Making Leaders Requires Getting Your Hands Dirty

by Brad Harmon on January 31, 2011 in Leadership

Making Leaders Requires Getting Your Hands Dirty | marketplace christianity

Photo Courtesy of iStockphoto/Acik

We’ve been talking a lot about developing leaders the last several posts.  Leadership is a necessary ingredient in any organization regardless of its size.   Even if you fail to create them, leaders will naturally show up and influence your people.  Too many entrepreneurs take their chances hoping that these natural leaders will fall in line with their company’s vision and mission statements.

They roll the dice thinking they’ll simply replace those leaders who don’t conform. It’s a sink or swim mentality.  Throw leadership prospects into the managerial waters and see how they do.  Why do they do this?  Simple.  It’s easy.

As we’ll see in lesson 12 from our Entrepreneurial Lessons from Creation series, making leaders the right way requires getting your hands dirty.

God Isn’t Afraid to Get His Hands Dirty

Have you ever noticed that when God interacts with man it’s usually a messy situation?  Of all the possible ways He could have created man, God chose to play in the dirt.  Creation’s crowning achievement was it’s messiest.

And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. – Genesis 2:7

Okay, so every living thing was created out of the ground in Genesis 2; however, man is the only creature into whom God breathed life (through the nostrils too).  God got His hands even messier when it came to creating Eve.

And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. – Genesis 2:21-22

God was not content with just speaking the crowning glory of Creation into existence. He took a hands on approach.  His fingerprints were all over us.  We were too important to Him for Him not to be that involved.

Jesus Wasn’t Afraid to Get His Hands Dirty Either

Flash forward to circa 33AD, and you get a picture of God, in the form of man, still getting His hands dirty when it comes to His Creation.  While the future leaders of the church sat back, Jesus quietly prepared to get His hands dirty.

He riseth from supper, and laid aside his garments; and took a towel, and girded himself. After that he poureth water into a bason, and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded. – John 13:4-5

What was the purpose of this demonstration?

So after he had washed their feet, and had taken his garments, and was set down again, he said unto them, Know ye what I have done to you? Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you. – John 13:12-15

Not only does God think we’re too important not to be hands on, He reminds us that we need to see others that way too.  This servant leadership that Jesus modeled for the future leaders of His church requires us to get our hands dirty.

Are You Afraid to Get Your Hands Dirty?

It’s easy to sit back and let leaders naturally form in our organizations, but it’s just not how God did it (or expects us to do it).  We should see the development of future leaders as one of our top priorities.

Great leaders want their fingerprints all over those aspects that are the most vital to the success of their organization.  They don’t take a back seat or delegate them. They roll up their sleeves and get their hands dirty.

Is developing leaders in your organization a top priority?  In what ways are you getting your hands dirty demonstrating this to future leaders and your organization as a whole?

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Susan DiMickele February 11, 2011 at 6:35 pm

Truth be told, I don’t like to get my hands dirty. Leading is hard work, and most leaders I know engage in too much self protection. Jesus is a great example of this isn’t he?

Sink or swim (unfortunately) tends to be the norm.
Susan DiMickele recently posted..Do You Follow Doctor’s Orders


Brad Harmon February 14, 2011 at 8:53 am

I don’t like it either, Susan. I wish it came more natural to me to be a servant leader, but it’s a struggle. It does seem that many leaders employ the sink or swim management time. It’s easy to do, and as you point out, true leadership is hard work.
Brad Harmon recently posted..90 Day Crazy Insane Blog Promotion Challenge – Week 01


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