In Psalm 42, David appears to question his own despair and why is soul is disturbed within him. The response is one with great application for leadership today: “Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him for the help of His presence.”
Two thoughts surround David’s emphasis.
The first is the hope only found in God. When we place hope in our own abilities, or the abilities of others, disappointment results when we are let down. When our hope is placed in possessions, we are left with discouragement when these possessions deteriorate or are stolen. Therefore, the only source of hope that will never disappoint or discourage us is God.
The second is the idea developed from the help that comes with God’s presence. Scripture reminds us of the omnipresence of God. We are comforted by knowing that He is in all places at the same time. There is no place where God is not. His control over all things and presence in all places provides comfort and confidence.
Leaders must always lead with hope in God and the help of His presence.
In Psalm 141, David wrote, “Give ear to my voice when I call to You.”
David was pleading with God to listen to him. He desired an audience with God and wanted Him to listen intently with an understanding that moved the Creator into action.
A key characteristic of spiritual leaders is prayer. The avenue of prayer is significant to leadership for a couple of reasons.
First, leaders understand the need to communicate with the One who is in control of all things. To have an audience with God yields the greatest power in every situation. The desire is for God to listen and act upon the requests brought to Him.
Second, understanding how communication works with God also helps leaders understand the need for effective communication with others. In leadership, others need to know their voice is being heard and that leaders are attentive to their call.
Communication is a noteworthy subject in every relationship. While it applies to leaders, it also applies to everyone.
When leaders are effective communicators issues are resolved more quickly and progress results.
As the psalmist identifies the source of his strength in God, he concludes by pointing out that God is also his portion forever.
The word translated “portion” is often translated as “reward.”
The power behind this thought is key to a spiritual leadership. Realizing that God is our strength gives us confidence, but knowing that He is our reward gives us hope.
Spiritual leaders must always portray the confidence of God given strength. However, one of the most powerful components to great leadership is the ability to instill hope in others.
The world is filled with so many challenges, discouragements, and disappointments. Among all the needs, or perceived needs, hope tops the list.
When leadership provides others with hope, no matter how high the mountain, how low the valley, or the size of the obstacle, we can endure and overcome.
With this in mind, let us lead with an understanding of what the future holds for those who are faithful followers.
Leaders should constantly examine their leadership: abilities, style, resources, and growth.
One of the critical concerns for leadership development is learning to ask the right questions. Based on their book Primal Leadership, Learning To Lead With Emotional Intelligence, Daniel Goleman, Richard Boyatzis, and Annie McKee examine five discoveries needed to make an emotionally intelligent leader.
These discoveries involve asking the following questions:
Who do we want to be as a leader? Considering the answer to this question must go beyond surface or superficial answers.
Who are we? Leaders must constantly examine both strengths and weaknesses to determine where we are in our leadership.
Do we work on developing who we want to be, or what someone else wants us to be? This can be one of the strongest challenges leaders face.
Are we willing to form new habits of practice? Developing a new mindset and implementing the necessary changes to grow in our leadership is key to reaching goals.
What emphasis are we placing upon developing relationships? The power of relationships help build confident leadership.
Consideration of these five areas will point us in the right direction for leadership development.
A risk involves the possibility of danger or harm. While this is always scary, when a person or thing is thought to not likely turn out well within a particular context, it is a risk.
There can be low risk and high risk, but risk is part of leadership.
The key to understanding the role of risks in leadership is learning how not to fear risk, but manage risk instead.
A number of websites provide powerful information about risk management, especially where it applies to areas of leadership.
However, two thoughts came to mind in application of the risks involved for spiritual leaders:
1) What are the risk factors involved if we decide not to lead others to Christ?
2) What are the risks of waiting, or procrastinating, to lead them?
When we honestly look at how the risks weigh out in the direction of our leadership, from a spiritual perspective, we find the possibility of danger or harm involved. Consider the consequences when we are unwilling to take the risk.
We have to wonder what could happen if leaders knew how to think big. The passion that drives greatness, especially from a spiritual perspective, must be nothing short of global.
Nelson Mandela once said, “There is no passion to be found playing small––in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.”
The challenge of settling for less than what we are capable of is only coupled with the limitations placed upon what God is capable of doing through us…if we only let Him.
We often believe God will not do it because we are convinced we cannot do it.
The “grasshopper syndrome” of the spies in Numbers 13-14 orchestrates our own defeat. The problem was not how the Israelites appeared in the eyes of the giants in Canaan. The problem was in how they saw themselves––grasshoppers in their own sight.
Leaders must not fall prey to this mindset. There must be a passion that is driven by and for greatness––a greatness that is only measured by the power of God to work in amazing and powerful ways.
Do leaders think from a primal perspective? Before we drift into the early stages of evolutionary development, primal carries the impetus of something that is essential or foundational.
Nothing could more essential than spiritual leadership. Nothing could be more foundational to eternity than spiritual leadership.
How does the idea of primal apply to the surroundings of leadership?
Primal comes from a Latin word meaning “first.” The idea relates to the beginnings, first things, primary, essential, and foundational elements of all that is connected to life intellectually, physically, emotionally, and physically.
When we think about leadership, the need is evident to understand the primary––first elements that must be in place for the success of leading.
These elements are the building blocks of all leaders and include integrity, honesty, strong work ethic, passion, confidence in God, discipline, and balance.
There will always be additional elements to include, but these are the “primal” of leadership.
Using these as a foundation, leaders can build strength and character that provides hope for everyone who follows.