2 Chronicles 10:7
“And they spake unto him, saying, If thou be kind to this people, and please them, and speak good words to them, they will be thy servants for ever.”
When Rehoboam took over the kingdom after Solomon died, the people came to him, by the deceitful leadership of Jeroboam, and asked him if he would ease the servitude that his father placed them under. Rehoboam’s response to this request was to go to his counselors to see what they advised. The young counselors, which counsel he followed, advised him to increase the servitude that Solomon placed the people under. However, the counselors who lived with Solomon and counseled him advised Rehoboam to be kind to the people. You will notice that they didn’t say that Solomon’s leadership was wrong, they just advised Rehoboam to be kind to the people.
It is always easy to attack the leadership styles of those from the past as oppressive and dictatorial. Yet, it is amazing how we loved those leaders and what they did for us when they were alive. Somehow we tend to listen to deceitful, worldly and selfish leaders who attack past leaders because they want a following. These worldly leaders feel that if they can delegitimize past leaders that they can get people to follow them. The advice of the counselors in the verse above was to simply be kind. There are several things these men did not say that show what is kind leadership.
First, kind leadership is firm leadership. These men didn’t tell Rehoboam not to be firm; they just said to be kind. Kind leadership is firm leadership because firm leadership doesn’t allow people to live any way they want to live. Leaders who draw lines are the kindest leaders. The reason they are kind leaders is because they are clearly showing what is right and wrong. Kind leadership doesn’t blur the lines of right and wrong, but it clearly defines those lines to keep those they lead from sin’s grip.
Second, kind leadership is principled leadership. These counselors didn’t tell Rehoboam to lead by feeling; rather, they counseled him to let principles guide him. Principled leadership is predictable leadership. The reason principled leadership is kind is because people don’t have to guess how leadership wants things done. Unkind leadership is leadership that changes its decisions on the whim. A good leader will let principles guide them, and principled leadership is the kindest leadership.
Third, kind leadership is servant-focused leadership. These counselors were simply telling Rehoboam to serve the people. Kind leadership is not self-focused leadership; rather, kind leadership is seeking to serve those they lead. The kindest leader is the leader who doesn’t make themselves or their family an issue because they were placed in leadership to serve. You must be careful about allowing nepotism to creep into your leadership because it will take your kindness away and will turn the hearts of your followers away.
Fourth, kind leadership is gentle leadership. You don’t have to be harsh with followers to be a good leader. Rehoboam mistook strong leadership as harsh. My friend, the greatest leader is one who gently handles situations without harming the follower’s spirit. The kindest leader is one who firmly stands for right, is predictable in what they want, but is gentle in handling followers when they do wrong so they will continue to have confidence in following you.