“Just as we fully obeyed Moses, so we will obey you. Only may the Lord your God be with you as he was with Moses. Whoever rebels against your word and does not obey it, whatever you may command them, will be put to death. Only be strong and courageous.” Joshua 1:17-18
Question: What made the people so loyal to Joshua?
Where there is a clearly defined mission with clearly defined goals, the human resource needed is easily attracted. While we recognize that there are both extrinsic and intrinsic motivators that can attract people to a mission, the mission itself is a key factor. Another essential part of this mission is the leadership that drives it. Strong leadership gets the job done and engenders commitment from all the members of the team.
In situations where the baton of leadership has to change, one often finds that new leadership goes through a transition phase. In this phase, the followership watches, weights, and wonders about the capabilities of the new leadership and its capacity to steer the ship in the right direction. When leadership is seen to promote the corporate agenda, the agreed mission and not personal aggrandisement, loyalty is more easily engendered.
Loyalty is important to every leader. It makes one feel that the invested effort and energy is worthwhile. Loyalty adds grease to the leadership elbow.
Brief Case Study:
Moses, the great leader who had delivered the Israelites from bondage in Egypt, was dead; the baton had been passed on. His shoes were enormous and one cannot but assume that Joshua might have found it intimidating to fill Moses’ shoes. From the passage of scripture above, we see the people pledging their allegiance to Joshua, and I wondered: How…so soon after Moses’ passing…what did Joshua do? Those Israelites were not the easiest people to lead; even Moses had a tough time handling the job; so what happened?
As I mused over this, it became apparent. The Israelites could clearly see that Joshua’s leadership was not about a personal agenda but about continuing with the plan of God for them. This made me think about a number of leadership ideologies I had learnt previously.
While good leadership is encouraged to inject change into a system in order to demonstrate prowess, simple adjustments might work as well. It seems to me that a firm understanding of the mission of the group/organization/institution and the leadership’s drive to actualize that vision in new and interesting ways will endear the followership to the new leadership, and could make the transition phase less tedious.
Try it out:
Are you in a transition phase as a leader? Are you concerned about buying the people over? Is it possible that you’ve started off on the wrong foot and you possibly need to re-start?
• Think about the people you are leading.
• Think about the mission of the group/organization/institution. Receive understanding and clarity from the Lord, and wisdom to lead.
• Focus on achieving that mission and not primarily demonstrating your leadership prowess.
• Lead the team in an agreed direction and be innovative about the journey there.