Nehemiah was not the first Israeli leader to travel to Jerusalem after the exile was lifted. Why is it that his name was recorded for all to remember when so many others are not? In the story of Nehemiah we find many important qualities of effective and lasting leadership. Here are seven:
Restoring Jerusalem was not just a job assignment to Nehemiah. He wept and prayed for the city to be restored and when granted favor to make it happen, he left no stone unturned to make the seemingly impossible task happen.
Long before he left the palace or even made his request of the King, Nehemiah had devised a plan to accomplish the monumental task.
The hero of our story relied heavily on the relationships he had forged to be an effective leader. He sought information from those that had traveled to Jerusalem and used his relationship with the king to obtain permission. He also recognized the not-so-helpful relationships of his enemies who would try to undermine his efforts and made his plans accordingly. Most important, of course, was his relationship with God who set his passion on fire and paved the way to make it happen.
It wasn’t just a wing and a prayer that made Nehemiah’s leadership effective. He knew that if he were to succeed he would need resources and lot’s of them. Not only did he rely on his relationship with the King for permission to set out on the expedition, he also requested and obtained the capital, equipment and materials necessary to be successful.
Nehemiah had heard how bad things were, but he wanted to see for himself. To make sure he understood the real story, he did not simply present himself to the leaders and ask them. He probably knew that they would likely paint the scene to make themselves look good. Instead he set out covertly and went at night to assess the situation himself.
Although Nehemiah had a clear vision of what he wanted to accomplish before he set out on his mission, he could not foresee all of the challenges he would face. He was wise enough to see and adapt to changing conditions and unknown variable. Had he not, his mission would have failed.
Nehemiah did not give up when opposition and delays rose against him. As mentioned above, he adapted as necessary but he pressed forward to success.