Thursday, August 13, 2009

Lone Rangers Need Not Apply

There are no Lone Ranger leaders. If you’re alone, you’re not leading anybody.

Think of any highly effective leader and you will find someone surrounded by a strong inner circle. Every leader’s potential is determined by the people closest to him. If those people are strong, then the leader can make a huge impact. If they are weak, he can’t.

I was recently speaking to a group of church leaders on the topic of transitioning the volunteer to a leader, and in the dialogue following the presentation the question of leadership resources came up. My first reply was the Scriptures, because they have a wealth of leadership principles that are applicable and relevant today. Another resource I recommended was the works of John Maxwell. What better way to talk about an important leadership principle than combine the two!

The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership is a great book by Maxwell, containing pure gold leadership experience and guidelines. One of those laws, The Law of the Inner Circle, is illustrated very well by the life of David. Maxwell rightly believes that a leader’s potential is determined by those closest to him. Examine the way David pulled together the core people who made him great:

  • He started building a strong inner circle before he needed it – David began building his team long before he was crowned king. First Chronicles 12:14 emphasizes how many of the warriors who flocked to David were leaders.
  • He attracted people with varied gifts – David attracted men of diverse abilities. Experienced warriors, men of valor, hundreds of captains – with the help of these men, David felt ready for anything.
  • He engendered loyalty – David’s followers displayed incredible loyalty to him throughout his life. Even when his own son rebelled against him (2 Samuel 15:21), his closest men stayed with him.
  • He delegated responsibility based on ability – David continually gave authority to others. Joab was the commander of his army; to others, he gave civil authority (1 Chronicles 18:14-17). Great leaders risk delegation in order to reach the highest level of leadership.

When God wants a leader to do something of value for Him, He provides that leader with the men and women to get the job done. That was true for David, and it will be true for you. Look around – who is in your inner circle?

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