In my new book, Learning from the Giants, I write about what it would be like to spend time with several giants of the faith, to ask them questions and hear them share the lessons they learned from their life experiences.
The following is an excerpt from my chapter on Job, whose full story is in the Bible’s Book of Job. Here I discuss three important leadership lessons that we can learn from this great Biblical individual.
We often think of Job as the person who suffered or the rich man who lost it all and gained it back. But he was a leader. He must have had hundreds of servants working for him to care for those thousands of animals and everything that went with them. It would be like running a major corporation today. You don’t succeed at that level without leadership. Yet the lessons I think we can learn from him are not in the nuts and bolts of leadership. The lessons come from the inside, from his character:
Good Leaders Don’t Allow Their Emotions to Dictate Their Decisions
If Job had given in to his emotions, he might have given up. He could have followed the hollow advice of his friends, even though he knew it was wrong, or he could have listened to his wife: he could have cursed God and taken his own life. But he didn’t.
Like all good leaders, he did what was right, and then hoped to feel good about it later. He didn’t do what felt good and hope it turned out right. When life and leadership get hard, we need to follow Job’s example.
Good Leaders Know Outside Reputation Should Never Be Greater Than Inside Character
Who people think we are will not sustain us and keep us going when pressures and trials come upon us. Reputation is like a shadow. It has no substance. What will help us to stand up to the press is what we are on the inside. It will determine how we handle the outside.
Only God saw the inside of Job, so He knew Job would be faithful when he was tested. If we want to be faithful too, we need to keep growing on the inside.
Good Leaders Realize That Victory Does Not Come Quickly or Easily
It may seem an obvious thing to say, but the best things in life aren’t fast, cheap, or easy. We know this intuitively. We know we have to be patient and work hard. Yet somehow we keep forgetting it, and we hope for victory to come at no cost. It just doesn’t happen.
When we forget this truth, we should think of Job. His apparent defeat was crushing and looked impossible to overcome, yet in the end he still achieved victory with God as his helper. When we have God, we are always still in the game. That is the big picture.