“Everything rises and falls on leadership.” – John Maxwell
For the past few decades I have had the pleasure (and pain) of being an ordained minister in the church. Whether in secondary positions or lead roles, it has become increasing clear to me how true this maxim is. Leadership is the number one factor for the success or demise of any organization or team.
In the book of Numbers chapter thirteen found in the Old Testament, there is a fascinating story conveyed by Moses about the persuasive power of a leader’s attitude and perspective. For centuries, God had promised the Israeli people that the land of Canaan (the Promised Land) would one day be their own. After liberation from slavery in Egypt under Pharaoh, this finally was the moment the promise would be realized.
So a leader from each Jewish tribe was selected (twelve in all) to go in and spy out the land to see what information could be profitable for military advancement and agricultural anticipation. For forty days, these leaders scouted out the land of Canaan, and upon their return, Moses called all the people together to share the news of what they had seen. Hopes were high throughout the crowd as some of the leaders began to speak about the abundance of crops and livestock. They even used the phrase, “It flows with milk and honey” (whatever that means) to describe the abundant land as they held a cluster of grapes so large it had to be carried by two men suspended on a pole!
But the atmosphere began to shift as ten of these leaders shared the dangers of facing the inhabitants of the land…fortified cities and giants who dwelt there. While a life in Canaan would be far superior to anything they had previously known before, what was before them was bigger, scarier, and more challenging than what they believed could be accomplished. Only two leaders, Joshua and Caleb, opposed this perspective declaring that with God on their side, anything was possible to be achieved. But as we typically see played out in our times, the people listened and believed the negative report and willingly chose not to inherit the divine promise.
So Moses writes this summation:
“So they (leaders) brought to the people of Israel an evil report of the land that they had spied out…a land that devours its inhabitants…and we seemed to ourselves like grasshoppers, and so we seemed to them.”
The leaders’ own flawed perspectives of themselves, led them to convey a false narrative that ultimately led to a generation of Jews dying in the wilderness instead of conquering the land. Forty years later, the two leaders who dared to believe in the promise of God and their own military capability, actually led the nation of Israel into Canaan with great success! But so many people missed out on what could have been because of the leadership in their midst.
I believe this can be the greatest season of your career! As leaders, we must be mindful of our attitudes and perspectives at all times. Knowing that someone is always watching and following the example we set. (This can apply to all of us in our own homes, as well) Be confident in who you are and in your ability, as well as the abilities of those whom you lead. Take courage when the challenges arise…you are in that position to make the hard choices and ultimately the difference in the outcome!