Another key to David’s effectiveness as a leader was that he didn’t try to lead by himself. Regardless of your task, to be an effective leader (as a parent, a homemaker, a businessperson, an employee, or in any other capacity), you must remember that you cannot do it alone.
I once heard a minister say, “There isn’t a single person in the world who can make a pencil.” He continued this thought by examining what goes into the manufacturing of a pencil. He explained that the wood has to come from a tree that was cut by a lumberjack. The graphite has to be mined by miners in South America. The rubber for the eraser comes from a rubber tree on a Malaysian rubber plantation. It’s true; it takes a countless number of people to make just one pencil.
To succeed as leaders, therefore, we need to recognize the necessity of having others of like mind working alongside us, sharing our vision and working toward a common goal.
CHOOSE THE WEAKEST ENEMY FIRST
In Second Samuel 8:1-3 we see that David was a warrior with a plan. David’s strategy was to attack one enemy at a time. The first enemies he chose were those he had already defeated. Why did he choose the weakest enemy first? He did so because this would allow him to gain some victories for his team, and such victories would build the people’s confidence. David always endeavored to instill confidence in his team by allowing them to be a part of his battles and by letting them share in his victories.
In our hometown, our high school always has a homecoming game to start off the football season. They have never lost their homecoming games. I once asked my son, “Why has your school never lost a homecoming game?” He was quick to respond, “It’s because they always schedule the homecoming games to be with schools they know they can beat.” No one wants to start off a sports season with a loss. The job of the coach is to build confidence and enthusiasm in his team for future wins. David’s strategy was much the same. He defeated the weakest enemies first, then he conquered those who were closest to Israel. Winning over those who are nearest to you is a necessity.
PUTTING THE INTERESTS OF OTHERS FIRST
Establishing military posts is a necessary strategy, as well. You need to monitor those you conquer and win to your side. I have seen pastors attacked and nearly destroyed by those they counted as their closest friends. In effect, David is saying, “Don’t assume that those you have allowed to be near you will always be or stay on your side.” David continued to win the loyalty of those around him by putting their interests first.
“So David reigned over all Israel; and David administered judgment and justice to all his people” (2 Sam. 8:15 NKJV).
He made sure the interests of the people were taken care of. The reason why it is sometimes hard for leaders to put other people first may be insecurity, ego, or pride. Sometimes a leader is so goal-oriented that he or she just wants to get the job done. Some leaders feel they are placed in the positions they hold in order to be served instead of being a servant. But David was a man who empowered others to become what God had called them to be. Each of David’s men built a name for themselves while helping David achieve his own goals and fulfill the anointing on his life. I would say that David was not an insecure man.
Rather, he was willing to let his leaders become what God had called them to be. This, in turn, added to his position and prestige. He was not afraid to delegate responsibilities to others. David faced the challenge of conquering Jerusalem. He looked for ways to take the city. Therefore, he challenged his men by making a promise: he told them that the man who would find a way to take the walls of the city would become the leader of his armies.
LEADING BY EXAMPLE
Delegation is just a theory before it is put into practice. You need to recognize the ability of others as you build your team. One leadership principle I have heard over and over again is: “Those who are closest to me determine the level of my success.” Why were the men on David’s team so committed to him? It was because David led by example. He was a fearless man. As a boy he had faced a bear and a lion, and, according to his own testimony, he killed both of them. Then, as a young man, he faced Goliath, a 9-foot-tall Philistine warrior, in front of all Israel’s fighting men, and David won! He inspired men of courage. I believe he would have even inspired men without courage to stand and wage war. David was not afraid to involve himself alongside those he led.
In a very real sense David lived and led according to the following statement: “WE TEACH THEM WHAT WE KNOW, WE REPRODUCE WHAT WE ARE!”
-Attitudes of great leaders (Bringing down the giants in your life)