I’m flying to Boston today to give a speech on, “Six Decisions that Create Success in Any Market!” tomorrow at a convention. It’s one of my favorite keynote topics, because it prompts leaders to look in the mirror and focus on decisions, rather than conditions. I’ll do much of the same throughout How to Lead by THE BOOK. In fact, I’ve devoted an entire chapter to the importance of leaders holding themselves, and the other leaders within their organization, more accountable in this regard. Here is an excerpt that many readers will be able to relate to:
When the leader sleeps, the team follows
Peter’s name is mentioned in the Gospels more than any other name except Jesus. He was the disciple’s leader and a member of Jesus’ inner circle along with John and James. In Mark 14: 32, Jesus and the disciples had just finished the Last Supper, sang a hymn and went out to the Mount of Olives. While there, Jesus told them that they would all be made to stumble because of Him that night. Despite Peter’s protests, Jesus predicted that Peter would deny Him three times that very evening. Thus, as they ventured into the Garden of Gethsemane, there was probably a lot on all of their minds.
Then they came to a place which was named Gethsemane; and He said to His disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” And He took Peter, James and John with Him, and He began to be troubled and deeply distressed. Then He said to them, “my soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to the death. Stay here and watch.”
He went a little farther, and fell on the ground, and prayed that if it were possible, the hour might pass from Him. And He said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for You. Take this cup away from Me; nevertheless, not what I will, but what You will.”
Then He came and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, “Simon, are you sleeping? Could you not watch one hour? Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Mark 14: 32-38.
Jesus found all three disciples sleeping. These three, who had so vehemently insisted previously that they were ready to share his sufferings and would never deny Him were so unconcerned by their Master’s sorrow and pain that they slept while He agonized and prayed. Luke’s account details that Jesus was so distressed that He sweat drops of blood—while His three key men took a nap!
Yet, when Jesus found his inner circle in slumber He did not address all three by name, only Peter. Why? Peter was the leader. Jesus expected more from him. After all, he boasted the loudest about his fidelity only a few moments prior in Mark 14:31 when he vehemently spoke the words, “If I have to die with You, I will not deny You!”
The lesson here is clear: when the leader sleeps, so does the team! If a leader catches cold, you can expect the followers to come down with pneumonia. This is precisely why leaders must be held to a higher standard than those they lead: in businesses, churches, governments and families.