1 Chronicles 21:2
“And David said to Joab and to the rulers of the people, Go, number Israel from Beersheba even to Dan; and bring the number of them to me, that I may know it.”
King David put Joab in a bad position when he ordered him to number the people against the Word of God. Joab was put in a position that many followers have found themselves in this precarious position that if they don’t do what they are told to do, they are considered disloyal and will feel the full affect of fleshly leadership’s wrath. David’s biggest mistake was that he used his position to get his own way.
Many people have been hurt because of leadership’s demand for loyalty over truth. Though most leaders don’t mean to do wrong, it happens because leaders are humans. This incident between David and Joab teaches several valuable lessons that need to be adhered to so that leaders don’t make the same mistake. Let me share these lessons.
First, leadership is not always right. I know this goes in the face of what many have been taught throughout the years, but there is no leader who is always right. Face it; every leader is a sinful human, and that in and of itself should tell you that leaders can’t always be right. God’s Word says that all are sinners. Every leader must keep in mind that they are fallible and that they are not always right. There are going to be times when leadership is wrong and their followers are right. If you don’t remember this, you will abuse your position and demand followers to follow you no matter what.
Second, leadership’s position is not a license to get their own way. David didn’t have a right to get his own way just because he was the king; likewise, you don’t have a right to get your own way just because you are the leader. The purpose of leadership is to make sure God gets His way. Whenever your way disagrees with God’s way, you are to submit to His way and follow it.
Third, leadership should never use position to intimidate followers to do wrong. Don’t think for a minute that Joab wasn’t intimidated about doing what David told him to do. You must be careful that your followers don’t live in fear of you losing your temper every time they might have a different opinion. If your followers are always silent when you ask their opinion, you might look back at how you have come across in the past to see if you have created an atmosphere of intimidation. Followers should never live in fear that their leader is going to lose his temper every time they disagree.
Fourth, leaders should listen to followers before making up their mind. One of the greatest mistakes of leadership is thinking they always know what is best. There is no way any leader can know the best way all the time because they are not there to know the situation. If you put a follower in a position, you need to trust them about their area because they are the ones working in that area all the time. The best leader will most often defer to the one in charge of an area, except when they know that the decision being made is damaging to what is right and wrong.
Fifth, leaders should learn to apologize when they have used their position wrongly. The strongest leader is the leader who admits their wrong when they are wrong. If you will admit your wrong, your followers will appreciate your heart and it will endear them to you because they will know that you have a heart for doing right.