Go Ye Therefore

Leadership Laws: The Law of Respect Part 2

Deborah: People Follow Leaders-Judges 4:1-16

People follow those whose leadership they respect. The less skilled follow the more highly skilled. In general, followers seek those who are better leaders than themselves.

The more leadership ability a person has, the more quickly he recognizes leadership—or its lack—in others. When groups of people get together for the first time, take a look at what happens. Leaders in the group immediately take charge. They think about the direction they desire to go and whom they want to take with them. At first, individuals may make tentative moves in several directions, but after they get to know one another, it doesn’t take long for them to recognize the strongest leaders and to follow them.

Deborah’s leadership gifts commanded the respect of both men and women, even though few women in her day rose to leadership positions. Even Barak, the military commander of the northern tribes of Israel, sought her help.

Take a look at the process any leader (including Deborah) must go through, a process summarized by the word

Respect yourself and those with whom you work.

Gaining the respect of others always begins with respecting yourself and your associates. Deborah did this, and people from all over Israel came to her to settle their disputes. If you desire to win the respect of others, first demonstrate a healthy respect for yourself and for your associates.

Exceed the expectations of others.

Few observers might have expected Deborah to change the way the Israelites lived. Yet she raised the standard of living for the common person and returned the nation to peace. Leaders who earn the respect of others go the extra mile, fight to achieve victory, and take others with them.

Stand firm on your convictions.

It must have taken strong convictions for Deborah to summon Barak and command him to fight. Even when Barak doubted the campaign, she did not waver, and proved her convictions by agreeing to accompany Barak to the battle. Followers respect a leader with conviction and a willingness to join the journey.

Possessed uncommon security and maturity.

Deborah never tried to take credit for Israel’s victory, but recognized those who helped the nation win. Respected leaders don’t grab all the credit for themselves. They give as much as they can to others.

Experience personal success.

Leaders cannot help others enjoy success unless they have succeeded themselves. Deborah already had succeeded is a prophetess and a judge before she asked the people to fight.

Contribute to the success of others.

Deborah did everything right in calling the people to battle. She gave them a commander and resources they needed. She also gave them the word of the Lord that they would win. Under her guidance, “the children of Israel grew stronger and stronger against Jabin king of Canaan, until they destroyed [him]” (Judg. 4:24).

Think ahead of others.

Deborah didn’t simply tell Barak to fight; she furnished a plan for his attack. Then she accompanied Barak to the battle. The result: overwhelming victory. How could the people not respect a leader of such strategy and vision?

Join me next time for The Law of Respect Part 3