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Five Leadership Lessons from the Book of Esther

Margaret Olatunbosun, Editorial & Social Media Intern

 

Lately, female leaders inspire me. I’m taking about women who have swarm against tides, have struggled to hold their own among their peers, and are seen as a voice of authority in their respective niches. I wanted that too so I picked several books and began to study some leadership gurus.

Now, because of my interest in team dynamics and the perception of females in leadership position, I settled into the book of Esther in no time. And interestingly, this proved to be one of the best decisions I made in recent times as I began to take notes on leadership.

Here are five leadership lessons from the book of Esther:

1. You will be called upon before You feel Ready

Disobedience to show up at the King’s command led to Queen Vashti’s fall and she was replaced with a Jewish lady who had no aspiration to live in the palace!

As a leader, you will be called upon to offer solutions to problems, to fill a need, or to lend moral support to those who are failing…even when you don’t feel worthy. Stop being paralyzed by your lack of experience. All Esther had was Mordecai, the teachings he’s instilled in her since a very young age, and Hegai and his beauty lessons.

2. It takes authenticity, not skill, to move the heart of kings

Esther had no formal training to be a concubine except the lessons that Hegai, the King’s Eunuch, taught her. Yet she was loved by all, so much loved that the King set the royal crown on her head and made her queen.

Now, the Bible did say that she was winning favor in the eyes of everyone. It didn’t go into depth on what Esther did or say which made her lovable.

But think about this: are you dependable? Are you trustworthy? Are you consistent in your behavior and interactions with others? Do you gossip behind others?

A leader will be judged on these things. While you can impress people with your aptitude, you’ll be engraved in their minds if you’re genuine and righteous in your interactions with them.

3. Preparation and diligence will get you before the king

Esther waited 12 months before she could as much as smell the incense from the King’s bedchamber. She underwent six months of beautification with oil of myrrh and six months of spices and ointments for women. This was the way those young maidens could be taken to the king.

The point here is that you don’t just waltz into the presence of kings and policy makers without preparation. You need to undergo some training, religiously hone your craft before you’re noticed.

Diligence will get you before the king. It is not how fast but how committed you are to developing yourself and staying on track. You need to study to show yourself approved; yes, you need to prepare for meetings, keynote presentations, and workshops.

4. You need coaches and mentors

Mordecai was Esther’s uncle, teacher, spiritiual mentor, and encourager ever since she was a child. Even when she became the queen, she still held his words in high regard. She could have chosen to treat him like every other subject – because by now she did have her own entourage, but she didn’t.

Who are your coaches? Who are your mentors, your teachers, your cheerleaders?

Esther had coaches. Hegai was Esther’s beauty instructor, cosmetologist, and etiquette coach. He made sure that Esther had everything she needed and groomed her to be presentable before the king.

And get this: the loudest voices you listen to will follow you into your most intimate places. Choose who you listen to wisely.

5. You will have moments of invisibility

Did Esther shoot up to being the queen that won the King’s heart so much that he ordered the death of Haman for her sake? No. She actually had moments of vulnerability because the king had not required her presence for days.

You will be invisible as a leader sometimes. This is not time for you to panic or see this as a reflection of your lack of skills. The favor of the Lord never left Esther while she was invisible. She used that time wisely, interceded for her people through fasting and prayer, and was ready to go to the King even when he didn’t call for her.

Are you ready to take your leadership skills to the next level? Are you ready to grow wings and fly in wisdom?

You will never grow in your calling if you’re always waiting for the perfect moment to write, the perfect moment to draw, or film that video.

Start learning from Esther. Start before you’re ready. Hone your skills diligently without fatigue. Develop a respectful relationship with those you seek to lead — even if you don’t see yourself as a leader yet, and watch your influence reach heights you never thought possible.

Photo: “One Night with the King” Film, 2006

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