A Lesson On Leadership Temptation and Difficult Circumstances

First I must say, as I listened and read the story of Joseph in Genesis 37 thru 50 this morning I was deeply touched. Here we find many admirable leadership qualities of a man but more importantly we find a man of God. Joseph’s love for his family is notable but only seen when Joseph encounters his brothers after being in captivity for 13 years. While we can assume Joseph was considering his plight and the wrong done to him by his brothers, he placed his faith and trust in God while in prison, Potiphar’s house and in his reign over Egypt. It is only when Joseph’s brothers come to Egypt do we see him take a bit of revenge for being sold into slavery.

Did Joseph take responsibility for his behavior?

What was the nature of this behavior? Pride? Haughtiness? Was he gloating because he was his father’s favorite? Was Joseph’s time in the cistern, his journey into slavery and prison a time for reflection? What do we learn about Joseph’s emotional intelligence his first 30 years of life? Let’s review a brief timeline:

Age 17 – early twenties:

Joseph had two dreams of how he will be elevated over his brothers and shares those dreams with them

His brothers are jealous and plot to kill him

Instead of killing Joseph they sell him into slavery for 20 shekels

Perhaps this is interesting only to me but blood was spilled to cover the sin when his brothers slay a goat and placed the blood upon Joseph’s cloak to show their father as evidence of Joseph’s death

Joseph is sold to Potiphar and Joseph is immediately placed in charge because “the Lord gave him success in everything he did.”

Potiphar only withheld one thing from Joseph – Potiphar’s wife. Interestingly, God gave Adam and Eve the garden and only withheld one thing from them

Potiphar’s wife sets a trap and Joseph is placed in prison. Adam and Eve fell. Joseph did not.

Age: 20’s – 30

The jailer recognizes Joseph’s abilities,

“The warden paid no attention to anything under Joseph’s care, because the Lord was with Joseph and gave him success in whatever he did.”

While in prison Joseph interprets two dreams and they play out exactly as Joseph said – one man dies and another lives

Joseph asks the one who lives to remember him upon his release from prison

Age 30

Pharaoh has a dream and Joseph’s former prison mate remembers Joseph’s ability to interpret dreams

Pharoah calls for Joseph, believes him and places Joseph in charge of all the land

Seven years of plenty occurs in the land and Eqypt collects enough grain to stop counting the amount

Two years of famine hit all of the land

Age 42

Jacob sends all his sons except the youngest (Benjamin who replaced Joseph) to Egypt to purchase grain

Perhaps Joseph takes a bit of revenge by accusing his brothers of being spies

Joseph plots a series of events that bring terror upon the 10 brothers who sold him into slavery

One month or so (probably less) passes and Jacob is finally reunited with his son Joseph

What was God’s grand plan?

We find the answer in Genesis 45.5-7 with Joseph addressing his brothers,

And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you. For two years now there has been a famine in the land, and for the next five years there will not be plowing and reaping. But God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance.

What do we learn about God in this story that makes up more than one third of all of the book of Genesis? What do we learn about how God works? About who God uses? What do we know about Joseph’s identity? His personality? His emotional intelligence?

What we do know is God has plans that we do not always see until we are able to look back. We need difficult circumstances to grow.

God places His blessing upon such men.

In my last post about emotional intelligence I identified 15 elements of EQ and are listed below along with some speculation on my part on how Joseph ranks within each:

Element   Low/Mid-Range/High

Self Regard Mid

Self Actualization High

Emotional Self-Awareness Mid

Emotional Expression Mid

Assertiveness High

Independence High

Interpersonal Mid

Empathy Mid

Social Responsibility High

Problem Solving High

Reality Testing High

Impulse Control High

Flexibility High

Stress Tolerance High

Optimism High

It is really important for me to say that we know that God makes the man and God uses the man that honors Him. I say this because I think it important to place this first and foremost when we talk about Joseph’s success. God also places the man He wants to use in difficult circumstances to learn and to grow in their faith and in the skills. All that said, I think Joseph’s life is evidence that high levels of emotional intelligence create high levels of opportunity to become better leaders. And,

God will use the man or woman who stays close to Him

I’ve asked this question before: what are the qualities of the leaders you most aspire to be like? I dare say it isn’t their education or experience you most admire. I do say that it is most likely the elements mentioned in the list of 15 things that identify our emotional intelligence.

Lastly, I think Joseph’s Myers/Briggs personality is probably INTJ for a whole variety of reasons but I won’t bore you with that now. For a free personality assessment

My closing question for you is this:

What plans have you made to develop your relationship with the Lord, your skills and your emotional intelligence? I hope you can answer this in an affirmative way.

If you have questions on how to get started give me a call. I’d be glad to help.

About the author: Creed is an accomplished leader and Professional Certified Coach motivated by a passionate drive to help individuals and organizations reclaim their clarity for personal achievement and organizational effectiveness.