Leaders in waiting

This post was published on 28 May 2019.

Few predicted last year about the turmoil we are in due to the Brexit referendum. I asked one of my colleague about his vote after United Kingdom decided to have divorce from the European Union. His response was, “I voted Leave, not just for political reasons but because my mother-in-law moved to Spain and I want her to stay there”. Another friend’s response was more enlightening when he shared his view while having a nice pint of lager, “Brexit was like the UK got drunk and accidentally unfriended Europe on Facebook”.

When it comes to Facebook or any social media site, our nation seems quite divided on the topic. However, I am neutral on the subject. I am more concerned about the role of leadership in this entire chaos. Theresa May has announced her resignation as Conservative leader, clearing the way for a new prime minister to pick up the formidable challenge of delivering Brexit. In recent European Parliament elections, the Brexit Party, which supports a no-deal Brexit, won the most UK votes. Meanwhile, parties supporting a further referendum, including the Liberal Democrats and the Greens, picked up support. Backing for Labour and the Conservatives, whose members tend to have a broader range of views on the subject, slumped. As the results came in, shadow chancellor John McDonnell, one of Mr Corbyn’s closest political allies, suggested another referendum may be the only way to break the Brexit deadlock in Parliament.

Intrigued by his comments, I asked myself, what if we had a different leadership in the country, will be still in the same position. The question followed by another question, what makes a great leader? A famous Iranian proverb is:

 A gentle hand may lead even an elephant by a hair

So what exactly leadership means? Below are a few definitions:

“Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality.” – Warren Bennis

“As we look ahead into the next century, leaders will be those who empower others.” – Bill Gates

Simply, we could say, ‘Leadership is a process of social influence, which maximises the efforts of others, towards the achievement of a common goal’. Keith Grint introduces four definitions or approaches of leadership: leadership as position, leadership as person, leadership as result, and leadership as process. I have come to the conclusion that leadership cannot be given a single definition. However, what the Bible tells us about leadership? Who is our role model?

Matthew provides an answer in chapter 23 verse 10:

“… There is only one Life-Leader for you and them – Christ”

Yes, it is as simple as that ! We have the best real-life leader – Jesus, who not only against all odds started a ministry (movement of reform) by spreading the message of peace, love and harmony but also laid the foundations of the church, which helped and inspired billions up till now.

Every Christian is called to be a leader in the sense that other people will look to you as an example. You have influence over others in different ways. To be called by God to influence others is an enormous privilege, but it carries with it great responsibility.

We all are leaders and we all should focus on six C’s to become more effective leaders:

  • Confidence
  • Character
  • Criticism
  • Communication
  • Commitment
  • Creativity

I will expand these six C’s in some other post. According to Ralph Nadar, ”The function of leadership is to produce more leaders, not more followers.” Few months back, I had the privilege of talking to Patrick Johnstone at a church’s student night. Patrick Johnstone is well known and respected as researcher and author of the first six editions of Operation World. Patrick emphasised not only on having leadership qualities but also preparing other leaders.

“…the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others.”

2 Timothy 2:2

Patrick has more than 50 years of missionary experience. I asked him a simple question, What qualities should a leader have? His answer was simple but full of wisdom. According to him, four attributes makes someone a great leader.

  1. Loving / Caring nature for all
  2. Accountable / Accountability
  3. Servant / Humble attitude
  4. Teachable / Understanding

These four attributes summarise all dimensions of a leader. Moreover, it is not hard to develop these in our personality. So, do you think, you have what it takes to be a leader ?

2 thoughts on “Leaders in waiting

  1. Hi Mo. An interesting article… you say we are all called to be leaders, and certainly we need more good ones, but it occurs to me that Jesus asked mostly for followers; for people to hear his words and obey them. How about writing a blog post about Followership to go with alongside this post?


    1. Interesting comment. You are right, we all should be first followers than leaders. Probably, it will be a good start to make people more ‘jesus-like’ or ‘followers’ from our own house, friends and places of work. Thank you for giving another dimension.


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