Why do so few know the real secrets to leadership? To happy ABUNDANT living? Why do so many lack a deep sense of fulfillment in their jobs? In day-to-day life? Here are KEYS to personal success now — in preparation for the GOAL ahead.
GET out of your rut and LIVE! Get out of your rut and lead and accomplish!
Born to Rule
Don't you realize that the great GOD of heaven created man in His image to rule? Read it, in your own Bible: "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have DOMINION over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth..." (Genesis 1:26). Why have so few believed what the Bible really says? Notice what Jesus told His disciples: "I appoint unto you a kingdom, as my Father hath appointed unto me; that ye may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and sit on thrones judging [or RULING} the twelve tribes of Israel" (Luke 22:29-30). Again, "And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations: and he shall RULE them with a rod of iron...," (Revelation 2:26-27). We human beings are put on this earth to learn lessons in preparation for RULING this earth — and ultimately the entire universe — with and under God! That's one big reason WHY there are trials and tests, heartaches and headaches and lessons learned through human suffering. Even Jesus learned "... by the things which he suffered" (Hebrews 5:8). That's how He became a Leader.
The RIGHT KIND of Leaders
There are two kinds of "leaders." One is the kind who uses "authority" and compels grudging obedience by his followers. The other kind inspires, persuades, and sets an example for his followers. The authoritarian-type leader generally considers only himself and the grandeur he hopes to produce in his empire, nation or business. He does not give proper consideration to the legitimate needs, wishes and aspirations of his followers. But the right kind of leader leads in order to SERVE his followers and sincerely promotes their best interests — as well as his own — to the best of his ability. Which kind will you be? Jesus Christ showed that the greatest leader will be the servant of those whom he leads. He described how the leaders of the Gentiles — the strutting dictators and czars — "exercise dominion" over their followers and strut about to "exercise authority" over them. "But," He said, "It shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; and whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your SERVANT" (Matthew 20:26-27). If you can begin to get this concept of leadership, your life will certainly be more full and abundant day by day. This, in turn, will certainly prepare you to RULE as a member of God's Kingdom in the World Tomorrow! But, even here, many elderly people and women often ask: "But WHY should I want to rule?" They exclaim: "I don't want to domineer over others or give people orders! Why should I be interested in this idea of being a king in God's Government?" Why, indeed! Have you ever wanted to give real and LASTING help to the starving people of India and China? Have you ever wanted to really and permanently help the lonely and lost-looking orphan children around the world? Have you ever wanted to genuinely and quickly help the blind, deaf and crippled?
WHY You Should Want to Rule in God's Government
As a servant and a LEADER in God's Kingdom, you WILL have that very kind of opportunity! That is what all of our long-time readers of The PLAIN TRUTH are beginning to realize. For, as we see events shaping up in Europe and the Middle East in the exact manner specifically prophesied by The WORLD TOMORROW broadcast and The PLAIN TRUTH magazine for over 30 years, we know assuredly that the Kingdom of GOD will literally be set up on this earth SOON! We who believe and obey our Maker will have an opportunity to LEAD and SERVE in that Kingdom! We will have a genuine opportunity to supernaturally and literally HELP the starving, the orphans, the crippled, the blind and maimed! This kind of LEADERSHIP — the type that will bring tears of thankfulness and JOY to the faces of millions — is something we all ought to crave and desire. It is the real reason for the Christian life and our calling now. For at least a glimpse into the wonderful opportunities for service we will have in God's Kingdom, read our free booklet, THE WONDERFUL WORLD TOMORROW — WHAT IT WILL BE LIKE! Be sure you read it carefully and study it with the thought in mind of your part and your LEADERSHIP in God's Government to SERVE others. Now let me give you a number of "keys" on various attitudes and attributes of a Christian leader. Some of these have already been touched upon — though in a different context entirely — in previous articles in this series. Because of this, and because we are not here discussing strictly leadership but rather leadership and service in preparation for God's Kingdom — I will not number these points as in previous articles. But the theme of GOD'S kind of leadership based on service should become eminently clear.
The Desire to SERVE Comes First
All too often, men desire positions of leadership and responsibility primarily for the sake of exalting self — not for service. This is a great mistake, and often leads to grievous harm and unhappiness not only for the individuals involved but for many others. Jesus said: "For whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted" (Luke 14:11). If one humbles himself to serve his fellowman he may find that, in due time, he has become a leader because of his desire and ability to help. One of my friends of college days voluntarily took upon himself the lowly task of emptying out the garbage from the dormitory kitchen. Even in his senior year, as a student instructor, he continued this practice until it was noticed by the college president who thought it better that some other regular student be given this responsibility. This individual was trying to serve — and now, interestingly enough has a far greater opportunity to serve as dean of the college! What is the point? The point is that he was alert enough to see a genuine need and try to fill that need — even though it was a lowly job of service. His initiative and imagination displayed itself in far more important and interesting ways than this specific illustration outlines, but the important fact here is that he was willing to exercise his initiative and use it to SERVE in this lowly capacity — not just to exalt the self! "He that humbles himself shall be EXALTED." This spirit of humility — this desire to serve — and the spirit of selfless dedication to a cause is the foundational approach to all true leadership. The man who is willing to sacrifice himself to the task at hand is the one whose followers will be most inspired and who will most quickly tend to emulate their leader. For he is leading by sacrifice and service. He is leading by EXAMPLE. And, if his cause is right, he certainly will be followed enthusiastically!
There Must Be Vision, Imagination and a GOAL
Every great leader must possess at least a certain degree of imagination and vision. He must be able to think ahead — to visualize and plan on beyond the immediate present. He must also have a GOAL. If his goal is practical and right, if he has the foresight to realistically create plans and programs leading to that goal — he will certainly command the respect of others and be a true leader. The veritable modern "father" of West Germany, the late Chancellor Konrad Adenauer, asked: "What makes a statesman great?" Then he answered: "He needs first of all a clear conception of what is possible. Then he needs a clear conception of what he wants. Finally, a great leader must have the power of his convictions, a moral driving force. Churchill radiated it. He had fire and daring from the days of his adventurous youth."
A Leader Must LEAD and DECIDE
A certain amount of speed and decisiveness is found in the makeup of every great leader. For a leader has got to be ahead of those who are following him. He must be alert, charting the course ahead — and able to decide quickly the right course of action when problems come up. This requires a degree of mental toughness and courage which many just do not have. But these are qualities of Christ Himself, and they may be acquired — to a degree at least — by any Christian who asks Almighty God for them in prayer and seeks to build, use and exercise these qualities. When Jesus found God's Temple being turned into a house of merchandise at the Passover season, He did not go off to meditate, call a committee meeting or ponder what to do. He took decisive action. As the Son of God, He had the right to clean out that temple — and He did! He courageously and vigorously strode through the temple courts, overturned the tables of the money changers and ordered the money changers out. He then made a whip of cords and drove the cattle out. A leader with this type of decisiveness and courage will bounce back from defeat or adversity. He will NOT be a "quitter." Even though his course of action may sometimes be unpopular, a true leader will have the spiritual and mental resources to see it through and not be deterred by criticism or adversity.
Comradeship and Delegation
A leader must know how to work with other people. He must command their admiration and respect — their trust, loyalty and responsiveness. Also, he must be able to so prod and organize them that they achieve their maximum potential under his guidance. Genuine friendliness and outgoing concern for others is the hallmark of a great leader. He has time for a smile, a friendly chat, and shows sincere interest in the lives, hopes and dreams of those under his charge. He builds a sense of comradeship with those under him, so that they feel free to share their ideas and suggestions with him. He is not living in a remote ivory tower. He may call conferences and meetings at which his junior executives and subordinates have opportunity to share their views regarding problems that face the nation or organization. A top leader is always able to communicate. He has trained himself to think clearly and therefore he is able to express himself with clarity and force to his subordinates. In this way, they can accurately trace his ideas, goals and also his specific instructions without wandering about in hopeless confusion — as actually happens from time to time in many great organizations. Because of his ability and willingness to communicate, he is able to create a unity of purpose among his subordinates and achieve vigorous action out of this otherwise dissimilar group. In most cases, a leader should accept the responsibility for the mistakes of the subordinates he himself has selected. In like manner, he should, when possible, give them public credit for their triumph. In all of this, he will win their confidence by the continual example of fairness and honesty in all of his dealings with those under him. A leader must be willing to delegate authority to others or he will find himself running a one-man army, a one-man store or a one-man enterprise. He must have the discernment and insight to select as his administrators men and women of ability, honesty and balance. Indeed, an executive's ability to do this very thing and to train the newcomers, organize those functioning under him and inspire them to accomplishment is one of the greatest tests he must face.
Character and Integrity
If a leader's motives are continually being called in question by his followers, he is through as a leader. He must consistently set an example of fairness, integrity and high moral character if his group or enterprise is worth "leading" in the first place. Self-discipline is an absolute must for a man of leadership. The minute he allows his morals to become eroded, the minute he begins letting down, hitting the bottle, engaging in unethical conduct — that minute may well be the turning point in his entire leadership and future. Very few men indeed can have a feeling of faithfulness and loyalty to an example of instability, dishonesty, weakness, or debauchery. A true Christian leader — the kind that will LAST — is one who adheres scrupulously to the principles of the Ten Commandments. He will be thinking far more about what is "right" than what is expedient. His personal integrity will be above question to everyone who really knows him, and his sense of faithfulness and loyalty will permeate his institution. It is here that in a very real and immediate sense, righteousness pays off. There can be no substitute for Christian character.
WHERE and HOW to Lead
In exercising these principles of service and LEADERSHIP, you will find many opportunities to use them, first of all right in your own family. For, as explained previously in this series, your family is "a miniature kingdom." In describing the qualifications of an elder or minister, God says: "For if a man know not how to RULE his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?" (I Timothy 3:5) The place to begin is at home. All husbands should, in humility and love, serve, inspire and LEAD their families. They serve them by providing for, protecting and guiding them as a unit through the rough spots of life. Yet, in this very service, they must lead. They must exercise the very qualities outlined in this article. And, very important, learn to build leadership into your sons! For they certainly should be the leaders in The World Tomorrow! Apply the principles of this article on your job, your farm or in your business. Learn to think ahead and employ right imagination and vision, decisiveness and courage. Learn to get those under you organized — and develop a proper method of delegating responsibility to others, yet being faithful and fair to them as you want them to be to you. A gloomy warning on the declining state of American leadership was issued recently by John W. Gardner, Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare. He said that unless the present trend is reversed, "We are in danger of falling under the leadership of men who lack the confidence to lead. And we are in danger of destroying the effectiveness of those who have a natural gift for leadership." It is certainly true that this society has lost its way. It has no GOAL. It substitutes committee meetings, discussions and public opinion polls for leadership. But you readers of The PLAIN TRUTH know what is really going to take place — and SOON! You know that a new age is about to be ushered in under the guidance of the Living Christ. We call it the "World Tomorrow." In it, the true servants of God are going to be made LEADERS in the world-ruling government which was the constant subject of Jesus Christ's Gospel. Those who overcome will be made kings and priests and rule over the nations. And our children who live on through the tumultuous days ahead may well become the human leaders in the World Tomorrow — IF we have trained, guided and inspired them to prepare now. So, most of all, prepare for that day. It is coming sooner than you think! Try to help and serve others with the knowledge that you have. Develop and USE these qualities of leadership in your everyday life. Christian leadership based on SERVICE is the best possible preparation for your job as a king under Jesus Christ in the World Tomorrow!