2 Samuel 17:14
“And Absalom and all the men of Israel said, The counsel of Hushai the Archite is better than the counsel of Ahithophel. For the LORD had appointed to defeat the good counsel of Ahithophel, to the intent that the LORD might bring evil upon Absalom.”
Absalom was one of the poorest examples of leadership found in the Scriptures. We often look to good models of leadership to learn how to be a better leader, but rarely do we look at those who were poor leaders to gain insight on how to be a better leader. It is not that you should copy those who were poor leaders, but you can learn what not to do from their model of leadership. Absalom’s reign reveals five poor leadership qualities that should be avoided at all cost.
The first quality is to lead out of bitterness. Absalom’s whole reign and attack against his father was in response to his perception of how David dealt with Amnon. Absalom felt that David should have killed Amnon for what he had done to his sister, and because he didn’t deal with it according to his desires, he became bitter towards his dad. You cannot lead by trying to get back at someone you think was wrong. You are not to lead to correct what you perceive that previous leaders have done wrong; you are to lead with an upward view of Christ and to do what He would have you do. Bitter leadership decisions always lead to bad decisions, and it can be avoided by dealing with your bitterness.
The second quality to avoid is to lead out of pride. Absalom really thought he was a gift to the people. His long hair was his pride, and some of the ladies of Israel swooned over his beauty. You must not become a legend in your own mind if you want to be a good leader. You are not the greatest leader, and you must realize that the only thing that will help you to be the leader you are supposed to be is to lead in humility. Being honored that God would even use you will keep you from leading out of pride.
The third quality to avoid is not to make everything into your world. The “my world” leadership model destroys those you lead. Always remember that it is not your world that you lead, but it is God’s world in which He allows you to lead. A leader who has to say that it is “his world” to establish his authority is a leader who has no authority. My friend, you must never make it about you; you must always make everything you do as you lead about what Christ would want and not what you want.
The fourth quality to avoid is indecisive leadership. In the verse above, Absalom couldn’t decide what to do, so he had his men make the decision. Leaders must make tough decisions, and they can’t base their decisions on what everyone wants. If you have to take a poll every time you have to make a decision, you are nothing more than a mere puppet who will eventually compromise what you believe to appease the people.
The fifth quality of leadership to avoid is a “no rules” leadership model. Stable leadership that gives security to its followers has rules and boundaries that don’t change at your every whim. Leadership with constant change creates an insecure atmosphere that results in people doubting their past spiritual decisions. Scriptural leadership knows what it believes, and never changes it just because something else feels better. Figure out what you believe and do it. People need security, and security comes from not changing.