Leadership and change management in times of crisis: Reflections on the Book of Joshua

Background:

Moses has died at 120 years of age after leading the Israelites out of Egypt, through the wilderness, and to the edge of the Promised Land, Canaan.

A new leader, Joshua, has been commissioned to lead the Israelites over the River Jordan into Canaan.

Joshua 1 – The Lord commands Joshua

v1-9:

As the Israelites get ready for another new chapter of their journey, God assures Joshua that He will fulfill the promise of territorial gain that He first conveyed to Moses, and that He will be with Joshua just as He was with Moses.

The new leader’s response to this divine mandate:

v10-15: Joshua gives instructions to the officers on what to tell the Israelites.

v16-18: The officers affirm their loyalty to Joshua and his leadership, and encourage him to be strong and courageous.

Joshua 3 – Crossing of the Jordan

v2-4: The officers go throughout the camp giving orders to the people.

v5: Joshua instructs the priests to consecrate themselves, “for tomorrow the Lord will do amazing things among you”.

v6: Joshua instructs the priests to take up the ark of the covenant and pass on ahead of the people.

v7: God informs Joshua that he will begin to exalt him in the eyes of all Israel so that the Israelites can feel assured that God is with their new leader just as He has been with their old.

He also instructs the priests to go and stand in the River Jordan.

v9-13: Joshua prepares the Israelites for what is to happen at the River Jordan, and tells them that this is proof that God is among them and will drive out their enemies before them.

v14-17: As soon as the priests stepped into the river, the flooded Jordan stops flowing and the Israelites cross over on dry ground, a throwback to the first Exodus and the parting of the Red Sea by Moses 40 years prior.

Reflection:

When an organization is experiencing transition, a good leader ensures continuity and upholds morale and faith by employing:

  • careful planning and selection of a new leader
  • private and public affirmation of the incoming leader
  • words of faith and inspiration
  • direct communication with all leaders
  • clear instruction to all affected groups, including
  • challenges that may seem incredulous and way outside the group’s comfort zone, which when accomplished will help the group to grow and become even more cohesive because of the shared struggle.

Which tips can you start implementing to prepare your organization for a post-Covid return to work?

If I can help you or your organization, please send me an email at info@serenalow.com.au.

Serena Low