Many leaders in our world today are slowly dying under the heavy burden that leadership has brought upon them. Leading people or leading an organization is never an easy task. If anyone ever says to you “leading is the easiest thing to do in the world”, you might want to ask the person to think about it again. Taking up leadership assignment is a huge risk simply because you are either taking over from where someone else had failed woefully, or you are taking over from a successful leader. Either of the scenarios, the onus is on you to outperform your predecessor and deliver on the mandate given to you. However, this comes with a huge burden. I remember someone once said “if it is difficult to be a leader, it is far more difficult to be a respectable leader.” The burden of leadership is not easy to bear. There is an account in Numbers 11:10-15 that speaks to this. It says:
“Then Moses heard the people weeping throughout their families, everyone at the door of his tent; and the anger of the Lord was greatly aroused; Moses also was displeased. 11 So Moses said to the Lord, “Why have You afflicted Your servant? And why have I not found favor in Your sight, that You have laid the burden of all these people on me? 12 Did I conceive all these people? Did I beget them, that You should say to me, ‘Carry them in your bosom, as a guardian carries a nursing child,’ to the land which You swore to their fathers? 13 Where am I to get meat to give to all these people? For they weep all over me, saying, ‘Give us meat, that we may eat.’ 14 I am not able to bear all these people alone, because the burden is too heavy for me. 15 If You treat me like this, please kill me here and now—if I have found favor in Your sight—and do not let me see my wretchedness!”
The account we read above was the story of Moses when he was leading the children of Israel out of Egypt. When it got to a time, Moses could no longer carry the burden that his leadership had brought upon him because it was great. The demand of Moses’ leadership was becoming unbearable. It got to a time he even contemplated that God should kill him so that he could be free from the burden. But instead of God killing him, see what God said to him from verse 16-17:
16 So the Lord said to Moses: “Gather to Me seventy men of the elders of Israel, whom you know to be the elders of the people and officers over them; bring them to the tabernacle of meeting, that they may stand there with you. 17 Then I will come down and talk with you there. I will take of the Spirit that is upon you and will put the same upon them; and they shall bear the burden of the people with you, that you may not bear it yourself alone.
As leaders, we must understand that the more the organization we are leading grows, the more the responsibilities or the burdens that comes with it. The more the people we are leading grows, the greater the responsibility that comes with it. But the main focus is on how to bear the burden of leadership and this we are going to see from what God did with Moses. The Bible made it clear that God distributed the burden upon Moses on seventy other men who would share in his burden.
Now, there is something I noticed that is consistent with God. Whenever leaders cry out to him because of the enormous burden that their leadership assignment is bringing upon them, God usually responds to their heart cry. And the reason is because God does not want the burden that comes with leadership be your own end. If you read 1 Kings 19:9-10, 15-17; the Bible says:
“And there he [prophet Elijah] went into a cave, and spent the night in that place; and behold, the word of the Lord came to him, and He said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” 10 So he said, “I have been very zealous for the Lord God of hosts; for the children of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, torn down Your altars, and killed Your prophets with the sword. I alone am left; and they seek to take my life. Then the Lord said to him: “Go, return on your way to the Wilderness of Damascus; and when you arrive, anoint Hazael as king over Syria. 16 Also you shall anoint Jehu the son of Nimshi as king over Israel. And Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abel Meholah you shall anoint as prophet in your place. 17 It shall be that whoever escapes the sword of Hazael, Jehu will kill; and whoever escapes the sword of Jehu, Elisha will kill.”
Now, I love this because it showed us a classic example of how not to cave in as leaders, how not to overwhelm or overwork ourselves to the point where we are no longer able to carry out our leadership assignment. THE BEST WAY TO BEAR THE BURDEN OF LEADERSHIP IS TO SHARE IT.
Share your vision for the organization with the people who would run with it with all the passion that they have in them. Share your goals with people who would see that they get it done. Share your dreams and aspirations with those who would birth it. For example, Pharaoh had a dream; he didn’t know what to do with it until it was shared with Joseph who saw to the execution of the same dream. Have in your boat like-minded people who would be willing and ready to sail the journey of leadership with you. This is how to succeed as a leader in this new year, and I pray that the Lord would strengthen you for the assignment ahead of you in your leadership.
Thank you for the gift of your time, and I still remain your regular host on Leaderview, Abiola Obayomi. Please don’t forget to share this podcast with people within your sphere of leadership so that they can also get to learn a few things from it. Till next time on Leaderview, I want you to share your leadership burden and remain passionate that your success is inevitable in leadership. God bless you.