Chapter XVI Moses and Joshua (Replication)
Written by Ray Fairman   

As we venture into Numbers 27:18-23 we will be learning from the lives of Moses and Joshua, who I sometimes classify as mentoring leaders, a leadership lesson about leaders who train others to become leaders.

I am sure you have heard that old cliché "It takes one to know one!" You can hear that phrase screamed by kids on playgrounds all over the English-speaking world. Or how about the saying "You've seen one you've seen them all." Moses realized something we have already mentioned but it deserves to be repeated often, especially to leaders who are "legends in their own minds." Moses' realization was that he like all leaders, both good and bad, would not live forever and a new leader would eventually be required to take his place. He also knew that if he wanted that new leader to carry on the vision and work God had given him, he needed to find and train a leader after his own heart. The leader to be he began training was Joshua.

For simplicity's sake we will call this action the "Principle of Replication." For a person's vision and leadership to continue into the next generation they must be willingly passed along and willingly received. Moses seamlessly passed along his leadership responsibilities to Joshua during the many years they spent together. He did not just drop these responsibilities on him all at once. Instead Moses gradually, as Joshua matured and was deemed ready, added to and allowed Joshua to exercise and develop new and additional responsibilities using his own leadership style while still studying under his supervision.

Moses began by "Empowering" and vesting some of his own "Authority" in Joshua.  He did this with a public commissioning and by publicly displaying his own acceptance, approval and recognition of Joshua and his leadership. Moses knew that after receiving this public expression of faith, nobody would question the fact that Joshua was one of Moses' leaders. When you publicly display the courage to vest your own authority in others commensurate with the responsibilities you delegate to them, you express the same level of faith and trust in those future leaders that Moses showed when he did the same with Joshua and likewise you will reinforce their image in the eyes of those they also lead. Once you empower them, you need to move to the background and let them lead. Remain close at hand for the times they will need your advice and support, but, let them lead while you are still around to help them when they falter or outright fail. Never forget that we never really learn from success since we apparently already knew how to accomplish the task. But, we should always learn from our failures. Therefore you must follow the failure of your subordinate leaders with evaluation, instruction, exhortation and an expression of your continued support. Isn't this the technique we use to raise our children? We allow them to slowly extend their wings until they are capable of flying on their own.

As Joshua matured and gained experience as a leader, Moses looked for opportunities for Joshua to apply what he had learned. Moses did not merely allow Joshua to watch, he allowed him to participate in the leading of Israel in order to experience all the facets of being a leader, both the anticipated highs and the inevitable lows. Joshua performed duties as a military commander, a spy and as Moses personal assistant during the developmental stages of his career. Most of all he was a wise, honest, loyal and qualified follower who learned to be a leader.

During his training, encouragement and affirmation were never far away. Moses allowed Joshua to learn by maintaining a close contact, sharing his time and not allowing him to be unduly criticized for mistakes either of them might make. He did this while still allowing, in fact even soliciting, Joshua to exercise his own independent judgment and developing style of leadership. By providing the appropriate encouragement as needed and validating his confidence in Joshua as the future leader of the Israelites, Moses fostered a relationship with him that provided for the continuity of leadership that would be needed to further God's plan.

Joshua is a great example of any "future generation" of leaders in that while he may have had a modicum of confidence, he still needed maturing. So let's take a look at what the future leader really needs to accomplish in order to be prepared to lead.

From themselves they will need Conviction, Courage (both physical and moral) and Obedience since these are the cornerstones of a good leader's character. These they will need to find them within themselves and they will come readily by maintaining their faith in God.

Their mentor will need to equip them like a parent equips a child, so I'll drop the word "PARENT" on you as another acronym that might help point you toward just what I think it takes to form a good mentor-subordinate relationship.

The "P" stands for Purpose. This refers to the mentor leader's vision for the future. It stands to reason that if you want some one to carry your dream on, you will have to share it with them clearly and help them categorize that vision as their own. If you are not able to make that connection, your dream will grow old and die along with you.

The "A" stands for Assessment. Honest and supportive evaluations are always required for anyone to experience growth. Honest feedback does not always have to take on the vile image of criticism. There is a saying I learned a long time ago in the Marine Corps that still bears a lot of truth. I have seen it validated time and time again during my lifetime. It is short and to the point and goes like this, "Any Fool can criticize and most fools do!" Evaluations and honest assessments are essential to any leader's growth and should always be provided with appropriate compassion since they are in reality both the fruits of experience and knowledge and the seeds of wisdom. Your subordinates, like your children, are depending on you for the legacy your Knowledge and Experience (Wisdom) will provide.

The "R" stands for Relationship. Relationships are the glues that bond us all together. You and those you lead will never be truly successful with out a strong personal relationship. The greater the challenges you face together the greater the growth and strength of the future leader. The relationship you develop will also directly affect the degree of joint ownership that emerges regarding the vision you desire to pass along.

The "E" stands for Encouragement. Encouragement is a remarkable weapon against defeat; it may be the only thing you have to instill perseverance in a future leader. Use it wisely and frequently but not inappropriately. Commending undeservingly reduces the stature of the giver and reinforces the inappropriate actions of the receiver while it disheartens the morale of the observers. Still, in the hour of failure never forget that the only person who never makes a mistake is a person who never takes a risk and that means that they are person who never goes anywhere or grows in value.

The "N" stands for Navigation. This is a hands on skill. Never forget that while you are mentoring a subordinate in the fine art of navigation, you are still the navigator, directing everyone toward the final destination. Arriving at the targeted destination is always your responsibility as long as you are the primary leader. The U.S. Navy has a saying that goes something like this, "Anyone can steer a ship, but it takes a navigator to plot the course." I guarantee you, you will find no shortage of folks willing to steer your ship, but far fewer who are qualified to navigate. If you fail to instruct others in the requirements and skills necessary to do your job, and lead, then both the leadership and future of your dream will flounder on the rocks and shoals of life.

Last but not least, the "T" stands for Training. Everyone needs help in developing the skills sets and tools they will need to use in life. Teach them with the same compassion and understanding that Parents display when teaching their children. Exercise good judgment, a finely honed sense of timing mixed with patience, perspective and a positive attitude. When it is necessary to apply discipline, remember that the definition of that word means "training" not "punishment."

It is really from God, that the future leader must find validation for the vision with which they are endowed.  As these leaders grow and develop their own visions, so too will your vision evolve through them. However, it may grow even stronger after you are merely a footnote in history and as it develops a life of its own it will eventually cease being your vision and become one that God has placed on the heart of a new leader.

Finally from those they serve, the emerging leader needs support. Without the support of those we serve neither we nor any leader we train will ever "amount to a hill of beans". No man is an Island the maxim goes, but we all are actors on the world's stage and we all have a part to play and that includes those being served. For you see it is into those masses, our new leader will also delve to find the next generations leaders. One final thought to you leaders, without loyal followers there is no...absolutely no need for leaders.

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