Testimony 160. The Truth About Leaders – Liu Yang


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“God loves reluctant leaders”, no leader volunteers to stand before God, because reluctant leaders are not easily tempted by power, pride, and ambition. They know the truth about leadership, they must sacrifice themselves, they must be broken, so if it is for their own comfort, they resolutely refuse.

A friend has participated in a training on successful learning. In one class, one person sits in the middle, and other students form a circle, criticizing a certain point of view or practice of the middleman with various negative words such as belittling, scolding, and ridiculing. It is said that this can exercise people’s “psychological endurance”. Others let practitioners go to the streets to beg, and then send the money from begging to nursing homes.

Many of the most popular books in the market are about how to be successful and how to manage. Open it and look at it, remove the superficial layer of fashionable new terms, and some hidden values ​​are as decadent as Qin Shihuang’s policy program. Those who believe that “a man should be cruel to himself” and endure the unbearable in order to succeed are just modern copies of Han Fei, Li Si, Qin Shihuang, and others who believe that human nature is evil and fanatically pursue success. The most explicit expression is Ma Yun’s sentence: When you are successful, everything you say is the truth.

From the perspective of psychoanalysis, a psychologist believes that there is often a kind of “inferiority” hidden behind such a strong motivation for success in Legalism. They are very confident on the surface, but in fact, this kind of self-confidence is just a compensatory psychology caused by their distrust of others. These people are not lacking in ability, but from a mental health point of view, they are often the most unhealthy people. The methods they use to manage the team are nothing more than the old three of “law, art, and power”-the law of rewards and punishments, the art of deception, and status and power.

Is this the truth about Chinese management and leadership?

In recent years, some high-end training often talks about Jewish wisdom. In history, there was a great Jewish leader—Moses. His life as a leader is exactly in contrast to many phenomena in Chinese culture.

Be a leader as a “nurturing father”

The “Bible’s Old Testament” records another ancient nation in the east – the outstanding leader among the Israelites, and Moses is one of the most respected. He received the mission from God to lead the men, women, and children of the entire Jewish nation to escape from Egypt, make a strategic shift, and enter the land of Canaan.

The “Bible” does not beautify the various unbearable behaviors of the compatriots he led. Whenever they encountered a little difficulty, they wanted to run back to Egypt and continue to be slaves. They ate Egyptian meat pots, cucumbers, and leeks, which tasted similar to Chinese people. And he was able to lead such a large group of “unscrupulous” subordinates, endure their complaints, forgives their offenses, and pray for God’s grace and mercy for them, not just a day or two, but forty years!

In the end, because they were irritated by their disappointment, they were forbidden by God to enter Canaan, which was close at hand.

According to the records of the Old Testament, Moses’ life was divided into three stages: the first forty years because he was adopted by the princess of the Egyptian Pharaoh and became the prince of Egypt; years as a shepherd; the last forty years as a leader leading the Israelites out of Egypt.

But behind Moses’ halo, we hear him complaining to God about his own suffering as a leader: “Why did you treat your servant so hard, why didn’t I find favor in your eyes, and put this burden of government over my people on me? Was these people my womb, was it my birth? You said to me, ‘Take them up in your arms like a foster father with a suckling child until you have sworn to give them go to the land of our ancestors’… The responsibility of managing this person is too heavy for me to bear alone. If you treat me like this, if I find favor in your eyes, please kill me immediately, and don’t let me see my own misery .”

The prayer in which Moses poured out his heart to God under extreme pressure revealed a detail, that is, God required Moses as a leader to be responsible for the lives of the led like a father, “like a nurturing father”. It can be seen that an important characteristic of a leader is to be like a mature father.

I often think, if the leaders of all major units are people who have really raised children, have seen how difficult life growth is, and as long as they work hard, they will really see the results. Wouldn’t it be possible to avoid many mistakes of eagerness for quick success and instant benefit, harsh criticism, and suppression? Woolen cloth?

But who was Moses’ father? The literature of the Israelites records only that he was a Levite named “Amram”. Because of the experience of being abandoned, his family life is incomplete and deformed. Although his biological mother was taken to the palace by the princess who adopted him to be his wet nurse, his father figure is undoubtedly missing. This negative influence is a big challenge for him to become a leader in the future.

During his forty years as a prince, Moses “learned all the knowledge of the Egyptians, and was able to speak and act.” He is also full of self-confidence, feeling that “I can” in everything, and sometimes it is obviously his own blood, and he thinks that he is doing justice for the sky and resisting the persecution of Pharaoh.

Moses originally thought that with his status and ability, if he called out from the heights, there would be crowds of people responding. But his assumption was completely wrong. When he went to mediate the disputes among his compatriots, they questioned his qualifications, “Who made you our leader and judge?” An Egyptian’s “criminal record”.

The absence of his father made him unaware that the authority of a leader, just like his father’s authority at home, needs to be established with long-term love. Propaganda, corporate culture, and promulgation of laws and regulations will not play any essential role. Before Moses established the prestige of leadership, he took it for granted that he could lead and exercise leadership by gift and blood, which naturally caused a backlash and failure was inevitable.

To be a leader is to realize your own incompetence
There is a Weibo joke on Xinhuanet: Recently, the abilities of some leaders in various places have been greatly improved: some can hold umbrellas by themselves, some can open doors by themselves, some can carry bags by themselves, some can hold water glasses by themselves, some I actually wrote the speech myself… In fact, the people’s expectations for leaders are not very high, as long as they can take care of themselves basically!

Comparing the so-called leadership in the above situation, it is not difficult to understand why God valued Moses. Although Moses’ method of seeing injustice was inappropriate, his motivation was what God valued: He saw the responsibility that he could do in the needs and mistakes of others. This is the most important quality of a leader – willingness to take responsibility and willingness to give. He never lost his sense of responsibility and courage, even when he fled to Midian and saw the seven daughters of the local priest being bullied, he still stood up to help.

Moses was exiled to Midian and made a living by herding sheep. In the second forty years of his life, God spent time and space in the wilderness to hone this self-righteous prince until he realized his own impotence-“Who am I to go to Pharaoh and destroy Israel? brought it out of Egypt?”

In order for Moses to lead others, he had to suffer through his own lack of leadership skills. He first had to deal with his own feelings of powerlessness and unwantedness, doubts that the Israelites would listen to him, and pained by his clumsy tongue.
But Moses’ self-doubt did not prevent God from giving him the task of leadership. We have found a very thought-provoking phenomenon in the history of the Jews, that is, God only chooses those who are unwilling to be leaders.

American scholar Allen De came to a wise conclusion in the book “The Faltering Leader”, “God likes reluctant leaders”. No leader volunteers to stand before God because reluctant leaders are not easily affected by The allure of power, pride, and ambition. They know the truth about leadership, they must deny themselves, and they must be broken. Therefore, if it is for their own comfort, they resolutely refuse. They don’t aspire to be bigger, better, and more, and they don’t think it’s okay to “make it happen” and ask others to bleed for their ideals.

Aiming at Moses’ impulsive and fleshly weaknesses exposed when he was young, God let him work with sheep every day, grinding him bit by bit. As for the practice of family life, I think it also helped him a lot. Perhaps he discovered that the first person to challenge his authority as a leader and test his forbearance was none other than his wife and children. If he could not lead them well, How could he lead millions of Israelites?

This was very important to Moses. On the surface, he won a marriage for himself because he saved the daughter of the priest of Midian. In fact, this family saved him, especially the father-in-law a father who provided him with the same-sex affirmation and acceptance that are necessary for the growth of a man. Moses learned to be a husband, a father, and a shepherd during this time. Later, his father-in-law also became his management consultant when he was the leader, and gave him suggestions on building a team through authorization and avoiding authoritarianism. There is a mature father figure to assist, which helps Moses avoid many detours.

Interestingly, Confucius and Mencius, the founders of Confucianism who had the greatest impact on Chinese culture, lost their father at the age of three, while Mencius lost his father at the age of two. They also lacked a father’s role model in their growth experience.

Scholar Zhu Jianjun wrote in “China’s Human Heart and Culture” that his father’s early death prevented Confucius from having the opportunity to understand that a real father always has both advantages and disadvantages. The father in fantasy can be perfect, and Confucius often dreamed of the Duke of Zhou. In the mind of the son, this father can almost be a god. Confucius then had the same fantasy about the king, hoping and believing that the king would love his subjects like a kind father loves his children.

But the best fathers are not gods, and the best leaders are also people who make mistakes. This seems to be common sense, but it is not easy for someone who grew up in a family without a father figure to understand. The disadvantage of the result is that the Confucian culture lacks an effective restraint mechanism for the possible problems of the king. Too idealistic about the “monarch father”, with too much expectation and too little precaution, causing the people of the country to be injured repeatedly.
To whom does the leader’s psychological garbage go?

In the third forty years of his life, Moses realized that no matter whether he thought he was a thorn or dross or was despised by the world or rejected by his fellow countrymen, as long as he was willing, God would add His own power to him who was weak. He knew he was relying on God, who made him a leader.

Jack Welch, the former CEO of General Electric Company in the United States, had a classic summary of what a leader is. In his view, a leader should have a vision and make the team share his vision, be full of energy and infect the passion of the whole team, and should dare to try challenging tasks and make difficult but meaningful decisions. This definition is like it was made for Moses, except that Moses’ vision came from God.
Therefore, when the Israelites fought against their enemies, Moses did not choose to take the lead but went up the mountain to call on God for the people. He correctly maintained the relationship with God, and he knew that only the power of God could help the people to win, instead of being brave and rushing into the fighting team to win the applause of the crowd for a while.

Some economists believe that there is a transactional relationship between leaders and the masses. People ceded control to their leaders and expected rewards from their leaders: when danger and persecution came, they expected the leader to be the one who could take the risk for everyone. Once they doubted their rewards, the leader would not be popular.

Therefore, whenever there is discomfort, people will resent and rebel. Moses even encountered the jealousy and slander of his relatives and assistants Aaron and Miriam, as well as the rebellion of Korah’s party. His handling was “exceedingly humble, more than any man in the world.”

By constantly turning to God, Moses poured out his inner negative feelings to God, not being infected by it, and even collapsed before God, and then returned to the people. It wasn’t that Moses was strong psychologically, but that his relationship with God enabled him to go before God at any time to unload his burden and regain his strength. Think about Jobs, he regarded the employees of the Apple empire as his “subjects”, vented his dissatisfaction at will, and spoke harshly. It is hard to expect such a man to be competent for the role of father, so I saw media reports that he could not accept himself before his death His own daughter is not surprising.

In addition, Moses was able to handle his aggressive personality well. In fact, everyone has a more or less aggressive character in their hearts. Whether a man can become a mature man or become a yes answerer often depends on whether he can handle an aggressive personality well. This kind of aggressiveness was manifested in his killing when he was young, and although he was gentle and humble afterward, he still sometimes had a violent temper.

He broke the tablets of the law, wrestled and accused God when he was talking to God, and never gave up easily. Aggression also helps him persevere in reaching his goals without giving up. Moses often climbed the mountain alone and retreated on the mountain. These exercises helped him deal with and properly use his aggressive personality and became a source of strength for God. If Moses tried to defuse his aggressiveness by constantly finding new enemies or launching new movements for the group he led, it would undoubtedly lead to disaster for the Jewish nation.

Although Moses was reused, mistakes were inevitable. He was stirred up at Kadesh by the people asking for water, and he did not sanctify God and suffered loss himself. He accepts his dark side flares up. Only those who allow themselves to make mistakes will allow others to make mistakes, truly accept others, and lead a good team. Moses paid the price of not being able to enter the Promised Land, but he never complained about why God was so strict with him. There are powerful enemies or persecutions outside, which will never be an excuse for a godly leader to let go of his own sins. Because he is the leader, a little pride in the leader will encourage the whole country to flatter.

Moses was not born to be a leader. His first attempt at leadership failed miserably and he was forced into exile for forty years, which shadowed his leadership nightmare. The good thing is that God never uses a great man, but a man who preaches a great God. In the process of co-working with God, his character was re-established, showing excellent leadership qualities and leadership skills.

The “Bible” truly records the strengths, weaknesses, and mistakes of every great figure in the history of Israel. It can be said that it is a book that records the truth about leaders. In some whitewashed cultures, the truth of the leader is the most hidden part, and people are deceived and deceived. Maybe people don’t like it, so when more than 2,000 employees from different companies were asked to list the leadership qualities they valued most, integrity and honesty ranked first, followed by competence.

Companies in the world are still like this, and faith groups should introspect themselves.