Summary: You will be tested and how you lead in times of crisis is the real evaluation of your leadership
Leading in times of crisis Daniel 2
I thought it my duty to serve on the WG School board. My children would be schooled there and I have an investment in the community that is multigenerational, so I put my name in the hat and ran and eventually served for 5 years on the board.
Nothing really happened for the first four years and then just before I was elected school board president everything fell apart. Our superintendent of schools was under tremendous pressure from the community to resign, the administration was leaderless; the school was in real trouble. At many of the board meetings TV crews were on hand to report the trouble.
When all the smoke cleared, the political wounds healed and the emotional trauma was sorted out we had a new administration in place and within a few years the school district was in the best shape it had ever been on several levels. We weathered the storm and turned things around. This was one of my first lessons in crisis leadership.
Another experience that taught me about crisis leadership was when I was called as pastor of a church that had been without singular leadership for a generation and every man Jack in the area had rushed to fill the power vacuum. I told them after moderating a couple of their business meetings that I would wear a referee shirt and blow a whistle at the rest of their business meetings.
I learned a lot about leadership during those times of crisis.
Crisis leadership requires our best kind of leadership and only in these times of stress do we develop into the complete leader that God has destined each of us to become.
In our story today Daniel is in one of those difficult situations and his leadership ability is a model for us to learn from.
Nebuchadnezzar had a troubling dream and it scared him. He called all the advisors together for a meeting. He demanded they interpret the dream for him and that they do it not knowing what the dream was. He added to their situation by warning them that if they didn’t come up with an interpretation he was going to kill the lot.
Well as they scattered to their respective places the word spread in the advisory community that a red alert—code blue was in effect.
Daniel was a remnant member of the advisor community and would be swept up in the net for execution if no interpretation was forthcoming. Daniel conferred with his three Hebrew associates encouraging them to prayer. Daniel then waited for God to reveal the dream and save the lives of the advisors.
God answered his prayer, gave him a replay of the dream and the interpretation. He went to the king with the interpretation and averted disaster.
Burden: Life free from testing is not part of the human condition. You will be tested and how you lead in times of crisis is the real evaluation of your leadership
Basic Truth: It takes a real life crisis to test your leadership
Burning Question What should faithful leaders do in times of crisis?
Seek to understand before being understood 14-15
14When Arioch, the commander of the king’s guard, had gone out to put to death the wise men of Babylon, Daniel spoke to him with wisdom and tact. 15He asked the king’s officer, “Why did the king issue such a harsh decree?” Arioch then explained the matter to Daniel.
A lesser leader would have been primarily concerned at the unfairness of this situation. Not Daniel. He turned his entire attention to listening and understanding. Daniel did not allow his personality or his safety to be his biggest concern. He sought to understand the situation above all.
Leaders who lead through crises focus on one thing at a time. There will be time later to be understood.
Sea captains are known as strong leaders. When in battle on the sea or with the sea they make decisions based on their experience, training and intuition. They care little for understanding, they demand action. They know time will judge their careers by the ships that they did not loose and the battles they win. They will explain things later.
John Wayne said in the movie The Undefeated after he had been questioned by some young soldier, “I’ve done more explaining to you than I have in a long time.” In the movie he was used to leading and not explaining.
#1. There will be times when you will be misunderstood as you lead. Being second guessed is part of the job description of a leader.
#2. When you lead in crisis turn your focus completely to understanding the problem.
TS: You will not always be understood as you lead, but that is not why you lead.