I recently started a new job in a different company. My current role is the most senior position I have ever held. I am in charge of leading a team of legal professionals in serving a dynamic, fast-paced regional financial services conglomerate. It is both an honour and a weighty responsibility.
Being a leader means being accountable for the wellbeing of the people who work with you. You directly impact their future, their happiness at work, their ability to advance and meet their goals, and by extension, the contentedness of their families.
You affect the kind of leader they will become as they go on to influence others. You determine the quality of service which end-users (internal and external clients) receive. You have a bearing on the bottom line of the company. The stakes are high.
This is exactly why I have been seeking God more on the matter of leadership. I want to be a leader who is authentic, caring and flexible. I want to empower those I lead.
Recently, in my devotion, the Holy Spirit opened my eyes to some leadership gems found in 1 Chronicles chapter 14 gleaned from David’s reign as King of the people of Israel. The aim of this article is to share these truths to help you put your leadership mantle in perspective.
If these lessons form the basis of your leadership, I’m convinced you will see a positive change in how you relate to people on the job and you will become the kind of leader of whom God can be proud.
Lesson 1 - recognise both the source of the provision and the purpose
The passage in 1 Chronicles chapter 14 (in verses 1-2) tells us that the King Hiram of Tyre sent messengers to David, along with cedar logs, and masons and carpenters to build a house for him. Then, it says something powerful in verse 2 (New Revised Standard Version):
“David then perceived that the Lord had established him as king over Israel, and that his kingdom was highly exalted for the sake of his people Israel.” (Emphasis mine)
David put things in perspective. When the provisions came, David immediately recognised and acknowledged they were from God. He didn’t get puffed up with pride or feed his own ego by thinking that good things were happening as a result of his own greatness. He wasn’t distracted by the fact that his Kingdom was being exalted.
As a Christian who is a leader, God will bring people, resources and opportunities your way to enable you to do your job. We must remember this: it’s not about you. God is positioning you to lead people. It doesn’t matter that there are non-Christians in the group you lead. God cares for the wellbeing of everyone.
We are not placed in leadership to flex our muscles, to exercise our authority to show how great we are and why we deserve the elevated position. Our leadership is always for the sake of other people. This may sound harsh but if you don’t mean them well: do yourself - and them - a favour and resign.
Leadership is a tough job. Leadership is sacrifice. It costs you something to care about people with different social upbringings, personalities, desires and attitudes, including those who may not like you or wish you well. Even the naysayers on the team deserve for you to act in their best interest. It takes strength to resist the very human urge to payback a perceived insult or offence, especially when you hold the power to do so.
The emotional toll and energy will be draining unless we see the big picture. You are there because of them. Leadership is always a means to an end and not an end in itself.
We need to ask ourselves some deep questions like: “why am I here? How can I help these people?” Clarify your purpose and keep it at the forefront of your mind.
For me, I want to be the light of God in my organization. I want the business stakeholders to know the legal team is on their side and that we want them to win. I want the legal team to feel supported, empowered and successful - individually and collectively.
Lesson 2 - take direction from God
In the rest of the chapter (1 Chronicles chapter 14) when David was going into battle, he enquired of God what he was to do before he did anything (verses 10 and 14). David’s battle strategy was God-directed. God gave him two different approaches. Each one worked.
A good leader recognizes that what worked tomorrow may not work today. The world and working environment is extremely dynamic and constantly evolving. Don’t make the mistake of relying on your own wisdom and understanding.
My mother recently had to get an injection and her veins have always been difficult to find. After a couple of unsuccessful jabs, the nurse administering the injection paused and prayed aloud “God, help me find the vein.” And it worked. Don’t be ashamed to seek God at work.
Lesson 3 - trust you will see results
By following God’s commands, King David’s fame grew. God brought fear of David on all nations (verse 17 of 1 Chronicles chapter 14). 1 Chronicles chapter 18 repeats a key idea in verses 6 and 13: “The Lord gave victory to David wherever he went.”
By following God’s commands, David received excellent results as a leader. Sure, he was a competent King, but more than that, he was a leader God could trust to do the right thing, and when he didn’t, to repent and start again.
As a leader, you may not always get it right but by depending on God and not yourself, you will see results you have never dreamed of before.
Lord, help me to lead like David. In every challenging situation, help me to first ask the question: “God, what do you want me to do?”
Sharma Taylor is a corporate attorney with a Doctor of Philosophy Degree in Law from Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand. She won the 2017 Basil Sellers International Young Writers prize in the Press Service International young writer program, the 2019 Tronson Award (International) and the 2021 Basil Sellers award for International Senior Writers. Every day, she loves experiencing the beautiful surprises that God has stored up for her and longs to keep cultivating a servant-heart.