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April 2013 - Leadership Lessons from Daniel

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John A. Kline, PhD jkline@klinespeak.com
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Dr. John KlineIn the past four months we looked at leadership lessons from Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel. This month we look at Daniel—a prophet during a time of the Jews captivity in Babylon. Here are three lessons we can learn from him.

Don’t Compromise Your Beliefs and Values. Study the lives of those who both rose and fell in their leadership power, and you will find the most common reason for decline is they did not stay true to their beliefs and values. Failure of leaders in government, corporations, businesses, church, family, and in any other areas lose respect, influence, and effectiveness when they compromise their beliefs and values. Leaders must resist the urge to place power, prestige, and material possessions ahead of doing the right thing. At the time, it may seem worth it, but when my friends and associates reflect on their lives, the happy and fulfilled ones stayed true; no one says, “I am pleased that I went against what I knew was right.” At no time did Daniel compromise his beliefs and values.

Demonstrate Discernment and Discretion. Discernment is the ability to determine what is ethical and right. Discretion is what leaders demonstrate when they take the high moral road consistent with what is ethical. The result is Integrity. A leader without integrity will be a leader without dedicated followers; and those who do follow will not trust the leader and will be looking either for a way to get rid of the leader or get away from him or her. A leader must demonstrate both discernment and discretion to be a leader of integrity. Daniel 2:14-21 shows Daniel was a leader who demonstrated both.

Use Your Influence in a Positive Manner. To paraphrase the highly respected and often quoted, John Maxwell, leadership is all about influence. While this may be an overstatement or oversimplification, it is true that leaders influence others. Influence sets effective leaders apart from ineffective ones. The book of Daniel (especially such passages as 2:17-18, 49 and 3:16 ff.) attest to Daniel’s ability to influence positively.

Leaders must hold true to their beliefs and values, show discernment and discretion, and be a positive influence on the people they lead and the organizations they serve.

John Kline
Montgomery, Alabama

April 2013 - Leadership Lessons from Daniel
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