Leadership is needed in all areas of life. Leadership is needed in our homes, in our companies, on our sports teams, etc. Leadership is needed in the church. Leadership is needed in government and civic organizations. In fact, many of the issues that we face today can be traced to a lack of good leadership. Many books and blogs are written every month about leadership. I enjoy reading some of them. However, as a person who has been on the front lines of leadership for over twenty years now, I have come to believe that leadership can be boiled down to two indispensable ingredients. They are found in one verse of the Bible.
By any measure, King David was a tremendous leader. He had courage. He had people skills. He was a successful military leader and a successful government leader. He had a strong faith in the Lord – to the point where he is referred to as a man after God’s own heart. In the book of Psalms, there is a section that describes God calling David from being a shepherd boy to being King of Israel. Then there is this verse which describes David’s leadership…
“So he shepherded them according to the integrity of his heart, And guided them by the skillfulness of his hands.” (Psalm 78:72, NKJV)
This verse identifies two indispensable qualities of David’s leadership…
(1) INTEGRITY David was king. He had the position and the power. However, the Bible says that what set him apart was his integrity. Both history and today’s headlines are filled with those who enjoyed position and power but lacked integrity. The truth is that people follow people they trust and believe in. You lead from who you are first and foremost – not your position or title. This is certainly true in the church, but if you read what is written about leadership from a secular point of view you will find the same principle. From talking with friends of mine in the armed forces, the best leaders today are those that people believe in beyond their rank or position.
(2) SKILL A leader is competent. A leader gets results. The organization benefits from the presence of the leader. Every leader has problems, but the successful leader deals with problems in a way that moves the organization forward. People will not follow someone they know is incompetent. If they know you are competent, they will follow even if they disagree.
Integrity and skill are the wings of the plane in leadership. One doesn’t work without the other. All of the skill & competence in the world will not ultimately overcome a lack of integrity. On the other hand, a sincere heart of gold will not produce results apart from skill. Think about it. A lack of either integrity or skill creates unbalanced leadership and steers the organization into the ditch. A lack of both quickly produces a disaster.
While I have read and benefited from many leadership books, the Word of God is best leadership text ever written.