Two Types of Leadership
2 Samuel 4:1 - 5:5
Rev. Dr. Ernest Brodie Jr.
There are two types of leadership: authoritarian and servant-shepherd. Saul was an example of authoritarian leadership. He believed in centralized power and ruled by fear and intimidation. He was tough and a dictator. After Saul’s death, Ishbosheth, his son reigned over the northern tribes for two years. He was a weak leader, and his guards beheaded him while he slept. David, who was king over only Judah, became king over all Israel and Judah. David was an example of servant-shepherd leadership.
Authoritarian Leadership - Lead by fear
• An authoritarian leader lives in fear that someone else will take over. He must knock off all of his adversaries and rivals. For 15 years, Saul attempted to end David’s life.
• An authoritarian leader fails to plan for the transition of power. This leads to organizational insecurity. For example: If a leader’s health fails, chaos and confusion happens and leads to conflicts and divisions as people compete for control.
• There is limited purpose of the organization. Since the authoritative leader is central, the mission of the organization always centers on him. When he dies, his dreams die with him, and the mission of the organization changes. It has been noted that few organizations remain faithful to their original purpose for more than 50 years. The leader is committed only to himself.
• Things get done quickly. People are afraid of an authoritarian leader.
• There is centralized power. The authoritarian leader is in charge. It is his way or the highway.
• People know who to go and talk to when there is a problem.
Servant-Shepherd Leadership - Lead by love
• Things develop slowly for a servant-shepherd leader. David ran from Saul for 15 years. He was 30 before becoming king, and he reigned seven and a half years over Judah and 33 years over all of Israel.
• It goes against human nature to share power and to sacrifice yourself on behalf of others. It is hard to let others do an imperfect job, when you know you could do it better. Christ calls us to love others and to be Christ-centered.
• A servant-shepherd leader fears being marginalized as others advance or succeed. He fears being perceived as weak or of being run over by others.
•  A servant-shepherd leader promotes others and builds them up. We are all leaders to someone in some way.  Colossians 1:9-13: “For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness; Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son.”
• Others are not seen as rivals to a servant-shepherd leader. We need to be faithful towhat God has called us.
• A servant-shepherd leader develops a plan of transition that is good for the organization and for others. He leads by love and example and is willing to distribute the responsibilities. Colossians 2:7: “Rooted and built up in Him, and established in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.”
• A servant-shepherd leader is sure organizational purposes will continue and that the organization is faithful to its founding principles.
• Integrity and character are maintained by a servant-shepherd leader. He builds others up. This is important everywhere: church, home, business, government, and personal relationships.
God has called us to be leaders. It is important how we lead. May we be faithful to God and exercise servant-shepherd leadership by caring for others and making a difference their lives.