

#113: Do Not Be Overcome by Evil but Overcome Evil with Good

Raise your hand if you have you ever been hurt by someone. Perhaps a relative, close friend or a co-worker did you wrong. Did it make your blood boil, or tie your gut into knots? Did you lie awake at night tossing and turning plotting your revenge?

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good

If so, you’re in good company with most of the human race over 2 years old. If you are like me, you’ve been hurt by someone in ways that you never expected! Perhaps more than once!

What do you do? How do you respond? When I was a good bit younger and before I accepted Christ the answer was simple, plot my revenge. Yes, sweet revenge.

As I got a little older, and somewhat more mature, I realized we have three options when responding to someone who has done us wrong.

Nabal’s Evil and Abigail’s Good

As I was studying 1 Samuel 25 recently, I came across the somewhat familiar story of David and his encounter with Nabal and Abigail. But this time as I read, I saw something that I never noticed before; in this story are three options for how we can respond when someone has wronged us.

Let me set the scene.

David and 600 men with their families (some 2,400 people) had been on the run hiding from Saul for some time because Saul had vowed to kill David. The area they were in was plagued by invading armies and robbers. David and his army of 600 protected the people living in that part of the country.

David came to the area where Nabal, a very rich man lived. David sent men to inquire of Nabal for some provision for his men in return for their having protected Nabal and his property. Nabal’s response was both arrogant and insulting.

When David heard it, he vowed to kill Nabal. When Abigail, Nabal’s wife, heard how her husband had treated David’s men she gathered a food offering together, took it to David, and implored him not to kill Nabal and bring bloodguilt on himself. David relented and vowed not to kill Nabal because of the kindness Abigail had shown him.

Three Possible Responses

  • We can return evil for good as Nabal did when he refused to return David’s kindness.
  • We can return evil for evil as David considered when he swore to kill Nabal.
  • Or, we can return evil with good as David ultimately did when he accepted Abigail’s offering and apology for her husband.

Do Not Be Overcome by Evil but Overcome Evil with Good

If you wonder which of the three responses is the one scripture supports, focus on option 3, “Do Not Be Overcome by Evil but Overcome Evil with Good.”

Evil contaminates others. When you pay back good with evil it contaminates others. When evil exists it tends to grow in a family, a society, or a company. It becomes acceptable to be evil to those who are good.

Evil will never leave the house of one who pays back evil for good. Proverbs 17:13

Consider what is honorable. As Christians, we should be careful not to act in haste, but to carefully consider what course of action is honorable. We should always focus on doing what brings honor to our Lord and Savior.

Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. Romans 12:17

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. Romans 12:21

Repay evil with blessing. As Christians, we should not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. Rather, our example should be to repay evil with a blessing, because this is what we are called to do as Christians, and in so doing we will receive a blessing.

Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing. 1 Peter 3:9

Join the Conversation

As always questions and comments are welcome. Have there been times in your personal or business life when someone hurt you, wronged you? How did you respond? What was the result?

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Category: Personal Development | Discipline

 

#112: A Warning of Judgement from God for all Wannabe Leaders

I recall a Forbes article from a few years ago listing the top 10 most corrupt leaders of all time. Big surprise, all 10 were politicians—presidents of their respective countries.

Judgement Jeremiah

While no U.S. presidents made the list, it was easy to find a list of the top 10 most corrupt business leaders in America. More than a few were involved in politics in some way. Their corruption generally centered on fraudulent accounting and reporting activities while they enjoyed lifestyles of the rich and famous. The result of their corruption was failed companies, and unemployed workers left without their retirement funds.

God holds leaders responsible for their actions in a very special way. When God was getting ready to judge the nation of Israel for their sin He commanded Jeremiah to prophesy to them (Jeremiah 25:30-38). God used some very graphic language describing Himself, and what was going to happen to the nations of the world including the Israelites. Five of the six graphic images of God’s judgement are directed to the people in general. But God calls out leaders in particular in the sixth illustration of His wrath:

Judgement for doomed leaders would be like being chased by wild lions with nowhere to hide.

Leaders, in God’s economy, bear a special heightened level of responsibility and accountability for their leadership.

It seems today, as in Jeremiah’s time, many men want to become leaders for the power and prestige that comes with the mantle of leadership without much regard to the responsibility and accountability that goes with such a position.

Listen now to God’s words directed to the bad leaders of Jeremiah’s time:

“Weep and wail, you shepherds; roll in the dust, you leaders of the flock. For your time to be slaughtered has come; you will fall and be shattered like fine pottery. The shepherds will have nowhere to flee, the leaders of the flock no place to escape. Hear the cry of the shepherds, the wailing of the leaders of the flock, for the LORD is destroying their pasture. The peaceful meadows will be laid waste because of the fierce anger of the LORD. Like a lion he will leave his lair, and their land will become desolate because of the sword of the oppressor and because of the LORD’s fierce anger.” Jeremiah 25:34-38 (NIV)

These leaders could weep and mourn all they wanted, but God’s judgement was coming. They would be slaughtered with nowhere to flee to safety. Even their possessions were to be destroyed.

Why did God single out leaders? Because these leaders had led God’s people away from God. They were priests, rulers, judges, and prophets who all played a part in pushing God out of people’s lives to the point that they had rejected God and begun to worship false gods.

You and I may not be priests, ruler, judges, or prophets (although some of you may be), but regardless, if God has given you the privilege of leading then along with that privilege comes the added responsibility and accountability to God for the care of his people.

Make no mistake, God is jealous for His people. Jesus, teaching the disciples gave this warning,

“But whoever causes the downfall of one of these little ones who believe in Me—it would be better for him if a heavy millstone were hung around his neck and he were drowned in the depths of the sea!” Matthew 18:6 (HCSB)

So take care leaders. Whether you are leading little children in the family or in a classroom, or leading great companies, or even nations God expects us to take great care to lead in such a way that we care for His children.

Join the Conversation

As always questions and comments are welcome. Do you know of leaders who have led God’s people astray. Does knowing how God feels about the responsibility of leadership give you pause?

I’d love your help. This blog is read primarily because people like you share it with friends. Would you share it by pressing one of the share buttons below?

 

Category: Relationships | Exhortation

 

#111: 4 Types of Leaders Who Rejected God and Failed

The world is a mess. Sorry to be so blunt, but look around.

Bible Leaders Jeremiah

Religious leaders are more concerned with their popularity than rightly dividing the Word of God. Business leaders are getting caught in their lies on a regular basis. Lawyers and judges are making a mockery of our system of jurisprudence. And politicians! Don’t even get me started on the politicians. Regardless of which side of the political aisle you prefer, they all seem to be more worried about building their power base than in governing well!

And what really bugs me is this is nothing new! This has been going for centuries and we the people have to pay the price!

Two weeks ago we learned about God’s call on Jeremiah to prophesy to the people of Israel (#109: Will you answer God when He calls you to lead?). Jeremiah was a bit reluctant to take on the task, but God convinced him it was the right thing to do for the sake of the people.

God goes on to tell Jeremiah why his prophecies were needed, and in the midst of that God described four groups of leaders who had utterly failed the people:

The priests quit asking, “Where is the LORD?” The experts in the law no longer knew Me, and the rulers rebelled against Me. The prophets prophesied by Baal and followed useless idols. Jeremiah 2:8 (HCSB)

The Priests

The priesthood was established specifically to mediate between God and man. They were to be God’s representatives to the people. These priests did not seek God’s counsel in teaching or leading the people.

Those Who Handle the Law

Moses established judges (see Exodus 18:21-22) for the nation of Israel. These men were to be able men, who feared God, loved truth, and hated covetousness. These judges don’t have a relationship with God, let alone fear God, love truth, and hate covetousness.

Rulers

The rulers of the day (kings and other politicians) had turned away from God. They made conscious decisions to live lives their way; wicked lives of disobedience and rebellion against God.

Prophets

The prophets were men, and occasionally women, who God called on to speak His Word directly to specific people. These prophets, instead of giving the people God’s Word were leading people astray by prophesying about the false god Baal.

The Resulting Judgement

The result of these four groups of people ignoring their responsibilities to lead the way God expected was that the entire nation had come to reject God. With the people’s rejection of God, came God’s judgement upon the people. God’s judgement included the nation of Israel being conquered, and the people sent into exile until they repented and came back to God.

Parallel to Today’s Leaders

Certainly some of our leaders are doing a good job of following God by representing Him faithfully and truthfully. I don’t want to suggest that all our leaders are corrupting influences on society.

But look around, do you see the parallel between the days of Jeremiah and our world today?

We have religious leaders who are cutting out whole sections of God’s Word because it doesn’t fit their narrative. I saw an article just this morning about a pastor who doesn’t believe in God! He is not the first and I am sure will not be the last, but really, “How can we survive as a people of God, when our pastors reject God?”

Judges and lawyers, the people who administer our legal system seem to be fighting harder to keep God and His presence as far away from the courtroom as they possibly can. Not only do we not have to swear on the Bible to tell the truth when we provide testimony, we have judges who want to make up their own moral systems based on their own humanistic values.

Our rulers, politicians if you will, at city, county, state, and federal levels are trying to push God out of our schools, our hospitals, and even out of the military.

We don’t see or hear about many prophets of God today, but there are certainly false prophets abounding throughout our society. They tell lies and while leading people away from the One True God, they cause people to worship false gods.

The Good News

All is not lost. I’ve read to the end of the book and I know who wins. In the meantime, it behooves us as believers, to listen to the Holy Spirit, God’s voice to us today. We need to do everything we can to be the kind of example to non-believers that will draw people back to God. We need to do what we can to install leaders who respect and faithfully follow God.

The consequence of not doing so, for the sake of future generations, is too frightening to contemplate.

Join the Conversation

As always questions and comments are welcome. What is your take on these various types of leaders around the world today? What do you think needs to happen?

I’d love your help. This blog is read primarily because people like you share it with friends. Would you share it by pressing one of the share buttons below?

Category: Relationships | Exhortation