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March 2013 - Leadership Lessons from Ezekiel

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John A. Kline, PhD jkline@klinespeak.com
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Dr. John Kline

In the past three months we examined leadership lessons from the books of Isaiah and Jeremiah. This month we will look at three lessons from Ezekiel—a prophet who received visions and preached a message of hope and restoration to the Jews who had been deported to Babylon. Leaders can learn valuable lessons from Ezekiel.

Vision. It is axiomatic to say, “Leaders must have vision.” Proverbs 29:18 says without vision, the people are unrestrained; they lack focus. Without restraint and focus, people in a group or an organization may go in many different directions and fail to accomplish the mission. Ezekiel received a clear vision (Ezekiel 1:1-3). But simply having a vision is not enough. Leaders must follow through. We understand from Ezekiel 12:7 and throughout the book that bears his name, Ezekiel followed through. Leaders will not be successful without having a vision and following through with that vision.

Responsibility. Many people want the title of leader without accepting the responsibility that accompanies leadership. It is easy to take responsibility for telling followers things they wish to hear; in fact, such behavior makes the leader look good to followers. But taking responsibility for telling followers things that are good for both them and the organization—but things they don’t want to hear—is what sets apart good leaders from bad ones. Ezekiel took responsibility for warning the people against spiritual, moral and ethical decay (see Ezekiel 33:1-7 ff.). This act did not enhance Ezekiel’s popularity, but it demonstrated strong leadership, to do less would show weakness. Leaders must take responsibility.

Standing in the Gap. Leaders must stand in the gap between their own leaders and their own followers. A leader must faithfully serve his or her boss or leader, but leaders must also serve their followers. One of the most important ways leaders serve the people and the organization is by serving as a bridge or link between their boss and their followers; they must stand in the gap as Ezekiel did (22:24-31) Many people with the title of leader are unsuccessful when it comes to standing in the gap, for this task can often be difficult and uncomfortable. To be successful, leaders must be willing to stand in the gap.

Vision (and follow-through), Responsibility, and Standing in the Gap. All are important for successful leadership.

John Kline
Montgomery, Alabama

March 2013 - Leadership Lessons from Ezekiel
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