My last post talked about the communication skills we can learn from Queen Esther in the Bible. Today I want to focus on her leadership skills. Wouldn’t we all want this said of us, that perhaps you “achieved royal status for such a time as this.” You, uniquely gifted, were put here for this purpose to achieve significance. For Esther to achieve those things, she had to be equipped.
Give credit where it’s due. Mordecai discovered a plot against the king and let Esther know. The Bible says that Esther told the king on Mordecai’s behalf. She could have just walked in there, told the king there was a plot against his life, and never let him know how she came across this information. As a manager, has your team ever come up with a solution to an issue, and you walked into your boss’ office and told him the solution? Next time, make sure and let your boss know where the solution came from. If your team looks good, you look good.
Challenge ideas. When genocide threatened the Jews, Mordecai told Esther that she needs to go to the king (at the risk of death). Esther questioned that course of action appropriately, reminding Mordecai what was at stake. Fortunately, she took Mordecai’s advice when he showed her the bigger picture. My point is, if it’s a good idea, it will stand up to being challenged, so don’t be afraid to ask questions and flesh through the idea more before automatically accepting it. Critically thinking has saved many companies.
Intelligent disobedience. Esther chose to break the king’s command and to seek his audience without prior approval. She broke the rule because something bigger was at stake. I recently had the pleasure of listening to an F-14 pilot talking about a time when a plane was trying to land on the flight deck in the dark during a storm. The pilot was instructed to do one thing but chose to do another. At the end of the clip, she asked us if the pilot had done the right thing. Most people would say, “No.” In the military there is a chain of command, and you follow orders. She pointed out that he had a different perspective that made it necessary for him to take a different course of action.
Gain buy-in. Before Esther went to see the king, she asked Mordecai to gather their people and have them fast and pray for her. A united team gives strength to a cause. If you knew you had hundreds of thousands of people behind you, what would you be brave enough to do?Recognize and Celebrate. When Haman was defeated and the Jews saved, there was a celebration. Not only that, Esther established the holiday Purim, and the Jews were to remember what they were saved from every year. When we stop to recognize contributions and celebrate successes, it motivates us to achieve the next thing. It is also a reminder of what went right, and hopefully we can replicate that in future issues.