In this week’s parsha (Torah Portion) Moses, yet again, is dealing with not getting his way as a leader. Last week, the spies he trusted to come back with the “right” story, decided to speak truth to power. Now, Moses’ own cousin, Korach,along with 250 other leaders from the Israelite community, are leading a rebellion against Moses and Aaron. Why? Because they feel their voices are not being heard and that they are not seen as equals. Korach says to Moses, “You have gone too far! Everyone here is holy, all of us, and G-d is with them too. Why do you act like you are so much better than us?”
As a leader, it can be hard to balance the need to feel in control and the need to ensure your followers feel heard and valued. After all, there is probably a good reason that the leader is “in charge” in the first place, right?
Yes, but … just because you are “in charge” doesn’t mean you have all the answers and doesn’t mean you’re always right. The best leaders seek advice and input from those around them, empowering those they lead to feel a part of something bigger.
So why didn’t Moses want to listen to Korach and the rebels? Perhaps he was afraid of losing control. Maybe he would have made the same decisions but had he truly listened to their concerns perhaps the rebels would have felt heard and felt part of the community.
This week at camp we’ve focused on two important values that all leaders should cultivate: intention and a passion for growth. Leadership here at camp means that you are mindful of how your words and action impact others: leaders look for ways to lift others up instead of trying to hold on to control and stay on top. Leadership also means that you have a growth mindset: leaders embrace challenges and keep the good of the whole group in mind, even if it means making a mistake in the process.
This Shabbat, and every day, may we speak with more intention and practice stepping out of our comfort zone. Do not try to lead fearlessly, rather lead knowing that fear is just your brain telling you that you’re about to learn something new!
“Do not judge me by my successes, judge me by how many times I feel down and got back up again,” – Nelson Mandela