“When the righteous increase, the people rejoice, but when the wicked rule, the people groan.” Proverbs 29:2
This Proverb does not only apply to government. This could very well apply to any leader. You could be a parent, a supervisor, a manager, a pastor, or even a baby-sitter; if you are responsible for anyone, then you are a leader. If you want to know if you’re a good leader just listen to the people you lead. Are they groaning or are they rejoicing?
Depending on that answer you may need to evaluate your leadership. Proverbs 29 is full of great advice to leaders. The following is a summary of the things a leader needs to be based on the advice given in Proverbs 29.
1. Just (v.4) – a leader must seek what is fair for all, and not require more than is necessary from those he/she leads.
2. Upright (v.6) – a leader must have good character and integrity or else he/she will be ensnared by their own crookedness.
3. Compassionate (v.7) – a leader must be concerned for those who are struggling and know how to help them.
4. Wise (v.8) – a leader must know how to handle opposition and the issues and quarrels of those he/she leads.
5. Patient (v.11) – a leader must learn how to control his/her own frustrations and speak and act from consideration rather than impulse.
6. Firm (vs.15-17) – a leader must be quick to administer proper discipline to those who need it, lest his/her followers lose the fear of consequence.
7. Driven (v.18) – a leader must provide good vision and direction for those he/she leads, otherwise people lose their sense of purpose and, therefore, stop cooperating.
8. Humble (v.23) – a leader must see himself/herself as a servant of the people he/she leads. History has proven that people do not tolerate a tyrant.
9. Brave/God-fearing (v.25) – a leader must have the courage to do what is right in spite of what others may say or expect.
These are the characteristics laid out in Proverbs 29 for a good leader. Therefore, each day, use this list to evaluate yourself. There will be times that people groan, not because of your leadership, but because of their own lack of character. However, do not immediately assume they are in the wrong if they are complaining or groaning. A leader must always first evaluate himself/herself, make any necessary changes to attitude or policy, and then see if the problem continues.
Therefore, to all you leaders out there, take time each day to evaluate your leadership. The quickest (but sometimes most difficult) way to do so is – listen to the people.