As we grow, you have to continue to hire and train people to provide prompt customer service.  In order to train new people, you have to have good leaders who can train and delegate, so that you can have depth on the bench to serve your customers with a spirit of excellence.

We are always looking for ways to pour into our managers/leaders and to encourage them, as it takes a lot of patience to train new people.

In a recent management meeting we discussed two of the most dangerous mistakes you must avoid becoming a more effective leader, coach, and mentor from a book called How To Lead By The Book by Dave Anderson.  As a leader, you have the responsibility of setting a righteous example.  Sir Francis Bacon explained it well:  “He that gives good admonition (advice) and bad example builds with one hand and pulls down with the other.”  You are not expected to be perfect, but you should strive toward imitating a perfect Lord & Savior.

Leaders face many temptations and often fall into common traps that affect their character and performance.  Loose morals, lousy judgment, outright ignorance, and blatant stupidity are the culprits behind most failures.  However, one primary perpetrator underlies each of these causes:  pride.  Pride is the #1 cause of leadership failure.  Remember, God resists the proud but gives more grace to the humble.

Dangerous Mistake #1:  Putting “pigs” before people.  A common temptation for result-driven leaders is to put more importance on profits than on people.  Matthew 8 tells us that Jesus had just crossed the Sea of Galilee and was soon met by two demon-possessed men coming out of the tombs.  The book of Luke reports that one of the demons declared his name was Legion because the man was possessed by so many spirits.  In Roman times, a legion consisted of between 3,000 and 6,000 men.  Jesus allowed the demons to go into a nearby herd of pigs.  What happens next proves that today, just as was true 2,000 years ago, the more you love money, the less you love people.  Matthew reports that even though the entire town had been told of the miracle of these two tormented souls being delivered from their hell on earth, their apparent preference for pigs caused the townspeople to beg Jesus to depart from their region.  They didn’t even express gratitude toward Jesus for commanding the demons into the pigs rather than allowing them to roam the countryside in search of human hosts.  They didn’t even value people enough to bring their sick to Jesus for healing while He was in the neighborhood.  One key lesson here is clear:  When you devalue people by prioritizing pigs above them, you lose the presence of Christ and the blessings that come with Him.  Profits are fleeting, whereas people are your most appreciable assets.  If you prioritize building people over chasing profits, the profits will eventually chase you.  This is because the team you have developed and built will reward your investment with new levels of success and results.  The only way you could possibly degrade people in the manner exhibited by the citizens of the Gadarenes is to elevate your own selfish welfare onto a pedestal of such heights that the value and dreams of others are completely marginalized.

Dangerous Mistake #2:  Becoming too dependent on yourself.

  • The true measure of leaders is not how much they can do personally; rather, it is the ability to get work done through others that marks effective leadership.  What one person can do is finite, but what a team can accomplish together has no limits.
  • The true measure of leaders is the ability, over time, to make their teams less dependent on them for direction, ideas and solutions.  Leaders achieve this result by setting clear expectations, pushing power and discretion down the line and making a conscious effort to develop the skills, talents and character of each team member.
  • The true measure of leaders is not how well their team members perform while those leaders are present in the workplace applying pressure but how well the teams perform in the absence of their leaders.

In Ephesians 4:12 Paul explained it well by stating that we are to equip others to do the work, not do it all ourselves:  “And He Himself gives some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of the ministry.”

You must continually strive to get the right people on the bus, the wrong people off the bus, and help them work out of their strengths by moving them to the right seat on the bus.

Jethro gave Moses priceless advice that would help liberate him from the bondage of making the people of Israel too dependent on him, allowing both Moses and the people to grow toward their full potential.  In Exodus 18 it says that Moses sat to judge the people from morning until evening.  Jethro helped Moses to see that being a one-man show wears out both leaders and those under their care.

Don’t lead on empty.  Take time off to disconnect, rest and relax.  Refresh yourself as a leader.

Note four key points concerning Jethro’s advice that you can apply to your own leadership:

  • Choose people carefully who have good character.  Teach, educate and empower others so your authority will flow like a river rather than be centralized like a reservoir.
  • Not everyone on the team would have equal responsibility.  Some would rule thousands and others tens.
  • Moses would then be at a point where he would judge only the great matters, making all people less dependent on him.  At the same time, it would allow him to develop other leaders to share his burden and move the welfare of the organization forward.
  • By building a team, Moses would be able to personally endure the rigors of his position, while his people went their way in peace.
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