2 Samuel 23:3
“The God of Israel said, the Rock of Israel spake to me, He that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God.”
The best leadership book is not a book by a leader who is still leading, but a book of a leader, who at the end of his life, gives counsel on how to lead. In the verse above, David was at the end of his life. He had fought and won many battles, and likely faced everything that a leader could face, which makes his leadership advice invaluable. There are eight things David counsels leaders to do in this chapter.
First, be a leader. Two words that describe a good leader are “ruleth” and “ruling.” David is saying that leaders must make decisions. You cannot lead people if you are not willing to make decisions. Putting difficult decisions off until later never helps you, but it only hurts your ability to do the most for God. Leaders have to make difficult decisions, but one reason you are a leader and to make the difficult decisions that others will not make.
Second, remember that God is watching you. David said a leader should rule “in the fear of God.” Your position doesn’t give you the right to do what you want; you still have to answer to God for everything that you do. Remember that God holds you accountable for how you lead His people.
Third, be on topside all the time. David said that the leader “shall be as the light of the morning, when the sun riseth, even a morning without clouds.” Leaders will have difficult days, but leaders can’t let those days dictate their spirit. Those who follow you need you to be on topside all the time in spite of what you may be facing.
Fourth, the leader should lead gently. David said that you should lead as the “tender grass springing out of the earth.” In other words, allow people to grow. Don’t expect everyone to be where you are because if they were, they would be a leader themselves. Allow people to grow from where they are and gently lead them to become what God wants them to be.
Fifth, be clear in your directives. David talked about leading as the “tender grass springing out of the earth by clear shining after rain.” You will frustrate those you lead if you are not clear in what they are supposed to do. Never assume those you lead understand what you are saying. It is better to oversimplify what you say so that there are no misunderstandings than it is to speak briefly and hope they can read between the lines to understand your directives. Be clear and precise when you give instructions so that they are clearly understood.
Sixth, be careful about your associations. David said that the sons of Belial should be “thrust away.” The quickest way to destroy your ability to lead is by having bad associations. Keeping good associations who challenge you to continue doing right will never come back to haunt you.
Seventh, carefully watch those who have been with the enemy. Those who were against you but end up staying with you must be carefully watched so that they don’t influence others to do wrong. Keep them “fenced in” so that you always know what they are doing.
Eighth, remember those who have helped you. Appreciation goes a long ways to encouraging people to stay loyal to you. A simple note of gratitude will motivate people to try to do more to help the cause for which you are leading.