I wish leadership was a matter of personal skill, character, and abilities. If that were the case my challenges in being successful would boil down to one simple task; find the right leader and hire that individual. Unfortunately this is not the case; my life is recurring proof of the fallacy of even pursuing a course along this path. Even the best leader has chinks that become resounding weaknesses that boil into failure. I have yet to find anyone, including myself, with it all. Then there is the skill in transcending cultural and personal preferences. Again, there is nobody that fits 100%!
What do I do with wisdom’s advice to the problems at hand? “When the country is in chaos, everybody has a plan to fix it—but it takes a leader of real understanding to straighten things out.” (Proverbs 28.2) How can I tackle real issues that directly touch and change people’s lives? Is there anyone to solve the problems at hand?
Let me make a couple of observations and then suggest a possible answer.
First, Wisdom did not suggest that this leader would solve every problem for every person for all time. Great leaders focus on specific problems almost to the exclusion of being able to focus on anything else.
Second, Wisdom did not suggest that leaders were or are perfect. Weaknesses are a part of life; the question is what a leader represents, and what he or she does about the weaknesses within.
Third, perhaps leadership as outlined by Wisdom is based primarily on understanding and principles applied consistently through actions, rather than techniques and results.
Wisdom refers to real understanding. This only comes through giving it up, listening and observing.
“So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him… Instead, fix your attention on God.” (Romans 12.1, 2)
This is the beginning of great leadership.