Proverb 20: 28

Good leadership is built on love and truth, for kindness and integrity are what keep leaders in their position of trust.

Leadership is a challenge whether you hold a position of authority in the workplace or in an organization or team. No matter where you are tasked with leadership there are some common concerns. We often ask, “What makes a good leader” and “Are leaders born or made?” If you are challenged by leadership issues don’t feel alone. Every leader has struggled at one time or another. Think about this, even Yahweh had problems trying to lead the Israelites out of bondage into a land flowing with milk and honey. One might think that should be a fairly easy task. Who doesn’t want to leave slavery for abundance? If God had problems, then I guess it is okay if we struggle a bit too.

Solomon wrote this. He was the leader of a nation and worse, had to follow in David’s footsteps. Those were some mighty big shoes to fill. I am sure Solomon felt the pain of comparison with his father. None the less, he did survive and became a great leader. We will look a little more closely at his journey tomorrow. For today, we glean from his experience what makes a good leader.

Notice that power is not what Solomon based leadership on. Power can figure in, no doubt, but even if a person has power that does not necessarily make him/her a good leader. One can be a leader because of position or power but a good leader is the one whom people want to follow. Solomon wrote about good leadership, and he ascribed it to first love and then truth. How often do you think people are taught these two guiding principles for leadership? The next two keys to good leadership are kindness and integrity.

These may all seem familiar, but we can ask, what is integrity? Here is a definition I found, “Integrity is the practice of being honest and showing a consistent and uncompromising adherence to strong moral and ethical principles and values. In ethics, integrity is regarded as the honesty and truthfulness or accuracy of one’s actions.” Clearly it is aligned with truth, but it also means doing what you say you are going to do. People of integrity don’t say they are going to do something and then change their minds at the last moment when it is no longer convenient. They are people of their word.

Good leadership is kindness. Be nice to people in word and deed. This goes right back to some of what we looked at earlier about putting other people’s needs before your own. Leaders are supposed to look after the needs of their flock rather than asking the flock to meet their needs. Leadership is sacrificial. Above all leadership is love.

Jesus gave us the perfect model of leadership. Sometimes I am amazed at how the early disciples left what they were doing and followed him. I think he conveyed love and acceptance in his voice and demeanor. He hired some of the worst reprobates, but they followed him because of his love. He told them the truth, even when it hurt, but they still honored him.

Leadership is hard. Jesus lost one too. You are going to have people who are deceived and give in to wrong thinking too. The best any of us can do is to love our people, even if they don’t deserve it, to show them kindness, deal with them in truth and always, always be people of unflinching integrity. Yes, leaders make mistakes too. When we do, integrity demands that we own up to it but then you move forward. Be honest, truthful and care for those given into your care. Pray without ceasing for yourself as a leader and for your flock. And, may God strengthen you and carry you by His might.