What are the characteristics of a good leader? Was Moses a good leader? We often take into account qualities and say, “This person was a bad leader,” but what about a good leader? Can we recognize a good leader when we see him or her? Let’s take a few minutes and look at the qualities that make a good leader and see if Moses had them.
I’m going to look at ten qualities of leadership and see if Moses displayed them. He might or he might not. You decide.
Many people claim to have integrity, but do they? Moses certainly did. He was very reluctant to go along when God asked him to lead the Israelites. He tried to get out of it several different times, and when he had a problem with the people and didn’t like the way God was handling it, he wasn’t afraid to show it. In fact, he even went so far once to ask God to take his life if He was going to do things the way it seemed. Now, that’s integrity!
It’s also humility. When Moses was trying to get out of doing what God wanted, he pointed to one of his flaws, speaking. Apparently, Moses stuttered or something, because he said he was slow of speech. Only a humble person will point out their flaws to another. Another reason to have humility is that those who are humble will not try to promote themselves. They will try to promote another person.
Moses wasn’t as good a listener as much as he was a doer. He had plenty of opportunities to listen to the people, but he just wasn’t as good at it. He tried, and that is one of the reasons we think of him as a good leader.
Along with listening goes communication. Personally, I think communication is underrated. The reason is, until you can communicate exactly what you want, you’ll never get it. You can think about it all day long, but until the words are there, you won’t get it. That is why you must be a good listener, to know what you need.
Moses was a good decision maker. Even when he was wrong, his decisions were clear. It goes along with communication, before you can communicate something, you have to have decisions made. Put another way, how can you know what to communicate unless you have made a decision about what that is? No, you have to know what you want and how to go about getting it.
Moses only knew his tactics would work, because he got them straight from God. He didn’t have it all figured out. God did. That is why I believe Moses was a good leader. Even though he didn’t have it all figured out he was able to carry out God’s plan. Moses didn’t have the confidence in the plan, God did. He knew what was going to work and what wasn’t. After all, He was God.
This is something Moses didn’t seem to have, as I read the scriptures. If he had he would have known how the Israelites felt about things in advance. He knew, but because he heard them. Then he reacted. This, I think, is less empathetic and more reactive. I think reaction is a good quality to have, but it isn’t the same as knowing how the person feels. I think this is where Moses fell a lot.
As I said before, I believe Moses reacted to the Israelites. I don’t believe he was empathetic. He would hear what they had to say, and he reacted to it. I think sometimes, just so that God would not hear them. So, Moses was a good leader from this standpoint. He reacted to the people.
Perhaps the hardest thing for a leader to do is inspire others. You have to be a natural at this and I believe Moses was. The main thing he did to inspire others was to let them see how he reacted to certain situations. He got angry, yes, but he kept his anger in check unlike when he killed the Egyptian. When Pharaoh didn’t go along with what he said, he looked for something to make Pharaoh change his mind. This was partially due, I think, to God telling him in advance that Pharaoh wouldn’t accept his ideas. That is where the next quality comes in.
This is where I think Moses excelled. He was very persuasive. He had a great deal of help from God in this regard, of course. But I think Moses was very persuasive in his own right. It was his idea, after all, to strike the rock with his staff at Meribah-Kadesh. Even though he did wrong in God’s eyes, he did what he knew would work. It didn’t make sense to him that the water would come rushing out just because he spoke to the rock, but it had worked at Horeb that the water came rushing out because he had hit it with his staff, in the past.
So, I think Moses had many of the qualities of a good leader, but not all. This fits in with most leaders, I think. Unfortunately, he didn’t have them all. Maybe he did, and I just am not reading the story right. Stranger things have happened, after all.
At any rate, God picked the right man for the job. If he had picked Aaron, for instance, I believe that Aaron might have gotten frustrated. Remember what happened when the Israelites asked Aaron for a god? Or Miriam. Miriam was the ringleader, I believe, when her and Aaron spoke up against Moses for marry