Nehemiah: The Captive Who Became a Leader

Nehemiah was a captive who rose to the position of a governor because he had a heart to serve God and His people. He was a slave in the land of captivity when news reached him that the walls of Jerusalem had been broken down and the gates burnt with fire. His desire to rebuild the walls caused him to return to Jerusalem. His story contains several leadership lessons.
Lesson number one; a leader must take the initiative. Initiative means the power to act or take charge before others do. A leader that fails to take the initiative is not a leader. Long before Nehemiah heard that the walls had been broken down and the gates burned with fire, others had heard; as matter of fact there were people in Jerusalem when the walls were broken down but they did nothing about it. Nehemiah heard and immediately took the initiative to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the walls. This is one quality that separates a leader from followers.
Lesson number two; a leader must accept responsibility. Many in leadership positions fail to realise that a leader is called to take responsibility. Nehemiah accepted responsibility of building the broken down walls of Jerusalem. He also accepted spiritual responsibility of going before God in prayers and asking for forgiveness for his nation.
Lesson number three; a leader must have a clear vision. Vision tells the leader where he should go and a man who has no vision is a man who does not know where he is going. Nehemiah had a vision, to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem which had been broken down.
Lesson number four; a leader must be able to communicate the vision to the people. The Bible talks about writing the vision and making it clear so that the one that reads it may run with it. No one can run with a vision that is not clear and so it is important that a leader is able to communicate the vision clearly to the people. However, before a leader communicates the vision, he must ensure it is clear to him. Nehemiah communicated the vision to the people but it is interesting to note that when he first arrived in Jerusalem he did not immediately do this; rather he spent time viewing the damaged walls. I believe he was trying to evaluate the situation first hand so as to have clarity of the vision before communicating it to the people. This is very important and a leader must never communicate to the people a vision that is not yet clear to him.
Lesson number five; a leader must get the people to buy in to the vision. It is not enough for the leader to communicate the vision; he must get the people to buy in to it. Nehemiah did not stop at communicating the vision he got the people to buy in. He carefully explained to the people the present situation then charged them to arise and build and went on to tell them why they must build. In getting people to buy in to a vision, a leader must carefully point out to the people what they stand to gain, or why they should buy in to the vision.
Lesson number six; a leader must be ready to face the opposition. As soon as the people arose to build the walls, opposition also arose. Sanballat, Tobiah and Geshem laughed the people to scorn and Nehemiah spoke up and answered them. Opposition will always arise against the fulfilment of a vision and when it does the leader must be ready to face it; this is his responsibility.
Lesson number seven; a leader must refuse distraction. The purpose of opposition is to distract a person or a people from the pursuit of a vision. Opposition usually targets the leader because he bears the vision that drives the work and the easiest way to stop the vision is to stop the leader through distraction. Once, Sanballat and company called for a meeting with Nehemiah but he responded thus, “I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down; why should the work cease, whilst I leave it, and come down to you?” Nehemiah refused to allow the opposition distract him and stop the work. A good leader must stay focused until the vision is fulfilled.
Eturuvie Erebor
Taking-the-Lead Seminars.

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