The book of Proverbs is probably the best business book ever written. It is also a primer on developing the influence of a leader.
What leader doesn’t need to be reminded of these principles from Proverbs 27?
1. “Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring forth” (Verse 1).
Leaders must speak cautionary tales. Certainly, we must deposit confidence in the future of our organization but we must do it in a way to demonstrate our total dependence on the provision of God. Strong leaders demonstrate total dependence on godly strength.
2. “Let another man praise you, and not your own mouth; a stranger, and not your own lips” (Verse 2).
The speech of a leader is full of praise of her team. She is confident, humble and smart enough to know that her success comes at the hand of God. Effective leaders are inclusive—especially when it comes to praise. “We” is a word that mobilizes a team.
3. “Open rebuke is better than secret love” (Verse 6).
Leaders must confront. I believe the word “open” as used in this proverb, refers to a condition of being open and honest with our teams. Open meetings are not the place for rebuke.
Confrontation is information. An environment of silent treatment for underperforming workers is like a petri dish full of mute bacteria. Unacknowledged damage perpetuates the spread of more damage.
4. “Iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend” (Verse 17).
Leaders make everyone they meet better. A countenance is easy to observe if we only take the time to notice. We cannot be so busy being busy that we miss the signs of distress around us. Influence is granted to a leader based on a relationship not a title.
A proverb a day keeps a leader soft as clay.
Dr. Steve Greene is the publisher and executive vice president–Media Group, Charisma Media. Sign up here for Dr. Greene’s leadership e-newsletter.