Leadership and management involve making up your mind what you need people to do to accomplish organizational objectives. Explaining to them what their job is. Describing to them what constitutes satisfactory performance. Checking to see that the work is done. Recognizing quality work. Correcting poor work. Getting rid of the ones who don’t do their work. Sometimes those tasks can be difficult, but they are required of leaders.
In 1 Samuel 15:1-23, we find an example of a management experience involving the leadership of men.
God sent Samuel to give King Saul an assignment. This assignment could also be called a “job description.”
“The Lord sent me to anoint you king over His people, over Israel. Now therefore, heed the voice of the words of the Lord. Thus says the Lord of hosts: ‘I will punish Amalek for what he did to Israel, how he ambushed him on the way when he came up from Egypt. Now go and attack Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and do not spare them. But kill both man and woman, infant and nursing child, ox and sheep, camel and donkey.’”
But Saul disobeyed.
Saul attacked the Amalekites, from Havilah all the way to Shur, which is east of Egypt. He also took Agag king of the Amalekites alive, and utterly destroyed all the people with the edge of the sword. But Saul and the people spared Agag and the best of the sheep, the oxen, the fatlings, the lambs, and all that was good, and were unwilling to utterly destroy them. But everything despised and worthless, that they utterly destroyed.
Realizing Saul hadn’t completely done the job, Samuel confronted him. But Saul lied: “Blessed are you of the Lord! I have performed the commandment of the Lord.”
That’s why you need management, because someone needs to make sure that the people in your business do their work.
That’s what Samuel did. He put Saul on the spot. “What then is this bleating of the sheep in my ears, and the lowing of the oxen which I hear?”
Saul answered with an excuse. “They have brought them from the Amalekites; for the people spared the best of the sheep and the oxen, to sacrifice to the Lord your God; and the rest we have utterly destroyed.”
Samuel ignored Saul’s reply, saying “Why then did you not obey the voice of the Lord?”
You don’t need to answer people’s excuses, simply get back to the original responsibility.
Surprisingly, Saul twisted the assignment: “But I have obeyed the voice of the Lord, and gone on the mission on which the Lord sent me, and brought back Agag king of Amalek; I have utterly destroyed the Amalekites.”
Even though Samuel didn’t have the luxury of a written job description, it’s wise to write the job description down.
Samuel didn’t back down: “Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord?”
Does the Lord delight in how hard we work? Or in how much we are sacrificing? Samuel answers that question for us: “Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed than the fat of rams”
Finally, Samuel brings the conversation to completion: “Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, He also has rejected you from being king.”
When you lead people, you’re going to experience interplay between looking at the job and looking at the performance standards of your workers. Communicate your expectations clearly and follow up to see that the job gets done.
Are you currently in a leadership role where you have not communicated clearly what it is that you want/need done? Evaluate how you can communicate the expectations more clearly and then make the necessary changes.
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This summary is from Dr. Brandt’s manuscript, The Nature of Human Nature.
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