Think about the leaders you admire, respect or follow. What is it about them that convinces you to follow them?
What about leaders that you have zero respect for? Why do you avoid following them?
Years ago, I read this list of 10 reasons why “insecure” leaders are the worst sorts of leaders, created by John Maxwell. Here’s a brief run-down.
- They want control. Control is everything to insecure people; the thought of giving it up by empowering others or delegating important responsibilities scares them to death.
- They fear public failure. As a result, they will absolutely anything to avoid being embarrassed by doing something stupid in front of others.
- They avoid risk. They would rather not try and not know, even if it means missing out on great success and growth.
- They are closed in their relationships. They don’t open up because they fear rejection.
- They do not hire 10s. If they did, they’d run the risk of being shown up. So instead of hiring top-notch people, they surround themselves with mediocrity. (Sometimes they do hire 10’s, choosing in the short term to boost their own egos. Of course, it usually backfires.)
- They resist change. Keeping the status quo helps them maintain control, or so they think.
- They fail to affirm and empower others. Many insecure people weren’t affirmed or empowered during critical phases of life. As a result, they’re practically incapable of nurturing the people they lead.
- They stay in their comfort zone. To leave it invites risk and change–what more can I say?
- They view people and situations through their insecurities. Consequently, what they see never totally matches up with reality. More often than not, it’s completely skewed.
- They create an environment of insecurity. This makes the people they lead confused and unsettled because they never know what’s going to happen next.
As I read through the book of Micah over the weekend, I couldn’t help but think about leadership. Micah’s prophecy, given during the time of the Assyrian invasion of Judah (see 2 Kings 18-20 or 2 Chronicles 32), was directed firmly at the leaders of Judah. In brief, they were all terrible. Judges had failed to give justice. Prophets had failed to speak a true word from God. Rulers had ceased to rule. As a result, the kingdom was in chaos, and an even greater judgment was coming. “Therefore because of you Zion shall be plowed as a field; Jerusalem shall become a heap of ruins, and the mountain of the house a wooded height” (Micah 3:12).
However, Micah did not simply weigh in to the leadership and leave no hope for them or their people. He spoke of a time … a kind of golden age … where people would know the Word, peace would reign, and all would prosper (see Micah 4:1-5). And this age would be ushered in by a secure, shepherd leader. “And he shall stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God. And they shall dwell secure, for now he shall be great to the ends of the earth. And he shall be their peace …” (Micah 5:4-5a).
The Jewish scholars of Jesus’ day cited the first part of Micah 5 to Herod in answer to his question regarding where the Messiah would come from (Bethlehem). So the secure, shepherd-leader for God’s people is Jesus.
Of course, Jesus was by no means “insecure.” But by “secure” I also mean that the kingdom He leads is different than any other kingdom in that it is totally and utterly secure. It will NEVER fail, unlike all other earthly kingdoms (USA included … YES, we will end one day!). But Jesus, unlike other worldly leaders who find their security in their tyrannous reign, doesn’t lead like a dictator who finds his identity in his role. Rather, Jesus is described as a shepherd. God’s people have a compassionate, gentle King who cares for His flock and protects them from evil. He’s the one who lays down His very life for the sheep and knows them all by name.
Sadly, Jews continue to reject this secure kingdom a shepherd leader. But a day is coming when they will joyfully submit to His leadership. Says Paul, “A partial hardening has come upon Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. And in this way all Israel will be saved, as it is written, ‘The Deliverer will come from Zion, he will banish ungodliness from Jacob; and this will be my covenant with them when I take away their sins’ (Romans 11:25-27).”
What an incredible time that will be … when our Shepherd-Leader completes what He has started, and all God’s people reign securely with Him.