Last week some guys and I studied leadership from chapter 5 of Nehemiah (a book in the Old Testament of the Bible).
Here’s some of our thoughts and leadership principles we learned from the chapter:
Great leaders ask for sacrifices from their people.
This became obvious when the people cried out to Nehemiah because they had mortgaged their land and sold their daughters into slavery. Nehemiah was making a great sacrifice by feeding over 150 men a night at his dinner table, and was also asking the people to make great sacrifices too. Great leaders ask for great sacrifices, but only after they’ve first sacrificed themselves.
Leaders need to help their people take care of their basic needs.
Nehemiah had to take action is chapter 5 because the basic needs of his workers were not being met. So Nehemiah acted against the nobles and city officials to make sure the debt was forgiven against the people, so they could have their basic needs taken care of. If a leader doesn’t help take care of the basic needs of his people, he will soon find the people worrying about their own basic needs instead of the work which needs to be done.
Have a private meeting, then hold a public meeting.
When Nehemiah found out the city officials and nobles where taking advantage of his people, he became angry. Nehemiah expressed his anger to his inner circle of people, then called a meeting with the people to tell them to get right with God. Leaders should always have a meeting to prepare for the meeting. They shouldn’t shotgun everyone with the same information at the same time. Different people need to hear the information at different times in the organization.
Ask everything from your people, not for yourself, but for God.
Nehemiah asked his people to make great sacrifices of mortgaging their fields and family, not for his personal benefit, he asked it for God’s benefit. He asked for nothing for himself. Leaders should ask for great things from people people to help meet the vision and purpose of the organization, not for fattening the coffers for the leaders or to satisfy his ego.
Be in touch with the “burdens” of your people.
Nehemiah was in touch with the needs and burdens of his people. He heard of the burdens of his people, how they were feeling pain, and he took action. As leaders we have a tendency to get a vision of what we want to see created, then we go for it, and stop for no one under no circumstances. Leaders need to listen and act on the needs and complaints of the people they lead.
You can read more leadership thoughts from Nehemiah on this posted entitled, Leadership Take Away’s from Nehemiah ch. 4.