In many years of leadership, I often find myself drawing comparisons from the Book of Proverbs to leadership traits I have identified in myself and in others. While there are countless ways to recognize a great leader, what may be more important is identifying one who is not. Here are a few oracles that can be adapted from the Book to help to pinpoint a foolish leader.
Proverbs 23:9 — Do not speak to fools, for they will scorn your prudent words
Leadership is a constant practice. Great leaders are those who know that they can always improve and learn from other leaders. I, myself, have a mentor, Dr. John Maxwell, who provides me with invaluable guidance that has benefitted me through all my years of education and leadership.
Proverbs 10:18 — Whoever conceals hatred with lying lips and spreads slander is a fool
In a position of authority, slander is unacceptable, especially in an educational institution. Gossip is a disease that can quickly spread and should not be influenced. An admirable leader is someone who speaks highly of others, offering praise where earned or constructive feedback when necessary.
Proverbs 12:16 — Fools show their annoyance at once, but the prudent overlook an insult.
In my time in a leadership role, I have learned that you cannot please everyone with your actions, you can only try your best and stay true to your character. A great leader is someone who consistently works towards the betterment of their institution and does not let negative affront affect their work.
Proverbs 10:23 — A fool finds pleasure in wicked schemes, but a person of understanding delights in wisdom.
Making mistakes is part of life and everyone who succeeds does not do so without first failing in some aspect. The key to making a mistake is learning from it for the future. However, a foolish leader is one who makes does not accept their mistakes or makes jokes about them. A great leader is someone who recognizes that while mistakes are inevitable, they look forward to learning from them.
Proverbs 17:7 — Eloquent lips are unsuited to a godless fool– how much worse lying lips to a ruler!
Someone in a position of leadership and authority has a following that not only respects them but looks to them for guidance. One of the most important things that a leader can be is someone who is honest, practices good morality, and speaks the truth, no matter the situation. A foolish leader lies to their advantage, losing the respect of their following.
This article was originally published on MarkSmithCIU.com