The Leader with a Staff: Lessons from Moses’ Leadership Model (Part 3)
We began to examine lessons from Moses’ leadership model from part 1 and then continued to part 2. We shall summarize and conclude in part 3 after giving further lessons from the leader with the staff – Moses.
Authenticity, not conformity
Leadership begins with authenticity and nor conformity nor pretence. Moses was raised in the house of Pharaoh. He has dined and wined with the aristocratic class and knows them too well. When he began his mission of rescuing his fellow Israelites, he did not pretend about who he was. He did not have to come to live in slums with them or begin to engage in slave labour for him to be liked by other Israelites. Some of the Israelites might have felt jealous in the first instance, but hey came to respect and follow him. A leader should be authentic. Be yourself.
As a leader, you should come clean on who really you are. Beginning with deception will make the people lose confidence in you when they finally realize who you are.
Have you ever felt inauthentic as a leader?
Moses may have benefited from the wisdom of a Management Consultant – Jethro, his father-in-law. Jethro saw Moses always engaged and working himself out. He had lots of cases to adjudicate, numerous complaints from people and all those stressors stretch Moses beyond his body. Consequently, he lacked time for other things.
Jethro gave him good counsel. “Create lower courts and officials to take charge of the smaller disputes. While you handle the problems that no one else can solve. Then you consult with God when you cannot figure it out for yourself.” That was a good idea.
Moses followed that idea and got 72 spirit-filled elders and representative. He became more effective, happier and had time for other preoccupations.
A leader must learn how to delegate responsibilities to others. If not he will crash or end up not achieving much. However, delegation does not mean removing your focus from that responsibility entirely. There should be supervision after delegation. This is to ensure that the intended goal is actually reached. The problem with most leaders today is that they give people responsibility and then never supervise that. In the end, the chuck of the blame goes to the leader, and not really the person the leader gave that responsibility to.
Use delegate where need be. Supervise your delegates to ensure efficient and effective attendance of the intended goal/s.
Know when to take the spectacular route
The worst form of slavery is mental slavery. The Israelites could change overnight just by crossing the red sea. They were physically free in four days, but it took 40 years for them to be mentally free. By then, some of them who lied in Egypt were already dead.
Moses knew that change of mindset is not done in a day and he wouldn’t want them to be in the Promised Land with a slavery mindset. He thus led them on the scenic route from Egypt to the Promised Land. Although the Bible gave a different reason for the prolonged wandering, one this is sure. The people needed a longer time to prepare them for the freedom they are going into. Freedom with responsibility.
Although some African countries that were physically colonized by their European counterparts have got their independence, one can still see that they are not entirely free. That colonized mentality is still there, and until they are mentally free, they will not seem themselves man enough to challenge their colonial masters.
Sometimes in life, we need to follow the hard way. It has a way of making us stronger and mature with freedom when we have it. The greatest danger of freedom is its misuse. So many weird things happening in our world today is based on people’s misuse of freedom.
Allow individual gifts to shine
Being a leader does not mean that you know it all, or possess all the gifts. He also knew the strengths and weaknesses of his people. God demanded that a tabernacle by built and Moses got the right person to do that job. He gave the overall design and construction contract to Bezalel who is gifted with artistic genius.
We all are blessed with one gift or the other. Leaders find a way of matching these gifts to the needs of the community. They allow people to fan into flames their talents for the betterment of the community. They encourage creativity and encourage skill. This obviously helps the community, keep the people engaged and make them understand that the community belongs to them all, and not a one-man-show business.
What unique gifts do you have? How do you use the gifts of your colleagues?
Be transparent and accountable.
Most conversations between Moses and God were in private. Yet the people believed Moses because of his transparent lifestyle. His life of accountability was exemplary also. The Bible tells us that he kept a meticulous account of all the contributions people made for the construction of the tabernacle. This transparent lifestyle gave the people hope and made them donate generously for a good cause.
This is an area where many leaders need to work on. Transparency and accountability are very important in building trust. A number of countries do not trust their politicians because over them they have proven to be self-serving and deceitful. Anyone wished to be a leader like Moses must not forget these two. Honest to God, yourself and to other people.
Ask yourself how accountable and transparent you are in the positions you occupy. Do the people you serve trust you?
It takes more than courage and leadership skill to lead over 2.5 million stubborn and complaining people out of Egypt. It takes, even more, to be with them in the desert of frustration for 4o years without going literally mad. It took God’s grace and Moses’ openness to that grace in other to reach that point.
Moses knew that his source of inner strength was not just in his abilities but in God through prayer. As busy as he was, he spent time on the mountain with his boss. Every leader must have an inner source of strength. For us Christians, our strength comes from God through prayers. It is in prayer that our concerns and that of the people we lead are offered up to God. It is in prayer that problems that are beyond physical are tabled to God for further solutions. No leader should take his spiritual life for granted, no matter how busy the person is.