|There are abundant treatises available to Christians who want to enhance their leadership skills. Many focus on a single aspect of leadership; others attempt to integrate a multitude of factors. Having read that literature fairly closely for thirty years, and having lived in the worlds of academia and industry for the same amount of time, it seems to me that time and again, three things emerge as real distinctives for the Christian who wants to be a God-honoring leader. From what I’ve seen, leadership success is the result of a leader’s commitment to a cause or goal, the personal character of the leader, and the extent to which the leader has real compassion for his or her followers. Here’s how you can cultivate each.
4.1. Commitment to a Cause
Many people fail as leaders because they are not committed to anything of value or significance. For whatever reason, they have little passion for the world around them or what takes place in that world. If that leadership has money involvement, then you are a leader of money, e.g. you say you love the organization, because you are in leadership of that organization for such and such a period of time, after that period of time of periodical leadership, you are no longer anywhere to be found. That is not commitment to the cause, but you are committed to your ego, love of positions, prestige, and a periodical leader for that matter.
But even a cursory [superficial, brief] review of history validates [confirms, proofs] that successful leaders have had a passion for certain outcomes or principles, and that they have been committed unwaveringly to pursuing that outcome or to furthering that principle. We have the U.S. Constitution, for instance, because its framers were committed to bringing forth a more perfect union. The United States achieved victories in World War One and World War Two because the nation, as a whole, was committed to defeating the tyranny [dictatorship, cruelty] that threatened USA and others (such was not the case with the war in Vietnam). They excelled as a nation in space exploration because President Kennedy was able to rally support for his vision to place a man on the moon. Martin Luther King, Jr., advanced civil rights and human dignity because he had a dream and he was committed to its achievement.
In business, too, company greatness is often the result of the vision and commitment of a chief executive. Consider, for instance, the commitment-success connection of people like Jack Welsh, former Chairman and CEO of General Electric, Bill Gates of Microsoft, and Michael Dell of Dell Computers. And if we look at religious history, we reach the same conclusion. To take but two examples, look at the passion and commitment shown by Jesus Christ for carrying out the mission of human redemption given to him by his Father. And consider Martin Luther, who felt so strongly about the state of the church in 1517 that he risked all to post his 95 Theses on the door of Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany. Samuel became the greatest prophet in Israel born out of serious struggle and tears from his mother and he anointed two kings Saul and David, thus courage was needed.
4.2. BE CAREFUL OF TWO TYPES OF LEADERSHIP IN THE BIBLE.
This is quiet touching and frightening to know that we have only two types of leaders that will spill [transform] into other categories of leadership.
The leadership of a flask. 1 Samuel 10:1 Then Samuel took a flask of olive oil and poured it over Saul’s head. He kissed Saul and said, “I am doing this because the LORD has appointed you to be the ruler over Israel, his special possession. This kind of leadership never lasted and it will not even last in the future. This is indeed a man-made leadership, flask, it is very fragile.[breakable, flimsy, weak, insubstantial]
The leadership of the Horn
I see the next two chapters of First Samuel as a definite pair. They are mirror images of each other.
“The Lord said to Samuel, “How long will you mourn for Saul, since I have rejected him as king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil and be on your way; I am sending you to Jesse of Bethlehem. I have chosen one of his sons to be king.” (1 Samuel 16:1)
Samuel had anointed Saul with a “flask of oil,” (1 Samuel 10:1). A flask is a man-made thing that holds a God thing. In choosing to anoint Saul, God had consented to put His Spirit on a man, but the timing of the anointing was chosen by men. David was anointed from a hollowed-out horn. Only God can make a horn. David was both anointed and chosen by God. The word “chosen” here is interesting. The Hebrew word it is translated from could also be rendered “seen.” God had been watching every heart in the land and he had seen a heart that was not driven by what men thought. Instead it harkened to the thoughts of Yahweh. Jesse’s youngest son was a follower of the Invisible God, and was therefore qualified to be in front of visible men. He could provide them with true leadership. He would not have to poll their ranks to see which way the wind was currently blowing. This is a major difference in the “David heart” and the “Saul heart.”
If you desire to get others to follow you, then follow the example of history. Be absolutely committed to a goal or a cause. Followers must see your passion and draw from it enthusiasm and confidence in their ability to achieve what has heretofore seemed unachievable.
A second pillar of effective Christian leadership is character—who you are when everyone’s looking and when no one’s looking. Some object that we should separate a leader’s character from his or her actions. In the case of former President Bill Clinton, for instance, a number of people argued that his personal life (and character) had no relevance to his performance as President of the United States. But how is that possible? If one cannot be trusted to maintain the sanctity of the Oval [egg-shaped Office, or to tell the truth with regard to his personal affairs, how do we know that he can be trusted in affairs of State? Values, interests, and motives come from within, giving birth to action. So behaviour is clearly born of character.
In positions of leadership, integrity is foremost among the essential character traits. Leaders must be credible and their followers must be able to rely upon their word. Trustworthiness is crucial and it’s largely manifest in how well the leader “walks the talk.” Stephen Covey articulated this principle in The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People when he wrote, “The real key to your influence with me is your example, your actual conduct. Your example flows naturally out of your character” (p. 238).
All too often, though, there is a gap between the talk and the walk in corporate offices. The corporate credo or statement of values is intended for others to follow, not for the corporate leaders. These credos serve as “mandates for the masses,” yet employees are quick to detect deviations from them in corporate behaviour. And when they do, the organization is hamstrung [restricted, thwarted, watered down] by the hypocrisy. Productivity, innovation and morale [confidence] all suffer as people comply with the dictates of leaders who lack credibility, but do not follow with enthusiasm or sacrifice.
The scripture is quite clear regarding character. When the walk fell short of the talk, Jesus labeled the offenders “hypocrites.” He railed [Criticized] against Jewish leaders who prayed publicly for display purposes, but had hearts of stone. He denounced them as whitewashed sepulchers [graves]—tombs that were immaculate [spotless, beautiful] on the outside but full of rot on the inside (Matthew 23). And it’s the inside that matters to Jesus. He taught that “out of the heart of men proceed evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander” (Matthew 15:19). The internal drives the external. Character drives action.
That truth works in the affirmative as well as the negative. “The credibility of leadership is what determines whether people will want to give a little more of their time, talent, energy, experience, intelligence, creativity, and support,” say Kouzes and Posner, perhaps the foremost experts on leadership of our day. Leaders of great character do great things!
4.4. Compassion for Your Followers
Effective leaders create followers through their compassion—a genuine, heart-felt concern for the needs, feelings, and aspirations [desires] of those they lead. They are able to build effective teams—a community, if you will—because they care about those whom they are serving as much as they care about the goals they are seeking to achieve. Covey agrees: “No amount of technical administrative skill in laboring for the masses can make up for lack of nobility [dignity] of personal character in developing relationships. It is at a very essential, one-on-one level, that we live the primary laws of love and life” (p. 202). Indeed, goal attainment, in the long term, is best effected if the leader cares about people in such a way that they are encouraged in heart and united in love.
As many of us know from painful first-hand experience, though, often, people in organizations are instead made to do things out of fear. But fear leads to compliance, not commitment. People working in fear are not committed to the leader’s goal or cause except in an instrumental sense: serving the leader avoids personal pain or economic loss. So followers often default to a “do the minimum” mind-set, discharging their duties and trying to stay off the radar screen.
4.5. Compassionate, relational leadership is far more effective.
As Peter Scholtes notes in The Leader’s Handbook, “Where relationships are formed and sustained, leadership occurs.” Jesus demonstrated this time and again in his work with his disciples. It was all about relationship—encouraging, sharing, loving, teaching, and when necessary, rebuking. But even the latter was acceptable because the disciples knew that Jesus cared greatly about them. His rebuke was for their growth and development.
In business, managers often seek administrative ways to maximize the performance of their people. What I mean is that they pursue the ideal form of performance appraisal, the ideal incentive package, the ideal organizational structure, etc., expecting that these systems will mechanically yield the desired results. That’s short-sighted. The true key to success lies not as much with programs and practices as with the quality of the relationship the leader develops with his or her followers. Almost any performance appraisal system will work if employees trust their leader and believe that the he or she truly cares about them. The same is true in the areas of compensation, promotion, and discipline. In their bestselling book, Credibility, Kouzes and Posner put it this way: “If we are reliable and others know that they can count on us, then our words and actions will have greater power to influence them. If we appreciate people and show that we take their interests to heart, they can trust us to lead. On all fronts, developing the trust of their diverse constituents is critical to leaders” (p. 112).
4.6. Our Skill is Necessary but Not Sufficient
Indeed, leadership requires a lot more than these “three C’s” I’ve proposed. It requires situational knowledge, skills, and abilities, among other things. But while these latter attributes are necessary, they are by no means sufficient. Too many leaders—Christians among them—don’t seem to get that. All of us in leadership positions, and most especially those of us who seek to honor God in our work, would be well-advised to take inventory of our commitment to a cause, the content of our character, and the compassion in our hearts. These attributes, when coupled with our skills, will earn us loyal followers, enduring results, and God’s “well done!”
5. A philosophy of leadership
1. Leadership is not a one-man show; potential partners will leave me alone.
“You must live with people to know their problems, and live with God in order to solve their problems.” (P.T. Forsyth. 2001:38)
An important question for leaders: “Am I building people, or building my dream and using people to do it?” John C. Maxwell. (1993: 115-123)
The word leadership has a great significant for anyone in leading position.
However the leader must be able to distinguish between management and leadership.
2. Nothing happens until someone provides leadership for it.
Remember Mahatma Ghandi. If he never became a functional leader where would India be, by today? Martin Luther King Jr, The civil rights activists, where would the Afro-American be today if this functional leader never emerged? There are functional leaders and positional leaders. Functional leaders do not wait until they are elected into positions, but positional leaders are elected and most of them are not functional. The functional leader fulfils the leadership function. (Jonathan Wilson. May 2004 leadership letter issue No 1.)
3. Leadership is a never-ending process.
Your work is never done. Leadership isn’t a part time job—it’s a full-time commitment. Leadership is not something you do; a leadership is something you are.
4. Leadership development is a lifetime journey.
(John C. Maxwell. 2001:122) not a brief trip, a trip ends when you have reach your destination, but a journey in life is never ending, thus this is leadership, always learning. Learn from lessons of life, learn from art, learn from nature, learn from our mistakes and learn from others.
Your leadership power is to serve people and not to advance our own purposes.
We abuse our power if we use it for self –gain; this is called the abuse of power. (Matt 20: 26 …) whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant.
5. Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality
Leadership is not merely having the vision because anyone can dream, but the transference of that dream into reality it is all about appealing leadership. See this happening in South Africa will fulfil my dream too.
6. Leadership is making your vision functional. The transference of a vision into reality that is all what leadership is all about. (John C. Maxwell “Warren G. Bennis.”2001: 14)
Leadership is not management, people don’t want to be managed, stereotyped, tagged or filed. This is what you do in your office, but people are dynamic and if you fail to acknowledge the power
7. Whistler’s Law:
“You never know who’s right, but you always know who’s in charge.” When a decision is supposed to be made, all eyes will look at the leader. Every organization reflects its leader.
A successful leader do not only plan but he /she produces, thus success is what we have produced, not what we’ve planned.
8. Leadership is productivity, Not only planning.
People support what they help create; people become part and parcel of their own decisions.
Running too fast alone is very dangerous, as that will make you to reach the goal there on your own, therefore slow down and take the people with you.
Today a reader- tomorrow a leader. (John C. Maxwell” W. Fusselman. 2001:118”) reading helps my leading, if only pastors can be introduced into a systematic good reading and studying, then no doubt, we will have good leaders.
9. What is then the test of real leadership: just turn around and see if anyone is following you.
6. DEVELOPING BALANCED CHRISTIAN LEADERS
(Published with co-author Sharon Johnson in Church Administration, 10/1985)
Christian organizations differ in many ways. Their size, structures, and services are shaped by internal and external forces—finances, location, personalities. But all effective Christian organizations share at least one thing in common—effectively balanced leadership.
How can balanced Christian leadership be characterized? Defining leadership, much less 1. 1. 1.Christian leadership is an elusive [mysterious] huge task.
Consider scriptural descriptions of Christ as leader. He is portrayed as lion and eagle but also as lamb and dove—vivid contrasts to be sure. An examination of Christ’s perfect leadership qualities reveals a well-defined pattern of contrasting or balancing character traits: divine/human; compassionate/stern, [firm]; traditional/revolutionary’ assertive/docile [passive]. Because He was truly all things to all people, Jesus was a perfectly balanced leader.
The Overlooked Leadership Ingredient
Balance is an essential, though commonly overlooked, ingredient of Christian leadership. Without complementary character and behavioural traits, how else could today’s pastoral or lay leader simultaneously fulfill administrative and spiritual opportunities; be meek, yet assertive; [self-confidence, self –assured, firm] minister to individuals via a corporate body? The effective Christian leader integrates contrasting traits and skills into a spiritual whole.
To fulfill their God-given responsibilities, Christian leaders must be both active and passive. Leadership involves giving as well as taking, serving as well as directing, waiting as well as taking, serving as well as directing, waiting as well as acting. Passive and active traits must be blended to forge a servant/king leader. The true Christian leader thus reflects Jesus Christ Himself.
6.1. Active and Passive Leadership Traits
Christian leadership can be meaningfully portrayed on a continuum of character and behavioral traits ranging from active to passive:
1. THE ACTIVE LEADER
– Makes things happen
– Performs tasks personally
– Makes decisions unilaterally and individually
– Ministers through formal programs
– Orchestrates change
– Ministers through words and actions
– Preaches via oratory Manages
2. THE PASSIVE LEADER
– Delegates tasks to others
– Engages in participative, shared decision making
– Ministers through informal interaction
– Allows change to happen naturally
– Ministers through personal presence and empathy
– Preaches via the Holy Spirit
In reality there is no totally active or totally passive leader, only varying blends of both traits. Leadership effectiveness is enhanced by the interplay of active and passive traits—the leader who can be many things to many people.
The church leader must certainly be capable of “makings things happen” through planning, budgeting, and program implementation. He must also possess the patience to wait for things to happen as the result of prayer or congregational mood.
Likewise, the effective leader balances individual decision making with group deliberation, personal tasks performance with delegation, and formality with informality. The well-balanced Christian leader listens as well as talks, learns as well as teaches, and emotes as well as thinks. Balance and wholeness are the keys.
6.2. THE PROBLEMS OF UNBALANCED LEADERSHIP
Problems inevitably erupt when a leader becomes too active or too passive. Lack of balance leads to lack of effectiveness. It is unavoidable.
Overly active leaders (and their churches) are likely to experience the following interpersonal and organizational problems:
– Premature decision making and action
– Overwork and over-commitment
– Precipitation of confrontations and conflicts
– Poor interpersonal communication and congregational feedback
– Lack of rapport [relationship]building with individual church members
– Difficulty in getting Church workers to implement decisions and programs
– Resistance to change
6.3. THE OVERLY PASSIVE LEADER, ON THE OTHER HAND, IS PRONE [related] TO A DIFFERENT SET OF PROBLEMS:
– Indecisive, inconsistent decision making
– Ineffectiveness in inspiring and motivating church leaders
– Wasting time in frequent committee meetings and informal group deliberations
– Sloppy coordination and integration of church activities and programs
– Congregational stagnation and preoccupation with the status quo
– Heavy dependence on lay workers for work progress
– Tendency for congregational problems to escalate out of control
6.4. Balanced Leadership-Beyond the Individual
A careful examination of the demands of balanced Christian leadership can prove frustrating. While agreeing on the need for such leadership, it is easy for one individual to feel overwhelmed at the prospect of being all things to all people.
Indeed, the Christian leader who tries to be all things in all situations will probably achieve little. The answer to leadership effectiveness in a Christian organization is to expand the leadership base beyond one person. The search for balanced leadership really involves creating a leadership team or body within which active and passive orientations complement each other.
Such an interaction among a group of people who lead an organization was what Paul had in mind as he spoke of the church body: “So we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another” (Rom. 12:5, NASB) and “For the body is not one member, but many” (1 Cor. 12:14, NASB).
Perhaps the most important, but least recognized, responsibility of an effective leader is that of developing the leadership potential of many church members. By recognizing his own areas or strengths and weakness, the leader seeks to broaden and deepen the leadership base of his organization by gathering around him people with contrasting and complementary traits. Such differing traits provide a check-and-balance for meeting the complex demands of today’s Christian organizations.
7. A LEADER LEADS GOD’S PEOPLE INTO THE BATTLE.
(Numbers 27: 17) briefly leadership is a battle, taking God’s people through it.
– Fierce battle of uncertainty.
– Fierce battle of self-identity
– Fierce battle of poverty
– Fierce battle of self-discovery
– Fierce battle of trusting God in all situations.
– Fierce battle of complete dependence upon God no matter what the circumstances may be.
– Fierce battle of absorbance of all the reproach and ridicule of this world.
– A fierce battle of standing firm as a leader and lead by example.
– A fierce battle whereby you bring hope to a hopeless nation.