In the absence of Holy Spirit authority, carnal or demon inspired power will be exerted over you or through you. If you or the person exercising authority over you is not Spirit filled others will be in affliction, either continually or in part.
We are all in authority to some degree, be it over family members,friends, colleagues, companies, clubs, teams or even ourselves; we all exercise authority either continually or intermittently. But being in authority has a price and the devil will always seek to gain control over and work through those with the most authority, as this is also the route to the most damage. James 3:1-2 My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation.For in many things we offend all..
So what are the traits of Spirit filled leadership? Christ was the ultimate role model when it comes to leading people and it is worthwhile studying his actions..
Jesus prayed for others, the decisions he was to make and the people he needed to appoint. The people he chose to start the Church had something unseen that was relevant for the task at hand and only prayer reveals and opens us to those qualities. In any decision about appointing people to positions or roles within a company, team, organisation or family one should always prayer seek God’s guidance. Even then we may sometimes appeared to have made a bad choice, as Jesus chose Judas, but there is always a lesson or purpose in these seemingly ‘wrong’ selections. In these instances we may grow as leaders or others may benefit from the selection, but God has a plan for every decision made in prayer.
Jesus was not a respecter of persons. He did not favour the wealthiest, smartest most experienced or most respected, but he chose those that had character and the ability to rise to the occasion. Opting for experience above other factors may appear to be a smart move but the person may have carried out the same job very badly all their life and not been an asset to any employee. Better to find those with more valuable qualities – integrity, honesty, hardworking, non prejudicial, self motivated etc. These traits are very hard to develop in people, whereas information and work skills can readily be taught. And although the mavericks are hard work, as King David found out, they are also the people that add an extra passion and ingenuity to the tasks at hand. They are not ‘yes people’that offer little; they are zealous, they have opinions, they challenge, they make a difference.
If a leader is not insecure he/she can get the best out of a zealous Peter or radical Paul, both of whom played pivotal roles in the growth of the early Church. Weak leadership on the other hand is always threatened by those exercising a different viewpoint, which ultimately leads to conflict and can lead to breakdown in families or good employees leaving company’s. The clearest sign of weak leadership in a company is high turnover of employees. The damage of this kind of authority in incalculable. People are afraid to voice an opinion, add value or contribute for fear of reprisal and they ultimately leave. Unfortunately many company leaders with these weaknesses employ like minded people which leads to a culture being established. Likewise parents who are unable to let their children grow into adults making and learning from their own decisions end up with children who are demotivated, rebellious and unable to stand on their own feet. The true skill is managing the boundaries whilst allowing the children to mature into their fullest potential.
David was also an amazing leader. He managed to pull together the most unlikely group of rejects and outcasts and turned them into a powerful army. One can only achieve this if you are prepared to lead by example and not expecting more of your team than you would do yourself. This generally comes through empathy for others and is often birthed out of trial. Nothing typifies this more clearly in David than when he pours out the water his soldiers had risked their lives to get him, saying he could not drink that which might have cost the lives of others. The bigger message was sending was that he would not satisfy his thirst whilst his men had nothing to drink. Children, friends and employees identify with servant leadership and will stir them to do anything for you, to follow you along every path. Jesus had the same servant mentality, putting his disciples before himself, even washing their feet. In years to come those disciples would give their lives in return.
The way you treat those under your authority is the same way they(children) will treat you when you are elderly, the same way they(employees) will treat their subordinates and your customers. Choosing to lead by fear last for as long as you are present and has the exact opposite long term effective as that required. As you leave the room so too does their compliance leave. True leadership inspires and lift others up and impact long after the leader has moved on. Those under this authority become disciples and carry out the very things that inspired them. True leaders understand that people thrive and give their best work when they feel valued and respected. One choice word of support can establish loyalty and excellence for life, whereas a word out of season can destroy motivation and enthusiasm.
Never under estimate the power of your words as a leader. Great leaders speak life into those under their authority. They don’t curse or accuse them. They build up and inspire people, they give a vision, they move others on to greatness never feeling threatened by their subsequent success. Many a child is broken down by the harmful words of a parent to such an extend they they have no confidence to achieve anything great. Many sportspeople are destroyed by the destructive words of a delinquent coach and over often a new coach can bring players to great success or even destroy those that were previously ‘superstars.’ And in the workplace many employees never achieve excellence due to a boss that is continually undermining, criticizing and accusing. One study in the USA showing that only 25% of managers are having a positive net influence on the business, with 25% exerting a neutral impact and 50% having an overall negative influence on the performance of the business.
True leadership in a nutshell is this:The ability to identify the strengths and talents of those under your authority, to bring those gifts out into the open to benefit that person and all around them and to focus those gifts and talents on achieving the goals at hand. An inability to do such things contradicts successful leadership and the damage they inflict on others will be evident to all except the person them self. Unfortunately they will continue blaming and getting rid of others without recognizing the impact of their own destructive leadership.
And if you are seeing these destructive elements in your leadership of family, business or social world, repent, draw close to God in prayer and fasting and ask God to make you a leader of value of excellence.It may be a trying process as God breaks down the pride, arrogance and judgment, but the end result will be a blessing to yourself and others.