“Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up.” Ecclesiastes 4:9,10 (ESV - Emphasis added)
Early today, while driving back from my workout at LA Fitness, I passed about 25 cyclists. They were all dressed in their coordinated suits and helmets, heading out for what I assumed was a good long ride. It’s a common sight here in Southern Orange County on a Saturday or Sunday morning. But I don’t think I have ever seen that many riding together.
As I drove past them and took a long look, this thought occurred to me: What are the chances that one of them would consistently get out and ride if they were alone? It might be hard to get motivated; get dressed; get out the door; get on the bike. I then thought of the verse above in Ecclesiastes. And I thought this surely fits. But two out riding is not as motivational, uplifting as twenty-five. Herd or group mentality boosts morale.
Then my mind switched gears again.
How hard is it for a leader going it alone?
“When Moses’ father-in-law saw all that Moses was doing for the people, he said, what is this that you are doing for the people? Why do you sit alone, and all the people stand around you from morning till evening…you and the people with you will certainly wear yourselves out, for the thing is too heavy for you. You are not able to do it alone.” Exodus 18:14-18 (ESV- Emphasis added)
Then, in verse 21 of this same chapter, Jethro encouraged Moses to build a team and give the team members decision-making responsibility.
It has been said that leadership is lonely. But it doesn’t have to be lonely if we don’t go it alone. That’s why we are taught in, Paul’s letters to Timothy and Titus, to appoint elders in every church--not elder (singular) but elders (plural.)
Nevertheless, many leaders go it alone. They carry out their responsibilities alone, make decisions alone and wrestle with issues alone.
Growing up in a culture with real heroes like Davy Crockett and Daniel Boone and celluloid heroes like John Wayne and Clint Eastwood doesn’t help any. We tend to lead independently, unilaterally and individualistically.
Not wise, not good, not healthy and not biblical!
These independent self-sufficient warriors ride into town, deal with the bad guys, whip the town into shape and then ride off into the sunset on their faithful steed. We now have the super heroes who fly instead of ride into town!
It all looks good in the movies, but it doesn’t work in the real world of leadership effectiveness and is a poor leadership philosophy.
Leaders have blind spots…weaknesses. They need other people on a team for protection, encouragement and insight. No leader possesses all of the gifts and is foolish to keep the leadership all to him/herself.
Are you leading alone? Don’t have a team? Getting worn out and tired? Are you afraid to trust others with leadership responsibility?
“You and the people with you will certainly wear yourselves out, for the thing is too heavy for you. You are not able to do it alone!”