Leaders Should Learn To Say No

When looking for a book on leadership, an average person may not think about the bible as a good resource but for a person that diligently seeks the heart of God thru His word may know that the most captivating book that speaks about good leadership and governance is Nehemiah, the 16th book of the Christian Bible.

Nehemiah is a good leader. He plans well and dramatizes those plans into action. But what I loved most about him is that he knows that the first step for any endeavor is to touch first the heart of God thru prayer. Through an intimate relationship with God that he acquired wisdom and his full dependent and trust to God developed in him the courage required for any leader. With the help of God that he accomplished so many things, even things that are so unbelievable that any ordinary person may find it hard to achieve.

But another characteristic of Nehemiah that stuns me a lot is his ability to say “NO!”. Nehemiah 6:2-3 says, Sanballat and Geshem sent me this message: “Come, let us meet together in one of the villages on the plain of Ono.” But they were scheming to harm me; so I sent messengers to them with this reply: “I am carrying on a great project and cannot go down. Why should the work stop while I leave it and go down to you?” As an effective leader, we should know when exactly we should say “Yes and No”. Of course, all activities in the church (even in the secular world) are good but we should realize that all of those require our time, attention and energy and the truth of the matter is sometimes we may get burnt out and exhausted – this is a threat even to our quiet time to God.

The power to say “No!” is a great characteristic that every leader should possess. As a leader, we should have a critical discernment on the things we are to commit ourselves to. Failure to set priorities on things we are responsible for may lead us to our downfall as every commitments we have may eat much of our time and energy.


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