Daniel, Chapter 5, Verse 19
Because he made him so great, the nations and peoples of every language dreaded and feared him. Whomever he willed, he would kill or let live; whomever he willed, he would exalt or humble.
The “He” we are talking about is King Nebuchadnezzar. Daniel here explains to Nebuchadnezzar’s grandson that "the Most High God" gave Nebuchadnezzar power and greatness, which allowed him to do whatever he wanted as king. But God proved to Nebuchadnezzar that only God was really in charge, by making him live in the wild with the animals for seven years and forcing Nebuchadnezzar to acknowledge God. Yet, says Daniel, Belshazzar failed to learn the same lesson and become humble.
Only humble leaders can be secure in their own power.
The Law of Empowerment says that only secure leaders give power to others. But what does it mean to be secure? Using the analogy of personal finance, let’s look at what’s missing from the lives of insecure leaders. This will help us better understand where security comes from and why it matters. Paupers, debtors, and hoarders lack the real or perceived financial security necessary to give generously to others. Paupers have no source of income aside from the financial assistance they receive from someone else. Penniless and dependent, they’re clearly unable to help others financially. Leaders without purpose are like paupers. They have no passion, low energy, and little drive to grow in influence. Usually, their only source of power is the position they have been given by somebody else. In terms of personal authority, they’re impoverished. Debtors may have nice salaries, but their expenses exceed their income. They’ve maxed out credit cards and taken out hefty loans. Consequently, they’re stuck paying exorbitant interest rates on the amounts they have borrowed. In an upside-down financial situation, they’re in no position to give generously to others. Leaders without authenticity are like debtors. Someone deeply in debt may appear wealthy, even though they’re secretly on the verge of bankruptcy. The closer you inspect their life, the more signs of dysfunction you see. Similarly, inauthentic leaders may seem to have all the tools to lead with excellence. However, they are missing the crucial component of moral authority. They do not practice the values they preach, and they prefer to keep others at arm’s length to hide their shortcomings. Hoarders are sitting on a pile of wealth, but they think only of protecting it rather than of sharing it with others. They have the plentiful resources but are unwilling to part with them. Leaders without humility resemble hoarders. Having put their talents to work, they enjoy a significant amount of power. However, they’re worried about others taking it from them or gaining more of it than they have. So, instead of using their influence to empower others, they keep it for their own benefit. As leaders, we can only lift others up when we’re standing on a firm foundation. Purpose, authenticity, and humility give us a secure, stable base from which to lead. Purpose is the answer to the question: why do you want to lead? The best leaders have a purpose that is greater than they are. Their “why” involves more than accumulating money or seeking self-actualization. They see leadership as a calling rather than a career, relishing the opportunity to use their unique talents to accomplish something significant that will outlive them. Authenticity means being comfortable in your own skin. Authentic leaders have self-awareness, self-respect, self-confidence, and emotional maturity. They prize integrity above image, and they seek to build trust with others on the basis of their personal character. Humility is often wrongly associated depreciating and downgrading ourselves. However, true humility flows out of gratitude and comes when we credit God for our blessings and others for our successes. As Rick Warren teaches, a humble leader doesn’t deny his strengths; he’s simply honest about his limitations. Humble leaders feel no need to trumpet their status, are unthreatened by criticism, and revel in the accomplishments of others. They put their pride aside so that others have room to shine.