Nehemiah makes a bold request to Persian King Artaxerxes to rebuild Jerusalem. This very bold request to the king came with great risk to Nehemiah’s well-being. King Artaxerxes not only granted the request, but also provides protection and resources to assist Nehemiah. The biblical account of this story can be found if the book of Nehemiah. Let’s review how Nehemiah lead people to accomplish this task.
Throughout the first six chapters of the book of Nehemiah, his behaviors correlate with strengths of perseverance, hope, spirituality, teamwork, honesty, and bravery (VIA-IS, 2017). Utilizing these strengths or traits, Nehemiah determines his purpose after hearing the account of the people and former home Jerusalem. He influences and finds favor with a king, he understood the risk of the request, and showed great discretion in that he did not reveal his plans to anyone who would be involved with this great undertaking until the appropriate time (Nehemiah 2:17, The New King James Version).
Further example of Nehemiah’s leadership was his intelligence, specifically social intelligence. “…social intelligence allows us to interpret the situation surrounding (and perhaps causing) those emotions and to act appropriately. Our actions may be different than if we focused solely on the individual and her/his emotions” (Penn State, n.d.). Nehemiah not only knew how to respond those willingly following him, he had the appropriate response for his enemies. Watch this clip from Andy Stanley as he explains a situation from Nehemiah, chapter six.
Sosik (2015, p. 51) lists courage, transcendence, and justice as part of “High Six Virtues”. He associates these virtues to their character strengths as described from the VIA-IS definitions. Specifically concerning the transcendence virtue, “Transformational leaders carefully choose words that appeal to the needs and desires of specific followers and use these captivating words to create themes that they consistently repeat in their speeches” (Sosik, 2015, p. 221). The consistent message from Nehemiah was that they were rebuilding the wall for God and fighting for each other. He held the followers to be accountable for what they said they would do. When discord arose, he addressed it swiftly and did so by appealing to those followers through their common faith.
Nehemiah led through the virtue of transcendence and transformed others. His transformational leadership style enabled Jerusalem to be rebuilt through much adversity. These leadership traits occurred because Nehemiah lead people for a cause greater than themselves.
Character Strengths, Personal Development: VIA Character. (2017). Know and Celebrate the Real You. Retrieved from https://www.viacharacter.org/www/Character-Strengths/Science-Of-Character
Penn State World Campus. (n.d.). PSY 532, Sec 001: Psyc Fndtns Ldrshp (WC, Dobbs). Retrieved from https://psu.instructure.com/courses/1834794/pages/l02-five-factor-model-of-personality?module_item_id=21894643
Sosik, J. J. (2015). Leading with character: stories of valor and virtue and the principles they teach (Second ed.). Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing, Inc.