“Now Moses was a humble man, more humble than anyone else on the face of the earth.”
Moses’ humility stands out because humility is often absent in people. The propensity for envy and jealousy is within all of us, even the best of us. Wise leaders are aware of this and so do two things.
Firstly, they ensure that people are given honour and opportunity. There is, within all of us, a desire for affirmation and the chance to shine. Knowing this, wise leaders find ways to give people their moment in the sun, meeting their natural need for affirmation before it is transformed into envy or something worse.
Wise leaders also recognise that not everyone is humble. Julius Caesar had his Cassius, Duncan had his Mcbeth and Moses had his Korah. In any group, there is a potential troublemaker, driven by a sense of injury (real or imagined) to his self-esteem. Such people are often a leader’s deadliest enemies and can do enormous damage to the group.
There is no guaranteed way to avoid the politics of envy but there are ways of mitigating it. When you study the leadership of Moses you find that he did six things to protect people from their own propensity for pride.
(1) He honored everyone equally
(2) He paid attention to disaffected groups
(3) He gave everyone a moment in the limelight – even if only in a ceremonial way
(4) He set a personal example of humility, making it clear that leadership was about service, not status
(5) He found ways to help people with a particular passion express that passion in a way that benefited the whole group
(6) He created opportunities for everyone to contribute
If you are involved in any kind of leadership – at work, in a community or sporting organization, within the church – you will be managing egos. A smart leader does a few practical things to help people get along.