Good leaders are enthusiastically affirming. Again, Paul writes, "You are witnesses, and so is God, how devoutly and uprightly and blamelessly we behaved toward you believers; just as you know how we were exhorting and encouraging and imploring each one of you as a father would his own children" (1 Thess. 2:10–11). He started with a mother tenderly caring for her children. Now we see a father encouraging and exhorting his kids.
Ever sat on hard bleachers, in front of the father of the high school quarterback? He's his own cheer section. Why? He's a dad! The kid on the field's going, "Dad, come on, knock it off." But his old man's standing up there, yelling at top volume, loving very minute of it.
Perhaps you've longed for more affirmation from your father. Let's face it, encouragement goes a long way in preparing a child for life. No one should be getting more encouragement from us than our own children.
Pretty convicting stuff, isn't it?
What's true of our physical children is also true of God's children. Good leadership balances the tender nurturing of a mother with the loving affirmation of a father. Encouragement is like an oasis in the desert. It brings needed refreshment to weary individuals whose souls are parched from time spent in the desert of self-doubt. There's also the desert of failure when we've tried so hard to succeed and the desert of no progress when we so want something to happen but it doesn't. And there's the desert of family rejection, abuse, and a thousand other arid, barren landscapes of life.
In those desert experiences you long for an oasis where you're able to get a cool drink of water. Though it didn't come from your father, at last it comes from the affirming words of a leader, who, in speaking, dips his ladle deep in ice water, and as he pours it out, it cools your spirit and refreshes your soul.
Affirming leaders create loyal followers.