5 Leadership APPROACHES That Miss the MARK [Judges 4:4-14]


Are you a leader playing by the Anti-Deborah Playbook?

That is, would Deborah, the prophetess and judge of Israel, chronicled in Judges 4, approve or reject your leadership approach?

To help you answer that question, let’s explore 5 leadership types that fall short of Deborah’s example.

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5 Leadership APPROACHES That Miss the MARK [Judges 4:4-14]

#1 – The Compromiser – Wavering in Conviction

“Now Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lapidoth, was judging Israel at that time.” [Judges 4:4]

Deborah stood firm in her faith and convictions, providing a stable moral compass for her people. 

She had an amazing ministry-life balance, never wavering in her trust in God’s guidance.

Some leaders, however, may be too quick to compromise their principles for the sake of popularity or ease.

When leaders constantly shift their stance based on prevailing winds, it leads to:

  • Lack of clear direction.
  • Erosion is the moral foundation of a community, making it difficult for followers to trust their guidance or understand the organization’s core values.
  • Lack of consistent, principled leadership.
  • Inability to navigate challenging situations without losing sight of core values.

#2 – The Ivory Tower Leader – Preaching from Afar

“And she would sit under the palm tree of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in the mountains of Ephraim. And the children of Israel came up to her for judgment.” [Judges 4:5]

Deborah made herself accessible by sitting under a palm tree where people could easily approach her.

Her leadership was firmly grounded in her community. She was present, listening to disputes and offering guidance in realtime.

Ivory Tower leaders create an unnecessary distance between themselves and those they lead.

Over time, this disconnect can lead to major problems, such as:

  • One is poor decision-making, as the leader is woefully out of touch with the real needs and challenges of their community. 
  • Two is a loss of trust in the community.
  • Third, the making of a leader with an unhealthy sense of superiority.

#3 – The Lone Wolf Leader – Keeping Your Faith a Solo Act

“Then she sent and called for Barak the son of Abinoam from Kedesh in Naphtali, and said to him, “Has not the Lord God of Israel commanded, ‘Go and deploy troops at Mount Tabor; take with you ten thousand men of the sons of Naphtali and the sons of Zebulun” [Judges 4:6]

Judges 4:4 tells us that Deborah wilded many titles,  a wife, a judge, and a prophetess, a clear indication that she was capable of doing it all alone.

Instead of trying to do it all by herself, Deborah empowered Barak to share his faith story and experience.

She recognized Barak’s strengths and encouraged his participation, understanding that victory comes through united effort, not solitary heroics. 

Lone Wolf Leaders often believe that F.A.T leadership means shouldering the entire burden themselves.

This solitary approach leads  to several issues, such as:

  • Severe burnout, which results in missed opportunities.
  • Denying others the chance to develop their leadership skills and spiritual gifts. 
  • Creation of a fragile leadership structure that’s overly dependent on a single individual.

#4 – The Micromanager – Stifling Others’ Potential 

“So she said, “I will surely go with you; nevertheless, there will be no glory for you in the journey you are taking, for the Lord will sell Sisera into the hand of a woman.” Then Deborah arose and went with Barak to Kedesh.” [Judges 4:9]

In Judges 4:8, we witness Barak’s reluctance to lead without Deborah’s presence.

He insisted that he would only go into battle if she accompanied him.

The Micromanager leader might have rebuked Barak, questioning his fitness for the position.

Instead, Deborah agreed to join Barak in battle while also making him aware of the outcome: the glory of victory would go to a woman. 

Rather than succumbing to the temptation of micromanagement, she chose a path of empowerment and accountability.

Micromanagers feel compelled to control every aspect of their team members’ actions, their organization, or their community. 

The micro-management approach to leadership is fundamentally flawed for several reasons:

  • It stunts the growth of potential leaders by denying them opportunities to make decisions and learn from their experiences.
  • It leads to resentment and a lack of initiative among team members, who feel their skills and judgment are not trusted or valued.
  • It creates bottlenecks in decision-making processes and fosters a culture of dependency that limits innovation and creativity.

#5 – The Hesitant Leader – Shrinking from Responsibility

“Then Deborah said to Barak, Up! For this is the day in which the Lord has delivered Sisera into your hand. Has not the Lord gone out before you?” So Barak went down from Mount Tabor with ten thousand men following him.” [Judges 4:14]

Deborah boldly stepped into her role as judge and prophetess, accepting the mantle of leadership with confidence.

Deborah didn’t wait for someone else to lead; she accepted her God-given role and acted decisively.

In contrast, some leaders shy away from making difficult decisions or taking necessary action, often paralyzed by fear of failure or criticism.

Hesitant leadership can leave a community directionless and vulnerable. 

This indecisiveness can lead to missed opportunities and a general sense of stagnation within the community.

In today’s fast-paced and often chaotic world, the need for effective, moral leadership has never been greater. 

Whether you’re leading a small team, a large organization, or a community group, the lessons from Deborah’s leadership remain relevant and inspiring. 

 Remember, true leadership isn’t about power or control – it’s about service, empowerment, and guiding others towards a shared vision.

Who is a Deborah in your life?

Tag them and tell us why in the comments!

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They are a great way to simplify your life, strengthen your faith, and experience the joy of living a life guided by your Christian values.

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Are you looking for a deeper understanding of your faith? I’m excited to let you know that I have written books that delve into scripture and offer insights to help you grow in your Christian walk. Learn more about my books by visiting this link.

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