By definition a leader is out front.
And by being out front a leader will be the first of her team to encounter obstacles hindering her from getting to the goal.
Good leadership keeps the goal in mind constantly, is consistently communicating why the goal is important, and tirelessly listens to the team, sifting the good ideas from the ok ideas, making sure that all of the implemented ideas are still taking the team closer to the goal.
In 2 Samuel 20 Joab has the goal of capturing a rebel leader, Sheba, who has the potential to destroy the kingdom and David’s reign. Joab is a strong, courageous, and driven leader. He is the man who gutted Absalom, David’s son, as he hung from a tree. Joab is described as a ruthless killer but a man who was loyal to David. So, when the leader of David’s army, Amasa, didn’t respond quick enough to the goal of capturing Sheba, Joab stealthily stabs Amasa and kills him during an unarmed greeting between the two of them.
Joab had his mind set on the goal. Amasa was an obstacle. Obstacle removed.
Joab chases Sheba, the rebel leader, into the fortified city of Abel. Here is where Joab’s leadership makes an about-face (he will listen before acting). The army besieged the city (which means they closed up all entrances and exits to the city, not allowing anyone in or out, not allowing food and provisions in or out, essentially starving the entire city to death.)
Joab had his mind set on the goal. Abel was an obstacle. So Joab was prepared to destroy the entire city to meet his goal.
But then a “wise woman cried out from the city.” One person. One voice. One small idea. One quasi-peaceful solution.
The wise woman suggests that the people inside the city walls cut off the head of Sheba, the rebel leader, and deliver it to Joab. That would spare the entire city death and insure that none of Joab’s men would die in battle. Win-win.
Joab had his mind set on the goal. He was prepared to let an entire city die (innocent men, women, and children) to meet his goal. He knew his idea would work. But, the wise woman suggested another option. Her idea still got them to Joab’s goal. Joab listened. Goal accomplished.
Sometimes it only takes one voice..and a leader willing to listen..
Are you willing to be that voice?
Are you willing to be that leader?