Becoming An Extraordinary Leader


“Nehemiah: An Extraordinary Leader”

One of my favorite extraordinary leaders is Nehemiah. Nehemiah led the Jewish people to rebuild the wall of Jerusalem that had lain in shambles for seventy years. While the Jewish people had returned to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple after some fifty years of exile, they were never able to finish the wall around the temple. It was left in ruin because they faced opposition each time they attempted to complete it. No leader before Nehemiah had the clarity of vision and the influence to overcome obstacles to accomplish this monumental task.

As you read through his story, you quickly see that Nehemiah understood the complexity of the leadership task before him. He recognized that there was a problem to solve and that no one else was stepping up to solve it. As we look at Nehemiah’s actions, we see how he employed the dimensions of an extraordinary leader to lead himself and others through the complexity of the problem they faced.

He Sought Out Support (Heart)
Nehemiah knew he couldn’t do this alone. Relational leadership was essential. He needed others to help him accomplish the vision of restoring the wall. In each step of the process, Nehemiah cast vision and began recruiting help. He engaged and involved people at every level, and Scripture says, “the people worked with all their heart” (Nehemiah 4:6).

He Prayed Over It (Soul)
Nehemiah displayed spiritual leadership by praying for God to give him direction for how to proceed. Numerous times he paused to pray through the project. And these weren’t puny prayers. Nehemiah 1:4 tells us that Nehemiah wept, mourned, fasted, and prayed before the God of heaven.

He Developed a Plan (Mind)
Upon arriving in Jerusalem, Nehemiah visited the remnants of the wall and outlined a plan for rebuilding. Nehemiah’s attentiveness to the details of the process and the implications of the work for the people exemplified his awareness of strategic leadership.

He Saw the Possibility (Strength)
Nehemiah developed a personal passion for this problem, and from that passion a vision of hope for the future was born. Amidst criticism, threats on his life, grumbling from those he was seeking to help, and the difficulties of the task, Nehemiah stayed the course and displayed unwavering commitment to the vision God gave him. His selfless leadership showcased the strength of an extraordinary leader.

Questions for Reflection:
• What leadership challenges are you facing right now?
• How could you lead more purposefully from heart, soul, mind, and strength?