The Bible Teaches Us Leadership Principles
The book of Proverbs overflows with wise advice and thought-provoking sayings. Often these one-liners produce the material for great soundbites or social media memes.
Yet some parts require a bit more work before we can find value in their words. Such is the case with Proverbs 14:28. It says, “A large population is a king’s glory, but without subjects a prince is ruined.”
Yeah, I get it. A king swells with pride over having a large kingdom with many subjects. Conversely, without people there is no need for a ruler.
So how does this apply to us today?
Let’s move from the concept of kings and subjects—which most of us have no experience in—and move to the idea of leaders and followers. This helps a lot. This verse teaches us about leadership.
Leaders Require Followers
Leaders have followers. Without followers, they have no one to lead. Some leaders have many followers, and others, just a few. Yet all leaders must have followers. It’s a requirement for leadership. You can’t have one without the other.
Whether it’s in business, nonprofits, or churches, the leaders of these institutions must have followers. Otherwise the organization cannot continue, as its survival requires both leaders and followers.
When followers don’t respect a leader, they soon cease following. While some leaders inspire loyal followers, the leadership of others has the opposite effect. They push people away.
If you’re leader, look at your followers. If your number of followers is growing, their actions demonstrate loyalty, and you have a stable base, this implies you’re an effective leader.
However, if your number of followers is shrinking (or nonexistent), you struggle to get them to do what you want, and your team keeps leaving, this implies you’re an ineffective leader. Though you can develop leadership skills, it may already be too late if your followers are scattering.
Followers Makes Leaders
What if you don’t view yourself as a leader or aren’t in a leadership position, but always have people around you, asking your opinion or wondering what they should do next? Maybe you’re a leader. Or at least it proves people view you as a leader, as someone they want to follow.
In fact, these people are already following you. They see leadership qualities in you. It’s just that you don’t realize it. While you could send them away to follow someone else, accept the respect they place in you and work to become a better leader for them.
While this may not be a recognized position, the fact that you have followers confirms the reality that you’re a leader.
God intends some people to lead and others to follow. Make sure you function in the role he created for you. Trying to be a leader when you’re not or ignoring your leadership when other people see it in you, causes you to fall short of what God wants for you.
While the world values leaders and applauds them, God has a different perspective. He affirms those who do what he calls them to do, both leaders and followers.
Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices.