SEP 6, 2017 Devotional: “Lessons in Leadership”

The other day, I was catching up on some LinkedIn connection requests and I noticed an article on my network feed that caught my eye.  It was titled, “Two Things Leaders Should Never Do“.  If you’re on LinkedIn, you can probably search for the article.  It’s written by Brad Smith, who’s the President & Chief Executive Officer at Intuit.

Out of the gate, let me say I loved the article.  Some great points.  Made sense.  Easy and to the point.  And the points were certainly something I think all of us could do, especially those of us in leadership roles.  And while not taking anything away from Mr. Smith, I certainly felt at the end of the article that his points were more likely “reminders” of some teachings many might already know if they paid attention to one of the great Biblical leaders, Jesus Christ and even God, Himself.  Let me explain.

The first point Smith cites that leaders should never do is to lead with their IQ versus their EQ (emotional quotient) and their CQ (curiosity quotient).  Smith raises a great argument that many leaders feel like they have to demonstrate mastery of their industry as a means of gaining respect and inspiring those that are subordinate in the leader’s business “food chain”.  But the author explains that people don’t really care what you know until they first know that you care.

Now, I know in today’s fast paced business world, that “caring” piece might seem a little far fetched.  But is it really?  Speaking from personal experience, I am held accountable in my current role to several “leaders”.  And while I am always respectful to all those I am accountable to, I am more likely to take the extra steps to those leaders who’ve taken similar steps towards me.

What do I mean by that?  Without getting too much into my personal business, I have some bosses who will say, “Mike, how was your weekend?” or “Mike, how did the boys enjoy summer camp?” or even, “Mike, did you and your wife have a nice time away last month celebrating your anniversary?”.  I’m not suggesting anyone needs to be fully transparent with their personal lives in a business setting.  But I do see that in being “humans first” (as the author explains), then we are creating bonds of better working together.  So this scenario outlined above involves leaders responding to both the EQ and CQ as a means to naturally connect with their subordinates.  The best leaders, according to Smith, learn to blend all three….IQ, EQ, and CQ, while still leading from emotion and curiosity over intellect.

Didn’t Jesus do the same?  Surely, Jesus had far reaching intellect.  Just ask the Devil when Jesus was tempted in the desert or any of the pharisees who were always trying to trip Him up.  What made Jesus a GREAT leader was his compassion for others.  People were inspired to follow up, dropping their nets, rolling up their mats, because they knew He would care for them.

Leaders who lead with emotion and curiosity is the first lesson on leadership from the Bible.

Next, Smith says something leaders should never do is create a culture of fear of failure.  The bad leaders don’t see failure as an opportunity to learn.  The bad leaders dwell more on punishment and consequences from failure as a means of teaching a lesson, rather that teaching growth.

Just as with the first example, I found myself asking, “Is this a new fountain of wisdom in leadership?”

Think about how many times we’ve made mistakes against our Heavenly Father.  What if God created a culture where punishment from sins was so severe that no on could recover?  Above all, what would we have to look forward to, right?  I mean, mess up once, and the gates of heaven are locked forever!

What a blessing it is, however, that this is not the case.  God is forgiving.  And while He has great expectations of us, He also loves us unconditionally and beyond what our species can ever imagine.  How fortunate are we?

Focusing on forgiveness and learning from our mistakes, as God has reminded us time and time again, is also the second lesson from the Bible.

My prayer this week is that you take these two simple examples from the Bible and apply them in your daily walks as a leader in your work, in your neighborhoods, and in your families.  Leaders are never the ones who’ve yelled the loudest on the telephone, stayed secluded inside their offices, or rarely talked to others who report into them.  The Bible teaches us otherwise.

Try it out for yourself.