I just finished reading “The Most Excellent Way To Lead” by Perry Noble. I know there’s been some controversy with Perry, but the leadership principles he’s shared are timeless, outstanding, biblical, and flat out good, and I’ll think you’ll be challenged in a great way. Here’s a synopsis of the book. Enjoy!
Leadership by love doesn’t sound sexy on the surface, but it’s the most effective—and most rewarding—way to lead in the long term. When it comes down to it, people don’t need a flashy leader who can quote inspirational lines or has the most carefully constructed vision statement or has the charisma to charm a bunch of followers. They need someone who cares enough about them to come alongside them and help them become the best version of themselves they can be.
The first thing Paul said about leadership through love is that “love is patient” (1 Corinthians 13:4). If you want to accomplish the big goals that are burning in your heart, be patient with the process and embrace the responsibilities in front of you right now instead of wishing you had something better or different. And if you want people to buy into your leadership and follow you, be patient with them.
The second thing Paul says about love-based leadership is that “love is kind” (1 Corinthians 13:4). Kindness means that we’re more concerned with who a person is becoming than what they’re doing. As leaders, we often get so hyper-focused on results that we press on at a ridiculous speed. And while we may achieve what we set out to do, we leave behind a wake of distrust because people feel used and abused rather than valued and appreciated.
The next thing Paul says about the most excellent way to lead is that “love…does not envy.” (1 Corinthians 13:4). Envy is something we need to be constantly on the lookout for and ready to yank out. If we allow it to take root in our hearts and minds it will make us—and the organizations we lead—unhealthy and unfocused.
The next excellent bit of leadership direction Paul gives is that “love…does not boast” (1 Corinthians 13:4). One of the best exercises we can do as leaders is to stop for a minute and think about how we got started. What amazing things have happened to get us to where we are? What people have taken an interest in us and given us breaks? How has God opened up doors for us to be here?
Paul’s next instruction about loving leadership is that “love…is not proud” (1 Corinthians 13:4). At a leadership talk, I once heard someone say, “One of the greatest enemies of success in our future is the success we are experiencing right now.” Pride can take root in any leader or leadership team, and if unchecked, it always leads to a downfall.
“Love…does not dishonor others” (1 Corinthians 13:4—5). If a leader doesn’t have a high regard for the people on the team, the results can be tragic. This often leads to infighting and behind-the-scenes positioning, which distracts from the goal the organization is trying to accomplish.
The next piece of leadership advice in 1 Corinthians 13 is that “love…is not self-seeking” (verses 4—5). We’re self-seeking when we pursue what’s best for us and no one else, when we lose sight of people and end up manipulating them. Leaders set the tone. And if we want honesty and transparency to dominate our culture, we have to be the ones not only to declare those things as values in our organization but also to live them out.
In his instructions on leadership, Paul says, “Love…is not easily angered” (1 Corinthians 13:4—5). Anger should not be our default emotion. Criticism is something every leader faces at some point. We can’t control what people say to us; the only thing we can control is how we will respond. The best way to prevent anger from taking over is to set up coaches in our lives, listen to what they say, and ignore everyone else.
“Love…keeps no record of wrongs” (1 Corinthians 13:4—5). When leaders seek to tear people down rather than build them up, there’s a serious problem. A call to lead is actually a call to serve, and we don’t serve people well when we scream at them or give them the silent treatment. Real leaders seek to understand why the person on their team made a particular decision and then help them comprehend a different way of thinking, if needed.
The next item in the apostle Paul’s description of leadership is that “love does not delight in evil” (1 Corinthians 13:6). Do you delight in being right all the time? Do you delight in seeing other people fail? Do you delight in pointing out others’ failures? Begin to deal rationally with the fears that plague you and build confidence based on your identity—in who God has made you to be. Security in leadership is the result of sanity in our thinking.
One of the biggest downfalls leaders face is ignoring the truth. That’s why this topic is addressed in our leadership passage: “Love...rejoices with the truth” (1 Corinthians 13:6). As leaders, we can fall into the trap of viewing people who tell us the truth as the enemy. Instead of listening to them, we may seek to punish them. Excellent leaders, however, are willing to receive the truth even when hard.
Paul’s description of an excellent leader includes these words: “Love…always protects” (1 Corinthians 13:67). Average leaders work as hard as possible to make sure they’re protected and positioned to go to the next level. Excellent leaders, however, make sure their people are protected. They do whatever it takes to put them in the best position to succeed.
“Love…always trusts” (1 Corinthians 13:6—7). Excellent leaders aren’t the ones who sign off on all the decisions; they’re the ones with the responsibility to provide solid vision, set clear standards, and allow people to execute the tasks and assignments they’ve been given in the way that seems best to them.
Hope is one of the most powerful tools available to us. Hope is what keeps us going when everyone else is ready to give up. Hope is what causes us to believe that our setbacks are merely setups for greater things than we could ever imagine. Hope is what allows a leader to stand firm when everyone else is running scared. Hope is also one of the marks of an excellent leader: “Love…always hopes” (1 Corinthians 13:6—7).
It’s not that excellent leaders never experience tough times; rather, they’re able to persevere through them. Every leader will endure hardship of some variety. I believe this is why Paul includes perseverance in his list of excellent leadership qualities: “Love…always perseveres” (1 Corinthians 13:6-7).
I hope these leadership principles will sink into your heart and mind and daily habits. Instead of approaching leadership the way the world does, with a hunger for power and self-advancement and competition, may you see that the best style of leadership is through love.
Interested in learning more? Purchase the book here: http://amzn.to/2lNYOlk