Those who seek my life lay their snares;
those who seek my hurt speak of ruin
and meditate treachery all day long.
But I am like a deaf man; I do not hear,
like a mute man who does not open his mouth.
I have become like a man who does not hear,
and in whose mouth are no rebukes.
But for you, O Lord, do I wait;
it is you, O Lord my God, who will answer.
Contrary to some leader’s advice, I listen to critics. I understand we have to lead with those who believe in the vision, but I always feel I can learn from everyone — even those who disagree with me. I allow those I’m supposed to lead to cast objections to my plans and open myself up for correction — and yes, sometimes it hurts.
King David seemed to lead this way. We see several instances in his life where he was open to correction and criticism. He allowed those he was leading to speak into the situation and challenge his plan in 1 Samuel 23. Totally rare in those days. In 2 Samuel 16, David appears to take being cursed by another man, a man named Shimei, like a man — like a man after God’s own heart. Kings in those days — especially with the power of David — didn’t have to allow others to correct them — especially not with such violent accusations.
As a leader, David did not shelter himself from criticism or correction.
But, there’s a reality in leadership we can’t ignore. David, a “man after God’s own heart”, must have understood it.
Leader, you will never make everyone happy.
Some of us will try. Some of us take it personal when everyone isn’t happy with us. Some of us dislike conflict more than others.
But, the truth is, some people will always disagree with the decisions you make, because they disagree with you. They can’t buy into your vision, because they haven’t bought into you as the leader. That’s natural. It’s normal. It was even true for Christ in His leadership.
We should be open to input of others — even negative input. We should build collaboration as much as possible. We should do all we can to bring people along. We should make sure what we are doing is honorable.
But, at some point we move forward. And turn a deaf ear to the naysayers.
Because — in the end, David was leading for an audience of one. That’s how a man (or woman) after God’s own heart leads.
Thank you David for that gentle reminder.
We need it. Often.