The Leader with a Staff: Lessons from Moses’ Leadership Model (Part 1)
One of the great leaders in the history of Israel is Moses, the leader with a staff. If God had read his CV before employing him to take charge of his people, then Moses probably would not have been taken. Moses was born a slave, although he grew up in the palace of Pharaoh. He had a bad temper and quite domineering. He was a firm patriotic. It’s not surprising that he murdered an Egyptian for fighting a Jew. Although he may have had some leadership experience in the palace of Pharaoh, all we know for sure is that the only work experience he had was taking care of his father-in-law sheep. His only certificate was his wooden staff. As poor as his CV was, God was still interested in using him to set his people free. He began his ministry in the second part of his life – when he was 40.
It is agreeable that He who he calls, he justifies, and he who he justifies, he glorifies (Rm 8:30). Yet we must also recognize that Moses had in him the qualities of a good leader. This enabled him to challenge the world’s most powerful leader then and also handled his impatient flock of Israel. He impressed even those who did not believe the God that called him and his mission. One can, therefore, say that Moses is a great model of spirit-filled leadership. His model of leadership can be applied to any religion, company, organization and self. In what follows, we shall examine some lessons from Moses’ model of leadership.
Discover your true self
Moses was raised from childhood in the palace of Pharaoh. The daughter of Pharaoh adopted him and raised him like an Egyptian prince. According to the Talmud, he remained in the palace until he was about 15 years of age. All that time, he was an Egyptian prince enjoying the comfort of the palace, with servants at his beck and call. Then he left the palace after 15, only to see slave-masters beating the hell out of his fellow Israelites. At that point, scales fell out of his eyes, as it did to Paul on his way to Damascus. Then he realized that things are not alright. The food in the palace lost its taste each time he remembers how his people are languishing in slave-labour. This was the point he decided that something can be done about it. He realized that he was, in fact, a fortunate slave who might be thrown out of the palace any day. He then decided to stand against injustice. This is the first major test for Moses. He discovered his true self. That was the time the Prince of Egypt became an Israelites again. Let us say that he became a “born again”.
Every leader must discover his/her true self. Self-discovery is the mother of freedom. Until you discover the lion in you, you might be spending time with sheep all your life. Discover your true self. Be born again.
Be strategically dogged
Moses would not take a no for an answer. When Moses first confronted Pharaoh for the first time to tell him “let my people go”, the King must have laughed. “What the hell is this little boy saying”, as he brushes off Moses and his seemingly silly demand. Nonetheless, Moses came again, and again and again. Pharaoh threw a challenge and Moses accepted and even shamed him and his marabouts in that challenge. Pharaoh must have asked: Who is this poverty-stricken shepherd to challenge a world power? Moses, never mind that. He was strategically dogged. Behind his persistence was his firm conviction in the mission of God and his faith in the God of the mission.
In your life as a leader – be it positional or non-positional, what really keeps you going? How firm are you in the pursuit of your dreams? It is unfortunate that many of us get tired in the morning of their pursuit. We complain from pillar to post instead of standing to face what is facing them. How can even be dogged when we are not convinced of our mission or when our mission is self-serving. As a leader, be strategically dogged in the face of tribulations. he.
Fuel your passion
Moses had a passion for justice from the first day he left the palace. It might also be that he has seen injustice peddled in the palace while he was there, and he wished there was something he could do. His passion for justice led him to have compassion for his people. He was not interested in being politically correct or diplomatic with the injustice of Egyptians. He followed his passion for justice. This passion also led him to murder an Egyptian who fought an Israelites. It helped him to defend his Midianite sisters. This passion led him to accept wholeheartedly the call of God to redeem his people. He was not just moved by the call of God, he was also moved by his passion for justice.
Which passion motivates your mission? What are the core values that you can go far in protecting? Every leader must have a passion he/she seeks out to achieve. When that passion meets with a divine call, then the mission will be successful like that of Moses despite the surrounding challenges.
Get the right support
Remember that Moses was never a slave like the other Israelites. He was raised as a prince with all the rights and privileges that are attached to it. Thus, when God called him, he found himself so inadequate for it. Firstly, he ran out of Egypt as a result of the murder he committed, and secondly, he was not so familiar with the nation of Israel because he had lived in the palace over the years. “What if reject me”, he must have wondered. God suggested he speak first to the elders of Israel. Thus Moses first got the right support on board. He built a team with elders and experts from amongst his people. Their presence gave him credibility and elderly ideas. If he had not got the right people in his team, his first frustration would have begun from his people. He would not have had the chance in the first place to lead.
As a leader, you cannot do it all alone because you are not compendium knowledge. You need the right people in your team. You need the right support. You need good heads, not just any head.
As a student, trader or whatever career you want to venture into, remember, that you need the right counsel. Ask questions, seek for suggestions. Get a coach, look out for a model. It is good to know if people have tried to venture in your area of interest. Were they successful, if yes, how and if no, why?