I’ve been noticeably struck by Nehemiah and his leadership displayed in his book. The man knew how to lead, and to lead well. Here are some characteristics of his leadership that stand out to me, and ones I hope to replicate and hope that you can as well:
- Prayer-filled. He prayed all the time. He wept, fasted, mourned, and prayed for days when he found out the walls of Jerusalem fell. He prayed in the middle of a conversation with King Artaxerxes. He prayed against those oppressing him from building the wall. He prayed when his enemies conspired against him. He led the people of Israel in confessing their sins.
- Organized. The man had a plan – and he oversaw it all. Just read Nehemiah 2 and 3. The detail is dulling-ly motivating.
- Emotional. He allowed for his emotion to show, for the good and the bad. As mentioned before, he wept for Jerusalem’s wall. The book also mentions how angry Nehemiah was when he heard how the poor were being oppressed and when Eliashib used God’s money to prepare a chamber room for Tobiah.
- Confrontational. Nehemiah didn’t back down from challenges. He stood up to the nobles/officials and to those in Jerusalem who were being disobedient and when Eliashib the priest used God’s money to build Tobiah a chamber.
- Wise. They way he went about reubuilding the wall is remarkable. Starting in the first chapter when he first heard about the city’s destruction, he got the facts, he prayed, formed a plan, and immediately went to work, asking for King for a leave of absence. He then inspected the walls, saw all that was needed to be done, and put the teams into action. His ability to see the end goal and to craft an immediate plan is inspiring. He began, to borrow from Stephen Covey, with the end in mind, and not just this, but to keep that end goal constantly in front of him. He also had discernment by understanding that Shemaiah was being deceitful and trying to trick him.
- God-fearing. Throughout the book he is asking God to remember him for the good that he has done. He appointed the governor based on faithfullness and being God-fearing – the only two descriptions he uses to justify his decision, which shows how much stock he placed in fearing God.
- Iniatiator of Bible Study. Ezra the scribe is called to read the law to all the people of Israel after Nehemiah called them together.
- Protective. In his final reforms to the people, Nehemiah goes to great extent to protect them from sin-filled influences, probably in full realization of the the forgetfulness of the people. Also reflecting back to Nehemiah’s protection of the poor that I mentioned before.
This list of eight is no magic number (indeed not, or else I would have aimed for 7, the number of biblical completion) – but I found it valuable to measure up against in my own leadership, whether it be at home, at work, or in our my community. I hope it’s of benefit to you. Till next time, Jack.