"In the month of Nisan in the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes, when wine was brought for him, I took the wine and gave it to the king. I had not been sad in his presence before, so the king asked me, 'Why does your face look so sad when you are not ill? This can be nothing but sadness of heart'" - Nehemiah 2:1-2.
These verses are a good example of self-awareness on the part of the king. He noticed something was wrong with his trusted servant and did not hesitate to ask what the problem was. First, it was impressive that the king noticed, with all the trappings of royalty surrounding him that could have caused him to be self-absorbed and not aware. Second, it was significant that he cared enough to ask what the problem was. Finally, it showed that the king was aware of his own emotional state, which enabled him to be in touch with that of others. When you are like that king, you are better equipped to empathize and identify with those who are depressed and hurting. The king notice of Nehemiah's funk set off historical events that touched many lives and helped restore Jerusalem--and produced a book in the Bible from which leaders have learned for centuries.
LEADERSHIP STEP: The king in today's story was well acquainted with his 'employee' and when Nehemiah did not look happy, the king noticed and spoke up. Is there a member of your team, staff, or family who does not look like their usual self? Today, gather courage, ask to see them, and then spend some time talking about how they are doing and what is going on. Then, if it is in your power, do something to help alleviate their sadness, even if it costs you or the company time or money--or both.