A good leader must be flexible

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Tue, 20 Oct 2015 Source: Dag Heward-Mills

The Art of Leadership

A leader who is not flexible can easily be replaced. If you are flexible you will become the most important person to your superior. Things are always changing. What is valuable today may not be valuable tomorrow and what is done today may not be done tomorrow. If you cannot change and change quickly, you will become useless and irrelevant with time.

Flexibility is your ability to change readily to meet new circumstances. To be flexible, you need agility, responsiveness, resilience and adaptability. Flexibility is used to reduce your vulnerability.

I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: everywhere and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.

I CAN DO ALL THINGS through Christ which strengtheneth me.

Philippians 4:12-13

Vashti Lost Her Ministry through Inflexibility

On the seventh day, when the heart of the king was merry with wine, he commanded Mehuman, Biztha, Harbona, Bigtha, and Abagtha, Zethar, and Carcas, the seven chamberlains that served in the presence of Ahasuerus the king, to bring Vashti the queen before the king with the crown royal, to shew the people and the princes her beauty: for she was fair to look on.

But the QUEEN VASHTI REFUSED TO COME AT THE KING’S COMMANDMENT by his chamberlains: therefore was the king very wroth, and his anger burned in him.

Esther 1:10-12

Vashti, the queen, was inflexible, unbendable and unyielding. She lost her position as the queen and was replaced by a more flexible person. These are serious lessons that we learn from history. Could it be that you will lose your position as leader because of inflexibility? Are you inflexible in your attitude towards technology and administration?

Napoleon was Successful Because of His Flexibility

Napoleon went to war against the Prussians who had a great history as descendants of Frederick the Great. They had not developed any new methods of war. Indeed, they were known to be very rigid. To them, success in war depended on organisation and discipline. Prussian soldiers drilled endlessly until they could perform elaborate manoeuvres as precisely as machines. Prussian generals studied the victories of Frederick the Great and, to them, war was a mathematical affair.

Napoleon on the other hand, was a young and brilliant commander who was flexible and willing to do things that had never been done before.

In 1806, the Prussians, commanded by General Hohenlohe fought against Napoleon and were soundly defeated. The Prussian generals were old men who were rooted in the traditions and victories of Frederick the Great. Instead of responding to present circumstances, they were bent on repeating formulas that had worked in the past. But young Napoleon was full of innovative strategies and moved with speed and fluidity.

The Prussian soldiers marched on an open plain with perfect parade order, drums beating and magnificent precision. Young Napoleon’s men on the other hand, fought from behind gardens and from rooftops. They attacked as if from nowhere, and without a specific formation. Unlike the Prussians, they did not have a disciplined oblique formation. Like demons, they rushed forward from all sides, threatening to surround the Prussians. In a short while, the battle was over and the general ordered a retreat.

You see, flexibility is important. God is raising up His servants who are like young Napoleons. Men who do not have much respect or even knowledge of traditional ways of doing things! Every war is different and every battle is different. You cannot assume that what worked before will work today. You must be led by the Spirit of God to do exactly what He wants you to do for today. Do not be rooted in the past; be rooted in the Holy Spirit! Repetition must not replace the Holy Spirit’s creativity.

One day, a cat went out hunting on the farm and caught a bat. The bat pleaded for its life but the big farm cat would not listen. The cat explained to the bat that birds were natural enemies of the cat and that is why he the cat would eat the bird. The bat began wailing and explained to the cat that it was not a bird but actually a mouse. Upon believing that the bat was not a bird the cat released the bat to go free.

Unfortunately, the same bat was caught by another farm cat, later that night. The bat pleaded for its life but the second cat would have none of it because he said he detested mice and was happy to kill a mouse. The bat began wailing and explained to the cat that he was not a mouse but a bat.

Eventually, the second farm cat became convinced that he was not a mouse but a bat and decided to set him free. This bat was cleverer than many of us today. Many think that the strategy that worked yesterday must work today.

On the first occasion, the bat escaped by claiming to be a mouse and on the second occasion, he escaped by claiming to be a bat! On two different occasions, two different strategies worked. Flexibility is preferred to rigidity! Be flexible, and you will win your wars!


Columnist: Dag Heward-Mills