King Solomon on Leadership and Authority
I am going to continue with my posts on the commandments in the Mosaic law dealing with treatment of the poor but I also want to mix things up a little bit. I have been slowly working my way through Robert McLaughlin’s commentary on the book of Ecclesiastes (you can request a free copy at this link) and have recently read the section dealing with Ecclesiastes 8:1-9. These verses tell us of the qualities that good leaders should have. McLaughlin’s commentary really struck a chord with me so I wanted to share them with you all.
I have had a good career that most people would love to have. I am not a direct supervisor of anyone even though I do have “dashed line” responsibilities for a couple of employees. Because of where I sit in the organization I get glimpses of what goes on between the senior management in our company. I hate to say it but I think that many senior staff could benefit from listening to King Solomon. I also think that many other people employed at a lot of other companies would agree with that statement.
I like Pastor McLaughlin’s introduction to chapter eight so I am going to start by sharing it with you:
Being a good boss or a good leader is not easy, and it does not happen by accident. Leaders who are a joy to follow are rare. Chances are that many of you who are reading these words do not look forward to facing your boss the next time you see him. A very good boss, leader, or superior is rare. It is unusual to find people who look forward to to being with the skipper of the ship, their boss, or the one in charge, and who truly find the leadership motivational, and inspiring to be around. Unfortunately, many people in authority have leadership styles that fall into one of two extremes. First, there is the incompetent superior. This type is not qualified to do what he or she is doing, but has the amazing ability to make it look as though his mistakes are someone else’s fault. People who are incompetent or who are poor models are tough to work for. They are frequently negative and discouraging, rather than being positive and encouraging. They are often terribly insecure, but they cover it up by abusing their authority, which again is part of their incompetence in the leadership role that they are trying to fill. Secondly, there is the intolerant superior. The person is qualified for the position, but, if the truth were known, he is simply a workaholic, a perfectionist, and an overly demanding boss. The person’s entire life revolves around the job, and he expects yours to, also. This type of leader is implacable; he is hard charging, high achieving, and tough minded. Often, he is overly qualified, and in his mind, no one can do the job quite as well as he can. In a cartoon that was out some time ago, there was a little fourth-grade boy standing nose to nose with the teacher at the chalkboard, where there were several unsolved math problems. The little boy was glaring back at the teacher, and the caption reads what he was saying, “I’m not an underachiever, you’re an overexpecter!” Overexpecters, or intolerant people with authority, are found in different categories. Some of them are fathers or mothers, some of them are husbands, some of them are teachers, some of them are coaches, and unfortunately, some of them are pastors. In fact, many congregations today are not being led, they are being beaten. They are lead by pastors who, rather than serve, seek to be served. They do not feed the flock, but rather, they fleece the flock. They do not gather the flock, but rather, they scatter the flock. Under this type of leadership, the average Christian today is being discouraged rather than encouraged. They are not being equipped, but are being whipped, and put down, and battered. These intolerant shepherds are often well meaning, but they wrongly expect their congregation to reach perfection, instead of recognizing that all are sinners and fall short of the glory of God (Rom 3:23).
All of us are affected by someone in authority. In our home, our school, our job, our team, or our church, we are either in authority or under authority, and in some cases both. In fact, some of you may be moving rapidly toward being in greater authority over more people than ever before in your lifetime. Therefore, what follows in this chapter is very important to absorb because you are on the verge of making either a magnificent or a miserable impact on the lives of others. Ecclesiastes chapter 8 gives excellent guidelines to remember for those who are in authority or under authority.
The Eight Experiments of Man. Commentary on The Book of Ecclesiastes
Robert R. McLaughlin
This entry was posted on May 6, 2011 at 8:06 pm and is filed under Leadership and Authority. You can subscribe via RSS 2.0 feed to this post's comments. You can comment below, or link to this permanent URL from your own site.