Leadership, Integrity and Nation building.
– by Amoko Fodomula Laku
In this chapter I am going to offer ideas that can increase a leader’s power and strength with others in any organisation or nation.
By ‘power’ I mean, “the ability to influence or control people, the ability to achieve something or make something happen, politically – control of a region, a country or a government”.
A ‘strong’ leader is someone “who has strength, confidence, determination, is not easily broken in their emotional health and who is good at leadership”.
Bombs, mines and explosions cause havoc everywhere they are used in anger. People are injured, maimed, even killed indiscriminately. Yet the cars and trucks on our streets and roads are mostly powered by explosions – explosions that are under strict control. In a similar way power and strength for leadership may be abused or properly used. What I am suggesting will encourage good use of power.
So, first we need to ask a question. ‘What is leadership?’ For us to give specific instances that can increase any leader’s power with others, there must initially be a job description for the role of leader, that has been set by, evolved and developed by the field or appointed field committee. The whole team, organisation and prospective leaders need to read this carefully before finalising any appointment for a given time. The job description and responsibilities need to be clear, authoritative and directional.
My purpose in writing this chapter is to help churches, missions, business organisations and even governing political parties, to see things differently and then to gain the skills and competencies needed for the multicultural contexts of today. Then everybody can create environments at their workplaces that make Gods’ reconciling initiatives visible and powerful, encouraging all people to work together and well. We all need skills for discerning accurately where our organisations are. Only then will the complex and changing systems we employ, and the people who work them, become practical and purposeful actions in our intercultural lives.
For the leader to be strong and powerful he/she needs to have the following:
An advisory committee
The role of this committee is to advise the leader
to share what people on it feel is the best thing to do, the best way to move forward
to act as board members for the ideas of the leader
to discuss major field activities beforehand, with a view to bringing recommendations
to assist the leader in the evaluation of new workers
to handle, with the leader, any personnel problems within the organisation.
Accountability means to be in a position where other people have the right to criticise or ask explanations of the leader. Accountability permeates all levels of leadership and the administration of any organisation, so that no one can ‘go it alone’ but must follow the chain of administration or coordinating council or leaders’ council, with the workers. Leaders who are working under an accountability team will have power in every step they are taking, because they will be backed up by the team/board members as long as they feel that the leader is respecting and honouring them.
The main responsibilities of the leader need to be clear to all. That will give him/her power. Examples of areas may include:
initiation and implementation of objectives and strategy
pastoral care of all workers
appropriate language learning arrangements
the assessment and placement of new workers
the development of workers’ gifts and ministries
the maintenance of unity and cultivation of a spirit for full fellowship in the organisation
full co-operation with relevant committees
training for other leaders
the transfer of responsibility to others
building communications both within the organisation and to outsiders.
It is obvious from 1 Peter 5:2-4 that a domineering, autocratic form of leadership is not the scriptural pattern. I am sure this applies equally to leaders of political and religious groupings: “Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, watching over them – not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not pursuing dishonest gain, but eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away”.
The teaching of Christ in Matthew 20:25-28 makes it clear that the leader must be pre-eminently a servant, a servant to the group being led. “Jesus called them together and said, ‘You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant and whoever wants to be first must be your slave – just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many”.
In the final analysis, the basis of any leader’s authority is from God.
Trace the word ‘leadership’ through:
Hebrews 13:17, “Have confidence in your leaders and submit to their authority, because they keep watch over you as those who must give an account. Do this so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no benefit to you”.
1. Authority to lead is given to a person by the Lord (entrusted)
2. It may be developed by acquired knowledge (expertise)
3. It can be gained from fellow workers who see the quality of his/her life and work (earned respect)
4. and from his/her appointment (election, the legal basis).
Any person who does not know his or her source of authority cannot lead properly.
Expectation from both the leader and team or organisation members needs to be clear from the terms of work, activity/ministry. What will further the agreed objectives? The care and concern from the leader towards the team or organisation members can encourage this. The leader is often looking for results, while the followers look for personal recognition based on a caring attitude by the leaders. The leader needs to carefully use some of these approaches, especially in organisational leadership.
This focus on implemental and leaders’ empowerment is intended to deepen the organisation’s interpretive and relational capacities for intercultural life. Positive care for people often produces more careful people.
Know the leadership triad
Those in leadership need to attend to activities which help them perceive, interpret and act concerning the situation on the ground. This is helped by understanding the leadership triad:
Interpretive leadership which is about means for providing the resources and guidance needed to shape a community of learners, that pays attention to and interprets both texts and contexts.
Relational leadership shapes all the human connections internally and externally and attends to the health and synergism of those relationships.
Implemental leadership guides and initiates both activities and structures, so that an organisation’s message embodies meanings and relationships. By overlapping people remain vitally connected with one another and the team. If they lose their cohesion, then organisational dysfunction results.
Be a good follower
Someone said that, “the best leaders are ones who also know how to follow”. Many leaders in the Bible were first followers, such as Joseph, Genesis 37-50, and Daniel, Daniel 1-6. A leader may also step out of leadership gracefully and become a follower again, after having enjoyed a leadership position. Unfortunately, it is a difficult thing for many leaders to step out of a particular place of leadership. Part of the price of leadership is to not hold on to your leadership position too tightly. If you do, you may find yourself defending the top of your hill when it is time to retreat and to find another hill. Daniel was a gracious man, who did not hold onto his leadership too tightly. He could go with the flow of promotion and demotion. Joseph and Daniel went with the ebb and flow of leadership in their respective days. Humility is a good trait for any leader to have, because it keeps him/her from having too high an opinion of their own leadership.
If you are willing to give up your leadership, you will not protect it at any cost. This attitude keeps you from being corrupted by the power that comes with leadership. If you can keep free of corruption, it can spare you, your followers and the organisation you are leading, a lot of pain. 
No pain, no gain
When we look at most of the leaders in the Bible, we begin touching on the issues of suffering as part of the price for leadership. Most paid a price for leading their people and community. There was the pain of confusion, rejection, hardworking, of following wisdom, maintaining integrity, losing leadership, isolation, as well as facing up to any revealed personal shortcomings. Why does suffering play such a large part in leadership training and the actual job of leading? The answer is very simple: because leadership is a skill carried out by imperfect people in an imperfect world. Leaders care for the needs of others. There is a price to pay when you care passionately about something. Leaders are vulnerable because of their positions. They are always being evaluated by others. Good leaders are in the process of still growing themselves, so effective leaders never stop personal learning.
We need more effective and powerful leaders than ever before, because there are more voices crying out for leadership in the world, nations, churches, missions and organisations. We need men and women whose lives imitate those people in the Bible who were worthy of the name ‘leader’. “Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith. Jesus Christ the same yesterday and today and forever”, Hebrews 13:7-8.
To imitate the faith of former leaders, we need to study their lives and think back over the lives of those we have watched and listened to. Jesus Christ is 100% consistent, the same yesterday, and forever. The lessons He taught in the past from Scripture and society apply to us today. He enabled them to live lives of faith in their workaday worlds. He will enable us to live the life of the applied Christian faith today. Clinton said, “Leadership is a lifetime of lessons. It is not a set of do-it-yourself correspondence courses that can be worked through in a few months or a year”. To have changes in our communities and a better future we need leaders, as Elmore put it, “The way to make a batter future is to impact the next generation of leaders, to give them a head start in their leadership and to help them avoid some difficult pitfalls”.
Be a visionary person
Leadership is a lot about the future, and the future is about vision. Today’s leadership sees what we need to be tomorrow and implements the God-honouring ways of getting there. Characteristics of successful leaders have been extensively studied in recent years. The results show that vision is the only characteristic of effective leadership that is universal for skilled leaders:
1. to establish a vision
2. to set standards for performance and
3. to create a focus and direction for organisational efforts.
It is the privilege and responsibility of leaders to move people, nations, governments, churches, missions and organisations, from where they are today to where they need to be tomorrow. This happens through goal setting, long forward planning, vision casting, or some other names given to developing a fresh, compelling and achievable vision for the future. The vision should build on the mission concept by describing specific future achievements, that would represent substantial and worthwhile fulfillments of the mission. Vision needs to be accomplished by reality, because realistic leaders always respond to the facts. Realism means to be under no illusions. The leader must be an ethical person. An ethical leader is always sensitive to people, for ethics basically means to be of service to others. The crown of all is courage, because a courageous leader always claims the power to initiate, act, and risk. Courage means to act with sustained initiative, full of power, with confidence and hope.
I propose all of these points to help us to become better and more effective leaders. Remember, being called a leader does not mean that we are providing quality leadership to people around us. Leadership can come from anyone, whether they are called leaders or not, because those who serve, communicate, train and build up the team, are the real leaders in any situation regardless of their title or salaries. May God help us be good leaders, who help others to become leaders too. “Together let us impact our generation for good and take leadership to new levels of excellence, by paying the price to be leaders whom God can use and people can follow”.
Using this chapter and Scriptures quoted
1. In your nation/community today, why do you think it is necessary to “gain the skills needed” to lead for “the multicultural context”?
2. How do both 1 Peter 5:1-7 and Matthew 20:20-28 develop power for any leader? What lessons must be learned by the leaders?
3. Looking in a mirror what could a leader see about him/herself in Hebrews 13:7-8? Remember, sometimes a mirror shows us things we do not want to see!
4. “It is the … responsibility of leaders to move people, nations, …churches and organisations, from where they are today to where they need to be tomorrow”.
Make suggestions for how this can best happen. Support your arguments from Scripture.
 Macmillan School Dictionary (Oxford, England) 2004.  Ibid.  Mark L. Branson, & Juan F. Martinez, Church Cultures and Leadership, a Practical Theology of Congregations and Ethnicities (Inter-Varsity Press: Downers Grove, Il., USA) 2011.  Stewart Dinnen You can learn to Lead, A Manual for People in Leadership (Christian Focus Publications: Fearn, Ross-shire, Scotland) 1997.  John W. Stanko So Many Leaders, So Little Leadership, Beyond the Power of Position Lies the Price of Leadership (World Alive Publishers: Nairobi, Kenya) 2009.  Dr. J. Robert Clinton The Making of a Leader (Navpress, Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA) 1988.  Dr. Tim Elmore Nurturing the Leader Within your Child, What Every Parent Needs to Know (Magna Publishing Co. Ltd.: First Edition, Mumbai, India) 2003.  Guy S. Saffold Strategic Planning Leadership through Vision (Evangel Publishing House: Nairobi, Kenya) 2008.  Peter Koestenbaum Leadership, the Inner Side of Greatness, a Philosophy for Leaders (Wiley Imprint: San Francisco, CA, USA) 2002.  John W. Stanko So Many Leaders, So Little Leadership, Beyond the Power of Position Lies the Price of Leadership (World Alive Publishers: Nairobi, Kenya) 2009.