When faced with a hard season or difficult challenge, what do good leaders and their teams believe? How are these beliefs translated into action?
We should be careful not to boil anything down to a few “simple steps.”
However, here are 5 Beliefs of Good Leaders that go a long way towards overcoming adversity…
1) This is happening, and it’s hard.
Most leaders are “glass-half-full” kind of people. While this is commendable, being out of touch with reality isn’t, especially when whatever “it” is, isn’t good.
Nehemiah provides a solid example to follow…
“In the month of Kislev in the twentieth year, while I was in the citadel of Susa, Hanani, one of my brothers, came from Judah with some other men, and I questioned them about the Jewish remnant that had survived the exile, and also about Jerusalem. They said to me, “Those who survived the exile and are back in the province are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been burned with fire.” Nehemiah 1:1-3, NIV
Effective leaders recognize and acknowledge when something is wrong.
They don’t spin it or dismiss it. They size it up and then tell it like it is to themselves, the Lord and their team. It isn’t a lack of faith in God nor a lack of confidence in the team to admit that the challenge is great.
2) I’m responsible.
Leaders of character take responsibility, regardless of whether or not they were at fault.
They own what is…
“When I heard these things, I sat down and wept. For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven. Then I said: “Lord, the God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and keep his commandments, let your ear be attentive and your eyes open to hear the prayer your servant is praying before you day and night for your servants, the people of Israel. I confess the sins we Israelites, including myself and my father’s family, have committed against you. We have acted very wickedly toward you. We have not obeyed the commands, decrees and laws you gave your servant Moses.” Nehemiah 1:5-7, NIV
3) WE can do this.
The emphasis here is on the “We.” The tendency of most leaders is to “grab the bull by the horns” and go all “Lone Ranger.” And, some people will simply not choose to be team-oriented. Let them go their own way.
Resist the “Lone Ranger” strategy and engage the team!
Notice the plural throughout this account…
Then I said to them, “You see the trouble we are in: Jerusalem lies in ruins, and its gates have been burned with fire.Come, let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem, and we will no longer be in disgrace.” 18 I also told them about the gracious hand of my God on me and what the king had said to me.
They replied, “Let us start rebuilding.” So they began this good work.” Nehemiah 2:17-18
4) God is able.
Even when, and especially when, inevitable opposition combines with complication, there is a stubborn faith in the Lord to prevail.
Nehemiah again leans into the promise and power of God…
“But when Sanballat the Horonite, Tobiah the Ammonite official and Geshem the Arab heard about it, they mocked and ridiculed us. “What is this you are doing?” they asked. “Are you rebelling against the king?”
I answered them by saying, “The God of heaven will give us success. We his servants will start rebuilding, but as for you, you have no share in Jerusalem or any claim or historic right to it.” Nehemiah 2:19-20
5) There is more.
In other words, this is temporary. Whatever the challenge, wherever it leads, no matter how long it takes, “This, too, shall pass.”
Good leaders get this and keep things in perspective.
While what they face is very real, it is also very temporary. Whether it leads to a win or a loss, there will be something to learn as the moment in time passes and everyone moves on.
For Nehemiah and the people, this meant the eventual rebuilding of the wall of Jerusalem as they continued to believe in God and work together in the face of repeated opposition…
“So the wall was completed on the twenty-fifth of Elul, in fifty-two days. When all our enemies heard about this, all the surrounding nations were afraid and lost their self-confidence, because they realized that this work had been done with the help of our God.” Nehemiah 6:15-16
What beliefs and practices would you add from your experience as a leader? Share your thoughts below in the Reply section…