Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Pride and Control...A Leader's Kryptonite

I wonder how many control freaks are reading this post right now.  Well, you're in good company; it's written by a fellow control freak! 

One thing I realized as I read through the account of the Israelites' journey to the Promised Land - Moses was not a control freak!

Why do I say that?  Take a look at Numbers 11.  The Israelites sing their song of complaint again.  This isn’t news to Moses.  He’s heard it before.  In fact, he’s heard it multiple times before.

This time he’s fed up and he needs to vent.  Sometimes leaders do that.  Days can be long and frustrating.  Working with different personality types is challenging and can leave you as twitchy as a long tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs! 

Moses has a lot to say to God.  You can read his rant in its entirety in Numbers 11:10-15, but the last two verses give you the general sense of the level of Moses’ irritation with the people and his leadership role…

“I can’t carry all these people by myself!  The load is far too heavy!  If this is how you intend to treat me, just go ahead and kill me.  Do me a favor and spare me this misery.”  Numbers 11:14-15 (NLT)

Have you had days when you just want say, “Kill me now!”?  I know I have.

Moses earns my respect as a leader in the way he responds to what happens next.  God agrees with Moses and introduces a solution to the problem.  God tells Moses…

“…Gather before me seventy men who are recognized as elders and leaders of Israel.  Bring them to the Tabernacle to stand there with you.  I will come down and talk to you there.  I will take some of the Spirit that is upon you, and I will put the Spirit upon them also.  They will bear the burden of the people along with you, so you will not have to carry it alone.”  Numbers 11:16-17 (NLT)

Sounds like a great plan, right?  Suddenly the responsibility of the leadership role is split between a bunch of different people. 

But let’s be honest for a minute…

What if my boss came to me and said, “You know what Carol, I know you’re in charge of managing the six people on your sales team, but I’m going take away some of that responsibility.  From now on you’re going to manage one person on the team and I’ll assign someone else to be in charge of the other five."
Do you think I’d be happy about that change?  I’d probably think I was failing in my job as a sales manager and wonder when the pink slip was coming!

My pride would be hurt and I’d probably fight to hang onto control of what little responsibility remained of my job.

Control and pride – a leader's kryptonite.  

But here’s the lesson from Moses.  God does share the spirit of leadership among seventy men Moses collects and brings to Him.  They all begin to prophesy, a sure sign that they have the spirit within them, but Joshua, Moses’ assistant protests and asks Moses to make them stop. 

Read what Moses says to this…

“…Are you jealous for my sake?  I wish that all the Lords people were prophets and that the Lord would put his Spirit upon them all! " Numbers 11:29 (NLT)

What a great reaction for a leader!  Moses gets a gold star for this one! He isn’t jealous.  He’s not worried about maintaining control.  He doesn’t let his pride overcome his need for assistance in leading the Israelites.  He’s grateful for the help.

Oh that I would be as humble a leader as Moses!

Does your pride stop you from asking for help? 

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