My wife and I toured Israel for ten days in 2013. On of the reasons we wanted to tour the country was its significance to our religious beliefs but I also wanted to actually walk and research some of the greatest leaders in the history of civilization. For sure this area of the world has seen its fair share of outstanding leaders. As we toured the country, the stories of great leaders came to life. We walked and witnessed the same places where great leaders who rose from nothing lived. We saw the great works of those great leaders who may have inherited their positions of leadership but were great stewards and led their people to a better standard of living. We also walked the same land where some of the greatest battles in the history of the world took place.
Here are just a few of the things I learned about those great leaders.
- Great leaders stand for something. Great leaders are not “silk in the wind”. By golly, they all had beliefs and they stood by them. They became beacons for their people. In times of prosperity or difficulties, they stood tall with conviction.
- Great leaders have a vision. Great leaders know where they are going and have a plan to get there. They set aside time to retreat from the crowd in order to reflect and to see what is beyond the next wave or mountain. They can separate themselves from the trees in order to see the whole forest.
- Great leaders are courageous. It takes courage to stand by your convictions and vision during troubling times. No great leader waltzes into greatness. There are always difficulties on the journey. Great leaders courageously find ways to overcome the obstacles with creativity and perseverance.Cave near Ein Gedi, Israel
- Great leaders pick their battles not let their battles pick them. Bullies pick fights with everyone. Great leaders know there are times when it is more noble to move along rather than constantly battle every adversary knowing their time will come. Did you know King Saul hunted David for almost fifteen years before David finally met King Saul in a cave and convinced Saul to quit persecuting him? The picture above is supposed to be the gulch where this took place. If you look carefully you can see the caves in the rocks. You can also see part of the terrain. The conditions were harsh but David was patient.
- Great leaders are not perfect. Great leaders make mistakes. They are human but they hold themselves accountable thereby showing their integrity and character are strong.
- Great leaders inspire greatness. In combination with the 5 other traits listed above, great leaders encourage their followers to join them in order to aspire to be a part of something bigger than themselves.
Is it easy? Is it quick? Is it without thought or plan? Is it always safe? You can see the answer to these questions is, no. Leadership is tough and great leaders know leadership is not for sissies. Organizations with a healthy corporate soul are led by great leaders. I look forward to your thoughts and comments.
Until next time…. Peace.