How do you lead well? Great leadership begins with attitude of humility. If I believe I have all the answers on my own, then I may be effective, but not nearly as effective if I lead with humility.
You are a leader
Let me step back for a moment. I have this core belief about leadership: Everyone is a leader. I am a leader, you are a leader, and our children are leaders. We may not lead in places of great authority, but each of us lead. You may lead within your family. It could be a group of friends or just one friend that you lead. You could lead a small group of people in your job, your church or community. It might be you just lead a project for a short time.
You are a leader.
Your Leadership Perspective: Pride or Humility
As leaders, a weight of responsibility is placed upon us for the people and projects we lead. The larger the group of people or the bigger the project, the heavier the weight of responsibility will feel. This weight leads to one of two responses – pride or humility.
We either say to ourselves, “Look at what I’ve done. I deserved and gained this responsibility, so I need to be looked at and listened to.” Or, “I cannot believe the position I’ve been given. I have a huge responsibility to those who gave this to me and the people and initiative I am leading. This is new to me, so I need to listen to the advice given to me.”
Solomon led an emerging, powerhouse nation. He succeeded his father, David, the greatest king in Israel. After securing his throne from internal threats, Solomon offers a massive sacrifice of thanksgiving to God. Pleased with Solomon’s gratitude, God visits Solomon in a dream. In this dream, God offers to Solomon anything his heart desires.
Humility = Childlike + Dependent
Solomon responds with humility:
“Now, O Lord my God, you have made me king instead of my father, David, but I am like a little child who doesn’t know his way around. And here I am in the midst of your own chosen people, a nation so great and numerous they cannot be counted! Give me an understanding heart so that I can govern your people well and know the difference between right and wrong. For who by himself is able to govern this great people of yours?”” -1 Kings 3:7-9 NLT
Notice two ways Solomon displays his humble attitude:
I love the allusion Solomon makes. He is like a child in a new world. It’s hard enough to be an adult in a unfamiliar place, but a child has an even harder time creating context for where they find themselves. The younger the child the less experience they have to relate to what they are seeing. As a leader, especially a young or inexperienced leader, I am like a child as I make decisions and guide those around me.
In addition to comparing himself to a child, Solomon declares his need for God to help him lead the nation successfully. Solomon understands this job is to large for him to tackle by himself or even with human help. He needs God.
In whatever role of leadership you find yourself today, lean into the humility of Solomon. You are like a child. You are dependent. The role is too large for you in your own strength.
The Blessing of Humility
As is the nature of God, when we take this posture of humility, God promises to bless us. He blessed Solomon with both wisdom and material wealth:
“The Lord was pleased that Solomon had asked for wisdom…I will give you what you asked for! I will give you a wise and understanding heart such as no one else has had or ever will have! And I will also give you what you did not ask for—riches and fame!” -1 Kings 3:10, 12-13 NLT
How God blesses you and I may look different, but our humility will be rewarded. But of course our reason for embracing humility isn’t reward, it’s the value of humility itself. I will lead better. And as a leader, that is what I want.