Leadership: Bringing Out the Best in Others

Beha'alotcha: A resource for families.

Commentary on Parashat Beha'alotcha, Numbers 8:1 - 12:16

Being a good leader at work and at home is a difficult task. But being a good leader does not mean necessarily that we are in control. It may mean being the one who promotes the strengths of others. The problem is that often, when we see the strengths of others, we are threatened. Somehow, we think, their strengths mean the diminishment of our own.  It’s either “they have the power” or “I have the power.” Sharing leadership is a real challenge for anyone.

In our Torah portion this week it is reported to Moses that two men are prophesying in the camp. Instead of being threatened, Moses welcomes them. He says “Would that all the Lord’s people were prophets!” Moses, supreme prophet and leader that he is, recognizes that sharing power is the best kind of leadership. A leader should encourage and facilitate leadership in others.

Teaching this kind of leadership to children is difficult. There are always battles for control between parents and children. However, a good model of parenting is one in which parents see their children as partners in the enterprise of raising a family. As the child grows, he or she can take on more and more of the leadership in the home. In this way the child learns that the best kind of leaders are those that promote leadership in others.

about Moses as a model of a good leader.

·    What qualities make the best kind of leader?
·    When and how do you act like a leader?
·    Is it harder to be a leader or a follower?

© Copyright 2010 Joyce and Fred Claar

From “Values and Ethics: Torah Topics for Today,” available from Behrman House Publishers.


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