12 Keys to Leading Beyond Yourself

[Part 2 of Leading Like Moses]

(Find Part One Here)

The people are getting antsy. Moses and Jethro disappeared behind the rock for lunch about 20 minutes ago, and the impatient Israelites are wondering if they’re dead. You never know what’s going to happen with this unstable group. Even though it has only been 20 minutes, at any moment someone might start shouting, “Moses is dead, let’s make an idol!” or “We’re all going to die in this line!”

Meanwhile, Jethro and Moses are discussing leadership structures.

“How do I structure this thing without it going to pot Jeth?”

“There’s your first problem Moses.”


“You’re operating with the mindset that if you don’t manage every little detail then the entire thing will blow up.”

“Have you seen the people of this nation Jethro?”

“Sure, Moses, I understand that they’re immature, given to idolatry, weak, impatient, lustful, easily distracted, and every moment on the razor’s edge of complete destruction.  But you have to trust God. And you have to realize that they’re going to continue in this immature state unless they are individually developed and given the opportunity to mature through one-on-one leadership.”

“What’s that look like?”

“Build men my boy! You can’t tell me this entire nation doesn’t have a few guys with leadership potential who could take responsibility to direct, guide, lead, and judge the people.”

“Well, there is Joshua, Caleb, and a few others that come to mind.”

“Exactly Moses!  Start there and grow it. But you’re going to have to invest in Joshua, Caleb, and many others, constantly. You’re going to have to give them access to you unlike the access you give to anyone else. Which means, you’re going to have to limit the access that others have to your time, energy, and attention. You’re going to have to trust God’s sovereignty, and know that He’s going to take care of the community if you focus on being obedient in your responsibilities.”

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“OK, let me see if I’m following you. I need to disappear. I need to cut off access to myself. I need to ignore my voicemail, change the locks on my tent, only go out at night, and avoid people like the plague. I need to go incognito!” Moses’ eyes are beginning to brighten as he sees a way out of the death-trap known as his schedule.

“Not quite Moses. You’re going too far. If you do what you’re suggesting, you’d be neglecting your responsibility to manage what you need to, and that would limit your ability to lead in the name of “leadership.” You have to stay involved and connected relationally, and allow even more access to yourself than before, it’s just access for different people. Instead of spending 2 hours meeting the needs and hearing the problems of 7 different people who suck the life out of you and are just looking for you to hear their whining, you spend those 2 hours strategically–pouring into 1 or 2 high capacity guys who can then each spend time pouring into others. You spend those 2 hours with Joshua, and you’re multiplying yourself, not dividing yourself.”

“I’m guessing there’s something there in those last two words you used–because you said them with such emphasis Jethro.”

“Right on son.  Let me define these concepts for you:

You divide yourself when you “solve problems” for people, meeting their needs, but not helping them to grow. You multiply yourself when you invest and develop someone who will invest and develop others. When you’re just solving problems for people who aren’t going to turn around and invest in others–you’re dividing yourself.  When you are developing someone who is going to develop someone else, you are growing your influence and the capacity of others to lead exponentially.”

“So this means I’m going to have to limit the time I give to people who aren’t going to be developing others?”

“Right on again my boy. At the place you’re at right now, you really have no time to give to people who will not be growing and developing others. You’ve got to cut it off. It may seem mean, impatient, or lacking compassion–but it’s not–in reality it is strategic, intelligent, wise, and filled with compassion. You’re saving your best time and energy for people who are going to develop others at a rate as great or greater eventually as you are developing them.”

“But what about those who are immature, needy, and need someone to constantly wipe their noses?”

“By enabling them Moses, you are not allowing them to learn how to wipe their own noses. Either the snot will dry on their faces, or they’ll learn to grab a Kleenex themselves, wipe their noses, and grow up. If you allow them to suck the life out of you, you’ll die, no one will be developed, and this entire community will implode. If you stop enabling life-suckers, you will grow others, who will grow others, and eventually a responsible community will emerge where everyone has the potential to transform and mature.”

“So what do I do from here Jethro?”

“You finish your potty-break, step out in front of this rock, and tell everyone to go home to their tents. Then take a day or two to think and pray about whom to recruit into leadership and have a meeting to begin developing your core team in a few days. Set up standards for them, empower those with different capacities on different levels, and start developing the top level of leadership yourself.”

“So, right away I need to differentiate between levels of leadership? I need to set some people in authority over others? What if someone’s feelings get hurt? What if they get mad at me because they’re not all equal anymore?”

“Get over yourself Moses. When you do that you will help others to get over themselves.  When you stop worrying about everyone liking you, you will truly be able to multiply yourself, take care of your family and your own body, and invest in the right people to build this nation into a nation that can truly step into all God is leading them to.”

“Jethro, before we end this conversation, can you summarize what you just told me?  How do I set up an effective leadership structure?”

“Sure Moses…

  1. Trust God and His sovereignty; remember these are HIS people, not yours.
  2. Commit to building men, a one-on-one leadership strategy.
  3. Give access to your core leadership, unlike access you give to anyone else.
  4. Don’t disappear–realize that leadership and management are closely tied together.
  5. Lead and manage effectively by making sure you multiply rather than divide yourself.
  6. Multiplication means investing in others who will invest in others.
  7. Refuse to divide yourself: Cut off and limit relationships with those who are not showing a mature progression of growing and reproducing other leaders.
  8. Refuse to enable life-suckers who will not mature.
  9. Set up intelligent structures that grow and develop.
  10. Get over yourself: don’t treat everyone equal just because you don’t want to hurt feelings.
  11. Build a hierarchy within your structure led by people with compassion and capacity at the highest levels.
  12. Get to it!