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The Recipe For Leadership Print E-mail
Written by Victoria Radin   

Power vs. Influence

“The challenge of leadership is to be strong but not rude; be kind, but not weak; be bold, but not a bully; be humble, but not timid; be proud, but not arrogant; have humor, but without folly” ––Jime Rohn

The Bible is filled with stories of ‘would be’ leaders – some who excelled in leading others by doing what was right in following the leading of the L-rd and many who led others astray, seeking, through power, to impose their own will upon the multitudes. Abraham was a leader who followed the L-rd. He left his land (the pagan culture of Ur), and the influence of his family and friends (idol worshipers), allowing himself to be completely cut off from his former ‘world’ and be led by G-d, Himself.

Abraham’s example teaches us that leaders DO follow, but not for the sake of conformity, but by the leading of the L-rd to a higher calling. As believers in Yeshua, we, too, are admonished to ‘leave’ our former lives, as did Abraham, and follow the leading of the Holy Spirit, not conforming to the ways of the world.

“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of G-d.” (Romans 12:2)

In his article, “The Courage Not To Conform”, Rabbi Jonathan Sacks points out that “leaders conform but not for the sake of conforming” as is the habit of most people. True leaders often have to go against the majority. In fact, G-d instructs us not to go along with the majority, but to always do what is right and just:

“Do not follow the crowd in doing wrong.” (Exodus 23:2a)

Rabbi Sacks quips, “Dead fish go with the flow. Live fish swim against the current.” “Leaders follow an inner voice, a call,” Sacks says. “They have a vision, not of what is, but of what might be.” The Rev. Martin Luther King put it this way:

"On some positions, Cowardice asks the question, "Is it safe?" Expediency asks the question, "Is it politic?" And Vanity comes along and asks the question, "Is it popular?" But Conscience asks the question "Is it right?" And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must do it because Conscience tells him it is right."

That inner voice is the voice of Conscience, put there by G-d. The “call” is to a higher life, a higher purpose in G-d. True leaders often find themselves “…at the timberline where the storms strike with the most fury.” In this Hudson Taylor quote, he says that the timberline is “where the sturdiest trees are found”. It is at those times of testing in the storms of life that courage rises up in the one who can lead others to safety.

John J. Miller,[1] in his article, “Football and the American Character”, reflects on the benefits of sports in building character. He enumerates the qualities of character that sports addresses: teaching kids to get up after falling down, playing through pain, dealing with failure, working with teammates, taking direction from coaches and others. In sports they learn to think and observe, to interact and deal with others and themselves with consideration and compassion. Not surprisingly, these are the same qualities that leaders possess when applied to any endeavor.

It is important to remember what Albert Einstein said about education. “Education is not the learning of facts, but the training of the mind to think.” Dr. Ravi Zacharias’ ministry often entails speaking on this subject. He believes, rightly, that if people are taught to “think”, they will understand why believing in G-d (and Jesus) is logical, accurate, and truthful. His Ministries’ logo is “Let My People Think”. When an individual has the capacity to think rather than to blindly follow, he can decide for himself what is right and just. At that point, he has begun to become a true leader.

Quite the opposite, today there is a curriculum called Common Core that has begun to infect the education system of the United States. Contrary to what Einstein said, the Common Core program teaches children WHAT to think rather than HOW to think. All children are taught to think the same. No one is unique. It’s a one-size-fits-all ‘education’ system. Leaders that come out of this system will not be those who dare to challenge what has been accepted by the ‘majority’ in order to follow their ‘calling’, but will be rubber-stamped into leading the multitudes to become cookie-cutter citizens, living in the same “gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat” described by Teddy Roosevelt.

“Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because they live in that gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat.”

True leadership instills courage in the hearts of others to challenge the status quo. True leadership encourages others to follow the leading of their inner voice, their calling, i.e. the voice of the L-rd. True leadership seeks to influence by example rather than using power by force to affect the lives of others. John Quincy Adams rightly said, “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.”

Are you a leader or a follower? Do you follow the “talking points” of others in society? Or, do you follow the L-rd in blazing your own trail, influencing others to stand for righteousness in the midst of a corrupt and evil generation?

Barukh HaShem (Blessed is the Name of the L-rd)

 



[1] John J. Miller, Director, Herbert H. Dow II Program in American Journalism, Hillsdale College

 
 
 
 
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