Chapter XXII Josiah (Victory)
Written by Ray Fairman   
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In our last discussion the initiating text will come from II Chronicles 34:3 - 35:19 where we are going to learn our lesson from Josiah who is remembered by most people who know about him as a triumphant leader.

Before a leader can ever achieve any degree of real success, he or she must first win his or her internal battles. Similarly the victorious leader must guide their team to victory by helping it to resolve any internal dissension or inter-personal rivalries that may exist. 

You will find that leaders who have learned and adhere to the lessons taught by victory seldom rely on using a "Plan B" although they always have one. These men are leaders who find defeat unacceptable and will continue striving for victory until they no longer possess the breath of life within them. Winning battles, we have learned, takes a team and a team requires a leader, therefore it will always be the leader who must first ensure that all the team's members have conquered themselves before asking the team to undertake and conquer any cooperative task. How can a leader do this, let's see shall we?

Any leader who seeks to become a competent leader must maintain an open and a teachable mind. Leaders who continue to learn are dynamic and will continue to grow with the times, achieve much and habitually succeed. Josiah, unlike a lot of current day 16 year olds, was willing to humble himself and sought God's ways over the arrogant ways of his father. Ouch that hurt, because I had that same tendency early on as a parent; the inclination to be a bit arrogant when dealing with my family as well. I also have found over the years that for what ever reason, leaders often treat their subordinates like they are children. I know that subordinates sometimes bring this on themselves but that doesn't always make it a good working relationship. I wonder though just how many boys growing up today realize they are blindly emulating their fathers, no matter what kind of an example they set and no matter what the cost? I can tell you after responding to domestic disputes and domestic violence complaints for nearly 40 years now that the number is far too high. The legacy we are passing along to the next generation is more of a curse than a blessing. I think that in many cases today, when a boy hears the phrase, "You're just like your father," it is not always meant as a compliment; but more likely it carries the sting of a disparaging criticism issued by a distressed and frustrated mother. In any case, every embryonic leader must realize if they are to become a great leader that unless he or she is championing the right cause and expressing his or her passion for the right reasons and in the proper manner, they will rarely return from their battles bearing the triumphant mantle of the victor.

In addition they must shed themselves of any and all personal baggage they have carried in the past that will tarnish their image or damage their character.  All leaders hang on to some form of negative baggage and as you rise and seek to claim victory in your life and organization, you must get rid of these personal unrepented sins, damaging personal behaviors, past errors in judgment and ungodly aspirations. Wherever you are in your leadership journey, you will eventually need to resolve these problems in your own lives or you will never lead a team to a final victory. In fact you will never really be a part of a team if you only consider yourself and your own desires; you can be a part of a gang or a mob yes, but a team, no.

Real winning leaders must always realize just what they need to give their followers and give it willingly. I have pointed out already that leaders must embrace personal sacrifice when necessary for the good of all and that victory does not come without someone paying a price. Think of why we are free today either as Christians or as Americans. Neither of these freedoms was achieved, nor were they secured to our posterity, without someone being willing to pay the lofty price of spilled innocent and just blood were they?

Leaders must always set the example of what they want their followers to become. At the heart of any organization is an example of what that organization's personality reflects. In other words, the leaders who are responsible for the organization's development are in fact the core of what establishes the character and subsequent worth of any organization. There is an old saying that has been proved valid more often than not that states, "As the twig grows, so grows the tree."

Leaders must possess and express a strong personal commitment toward success.  Followers who are capable of forming their own commitments before their leaders are willing or able to make their's, will routinely look for other stronger leaders to follow or other organizations to join. Remember commitment is contagious and leaders need to control and direct the commitment of their followers, not follow the commitments of their subordinates. When followers are exposed to weak commitments and weak leadership, they lose their focus, their motivation and their momentum. Doesn't that sound like a recipe for disaster!

A leader always needs to help his followers succeed in their own personal battles and homogenize them into a smoothly functioning team, which is capable of enormous victories. There are many good ways to help them succeed in this endeavor, here are just a few:

First a leader needs to know just where their followers are in regard to being ready for growth and changes to occur in their lives. Are the circumstances they are facing causing them to hurt enough to make them ready for a change? Have they learned enough from life to realize how a change will benefit them and do they want to attempt this change?

Are they capable enough to make a change take place? Answering these questions will help a leader develop his or her vision statement, which is the crux of a leader's mission planning.

Second, I also advocate praying for your people. I have shared many a combat experience with my brothers and sisters in the law enforcement and military communities including my service at home in America and in two overseas combat theaters during my 40 years in uniform.  Although I realize that not everyone has come to call upon the Lord my God for his or her salvation, I have been reminded during many a chaotic incident of something the scriptures declare to be quite accurate. The phrase, "You receive not, because you ask not," is the one that comes to mind because I have heard many a leader softly praying under their breath "God help me or Jesus save us," when things looked awful bleak and it seemed that we were in  hopeless circumstances. I might also remind you just how important a part the author Stormie Omartin thinks the Power of Prayer plays in our lives.

Third, leaders must also help their subordinates understand that both they themselves and the subordinates are human and as such are equally vulnerable to human frailties and need God's strength to make up any deficiencies that may exist in either of them. If they realize "from whence cometh your strength," They may very well seek to acquire God and his strength in their own lives.

Fourth, recognizing that humility fosters the efforts of a team, leaders of stature will insure their subordinates know they are not out to get all the glory. Good strong leaders are not only willing to share the rewards of victory, but continuously seek to find ways to recognize the efforts of all the members of their team. When the team members receive a message like this, then they too are more willing to share the spotlight with each other. A leader who advocates this approach begins building that proverbial band of brothers that is so frequently sought.

Fifth, Transparent leaders will always accept the responsibility for their shortcomings and for the shortcomings of their command. When leaders like these refuse to play the "blame game," their followers will do likewise, willingly sharing equally in the responsibility for the failure suffered or conquest achieved.

If a leader wants a winning team, that leader needs to have winning players, players as intent on achieving a victory as is their leadership. Are you the kind of leader who can stimulate the desire for victory in your subordinates? If not, when do you plan to start becoming one? Some of these folks must eventually step up and provide the continuity of leadership necessary to ensure the efficient and uninterrupted triumph of the entire organization.





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