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Thursday, October 21, 2010

Nehemiah's Leadership Example

In the Bible, there is this great man who was chosen to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. 

To fill you in quickly with what was happening around the time of Nehemiah, I will try to keep things real simple. 
War and Destruction left Jerusalem in shambles. And after some time passes, the people who once lived their came back and found everything in rubble. 
 See, told you I could keep things simple. 

As you can imagine, Nehemiah has a HUGE undertaking when he sets out to rebuild the walls that surrounded Jerusalem.
-Just an FYI:  the walls in the ancient times were to serve as a protective barrier to outside threats.  Today we have our walls, they just took on a different shape and are called something different...Nuclear Bombs. 

 Vital areas that Nehemiah utilized when Rebuilding/Leading are as follows...

1.  He acquired an understanding of the problem (1:2-3):  Nehemiah was smart enough to gather other people's insights and ask questions.  This may seem simple, but when leading, you should not be the type of person that is so far out in front of your people that they lose sight of you.  Gathering "buy-in" will be vital -especially from key leaders.

2.  He identified with those who were suffering (1:4): Nehemiah's heart broke for his people and this problem.  Many people will tell you that emotions do not belong in business -but they are wrong.  We are created with emotions and they can serve us.  They key with emotions is to control them instead of the other way around.

3.  He prayed (1:4-10):  Nehemiah knew that this would be a very difficult task so he bowed his knees to the Father.  He understood that without God moving in the hearts of the people, he was left leading an unworkable task. 

4.  He waited for the best opportunity to act (2:1-10):  Nehemiah was no fool, he waited 4 months from when he first received the terrible news that the walls were destroyed in Jerusalem.  This again, is genius on the part of Nehemiah.  Just because you, as a leader, find out about an issue, does not mean it needs dealt with in that second.  "In the abundance of counselors there is victory" says the Proverbs.  Get your team together. Put on your thinking hats.  Sure there are times for quick decisions,, but I have found that often times my rash actions have lead to an outcome that could have been ever better if I waited.

5.  He quietly investigated the situation:  (2:11-16):  Upon his arrival in Jerusalem, Nehemiah didn't announce his arrival with a circus, rather he got first hand information.  He did this by studying the condition of the wall and this is an element that needs underscored.  Not only did Nehemiah, gather his team and get information from them, he went to the actual scene and walked around and observed first hand the destruction and the moral of the people.  If you remember the events of 9/11 then you will recall Mayor Rudolph Giuliani doing the very same thing. 

 6.  He assembled the right players (2:17-20):  Jim Collins, in his excellent book, Good to Great, writes about a leadership principal that I believe is one of the most simple yet important facets of leading.  He says that a great leader does the following: 
(a) Get the right people on the bus
(b) Get the wrong people off of the bus
(c) Get the right people into the right seats on the bus. 
Nehemiah does exactly this.  As a leader, you must know your team.  You have to get the right people on the right tasks in order to complete a successful mission. 

*Source, Leadership Bible, Pg. 557

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