Leadership: The Number That Truly Matters

One of the most important qualities of a leader is the ability to develop others. When they invest their time and effort, they can help the organization multiply leaders. Because leaders develop other leaders, while they are in their leadership journey, they continue to learn and improve themselves and at the same time develop their people.

Leaders multiply the capability of the organization by multiplying talent, however it is important to note that, although numbers matter, quality is even more important.  In the Bible verse Judges 7, Gideon was ready to lead his 32,000 in a fight against the Midianites. The Lord said to Gideon, “You have too many people for me to hand the Midianites over to you, or else Israel might brag: 'I did it myself.'" God proceeds to give Gideon a couple of tests to whittle the number down. The first test culled 22,000 men out of the army, leaving 10,000. “Still too many,” said God.

God tells Gideon to take his men down to the water and let them drink. Weed out any men who stick their face down into the water to drink; keep the ones who ladle the water to their mouths with their hands. Gideon must have gulped hard when he counted how many were disqualified: 9700 were out, leaving only 300 men. At this point, you can imagine what’s on Gideon’s mind, from 32,000 to 300. What are the odds that 300 can beat 135,000 Midianites? On the surface, not a good chance, because it will mean each Israeli soldier has to fight 450 Midianites.

What did the people who drank with their hands do to make them capable? My interpretation of that is measure of quality. Those who drank with their hands knew the right thing to do while those who drank with their mouth were not ready for the challenge ahead. In the end, it’s not the size of the team, but the size of the hearts of those who are willing do their best and rise to the occasion. As it turned out, God sent confusion into the ranks of the enemy and they started attacking each other. When the fight was over, 120,000 Midianites had killed one another and 15,000 fled. Gideon’s prayers were answered.

In conclusion, leaders develop leaders who can develop others. They multiply the talent, but it important to note that quality matters. It is important to know that we need to invest in the right people whom we know will help raise others and increase our overall capabilities.