Go Ye Therefore

Leadership Qualities: Initiative Part 2

Nehemiah Takes Lead-Nehemiah 1:4-2:8 (positive)

Nehemiah took initiative in praying for Jerusalem’s problem, in planning the rebuilding project, in persuading the people to act, and in pursuing the product they all wanted. And he did it in that order. His initiative showed great insight.

Nehemiah couldn’t imagine sitting still when he heard the walls of Jerusalem lay in shambles. He had to act. Of all the things a leader should fear, complacency ought to head the list.

But what enables good leaders to initiate? Nehemiah demonstrates that leaders know something in their heart or in their gut that prompts them to move. They don’t know everything, but they know enough to act. Nehemiah had insight in the following areas:

  1. He knew how long the project would take. Nehemiah gave King Artaxerxes a definite time period for his absence.
  2. He knew how to get there. Nehemiah asked for letters of permission to pass through the provinces beyond the river of Judah.
  3. He knew what he would need to get the job done. Nehemiah requested timbers from Asaph to make beams and gates for the wall.
  4. He knew that God’s hand was upon him. Nehemiah got all that he requested because the hand of God rested on him.

Qualities of Initiators

Nehemiah displayed the qualities that make for initiative in leaders:

  1. They know what they want. Desire is the starting point of all achievement. Nehemiah knew that he wanted that wall up.
  2. They push themselves to act. At first, Nehemiah acted alone. He pushed to get the facts that would move others.
  3. They take more risk. Nehemiah took some major risks as he got permission to go, to get wood, and to survey the job.
  4. They make more mistakes. Nehemiah wasn’t afraid to mobilize men who weren’t professional contractors or soldiers to build and fight.
  5. They go with their gut. What Nehemiah lacked in experience, he made up for with the passion of his heart.

Join me next time for Leadership Qualities: Initiative Part 3