THE ANALYSES AND CRITIQUES OF NINE LEADERSHIP BOOKS:
WHEN YOUR FOUNDATIONS MOVE: THE THREE CRUCIAL TRANSITIONS IN LIFE AND CAREER
What I have found over the years is less of a discovery than solid confirmation: There are predictable transitions–places where the foundations move–in the life and career of every person. How those foundational shifts are handled will, in large measure, determine the success, significance, and satisfaction of that person’s career. Because our work is so intertwined with the rest of our lives, it will have no less dramatic effect on how we come to see the net worth of our larger lives. The first foundational shift will have its roots in the inevitable evolutionary process of becoming one’s own person–when we begin to separate from the expectations and assumptions of the cultures, systems (including educational), and family members around us. More importantly, we begin to separate from our own expectations and fantasies and discover our real drivers and values–what turns us off and what energizes in our life and work. The above quotation resonates with how we think about ourselves personally without outside influence in respect of what we want to do or to become in lives; how we are influenced by the culture we inherit through blood line or by symbiotic relational ecology (living together as people), and how those choices we have made in lives become learning experiences to enable us take alternative decisions with respect to readjustment in order to alleviate or minimize the negative impacts encountered through the kind of jobs, or career we anticipated taking hold of and the choices we have made also in respective of former failed love, failed marriage, or failed relationship. In the author’s deliberation, he discussed three transitions in lives that an individual undergoes. He called them shifts. Definitively, a shift is an occurrence of a phenomenon and such phenomenon can be shaped or planned by the individual involved or sometimes the individual is influenced by the phenomenon through cultural influence based on the counsel of family members or significant others. Such phenomenon controls or shapes the decision we make in lives. The author nomenclatures them as first shift, second shift, and third shift. In the first shift, the individual contemplates what he or she wants to become. In this contemplation, some of the views the individual perceived about himself or herself sometimes can be unrealistic expectations or fantasies about self. Such contemplation becomes unrealistic expectations or fantasies as the result of the individual’s inability to take step to fulfill the dream. For example, someone who is talking about going to school to learn a career never takes a step to do admission. This person is thinking about self in the positive direction; unfortunately, he or she never ventures. This kind of dream perceived is a fantasy due to the lack of action tailored toward accomplishment. In the second shift, the individual is influenced by the culture he or she lives. In this culture, family members and significant others can influence the individual. Such influence can impact the educational, the job, the career, and the love relationship of the individual. It can have both positive and negative impact depending on the counsel the individual has received because there are good and bad counsels. For example, when I arrived in the United States in 2005, I had the desire to teach; unfortunately, I had just arrived in the country and never had credential in the United States to teach in the school system. I have taught in Africa for the past seven years prior to coming to the United States. I knew very well that I am a teacher and I have the passion to teach; unfortunately, I could not teach as the result of lack of teaching credential to teach in the United States; though, I had the credential from Liberia; unfortunately, it could not be accepted. I was advised by one of my significant others to do medical assisting at the community college so I could have employment at the hospital where she worked at the time. I knew that it was not my passion to do medicine; however, I was dissuaded and therefore chose the wrong career. After having completed the general education at the community college, I went into the major. I finally withdrew from the program because it was not my area of passion or drive; however, family or significant others influenced my decision.
In the third shift, the individual rethinks and makes a decision in order to correct the mistakes made previously. At this phase, the individual plans carefully of what he or she is going to do whether be in educational endeavor or marital relationship. It is the period of rethinking about the bad choices made in lives as to readjust to the present situation to make good paths in lives in the area of field of studies such as business, politics, or ministries. In the third shift the author lists stories about people who had made wrong choices in career. In the narrations, it is obvious that the job obtained at the place of employment became problems to them as the result of lack of the personality traits or skills to perform those jobs. God has placed leaders in the position to be guide to their followers or congregations. Leaders have the responsibility to give directions to their followers in respective of what kind of careers to pursue in lives. If people are placed career wise according to their abilities and passions, they can do well and become blessings to the organization they form part of as they offer their services to the organization with reference to their expertise. Leaders are counselors to their followers in the areas of academic, spiritual, or marital relationships. The materials learned from the textbook teach how choices people made in lives can have bearing on the lifelong endeavor. We are held accountable based on the choices we make in lives because responsibility comes with accountability. Choices we make in leadership endeavor, Christian living, marital relationship, divorce, remarriage, infidelity in marriage, and many more can shape our behaviors and negatively or positively affect our lives economically, domestically, educationally, culturally, socially, cognitively, intellectually, and emotionally. Our psychological health well-being depends on the choices we make in lives with reference to how we relate to God and to our neighbors because the choices we make in lives sometimes can have traumatic effects on us based on the gravity and the nature of the situations.
GOOD LEADERS ASK GREAT QUESTIONS: YOUR FOUNDATION FOR SUCCESSFUL LEADERSHIP
People need others to help them stay inspired and growing. Missionary doctor Albert Schweitzer asserted, “In everyone’s life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit.” If you have friends who light your inner fire, you are very fortunate; they will make you want to keep investing in yourself and growing. If you don’t, find some, because nothing is more important for your potential as a leader than your personal daily growth. The theme of this book focuses on the leader’s behavior and character with reference to servant hood leadership; however, the nature of the book focuses on questions that good leaders ask themselves and others. Whenever questions are asked, they challenge people and make them think analytically, creatively, and critically. In the process of analysis, creativity, and criticality, ideas are birthed that give renaissance to the proliferation of both physical and spiritual developments especially those questions that are geared toward infrastructure and human resource development; therefore, questions can serve as fuel to rekindle the spirit or the desires in man to rethink and to reconsider what needs to be done to self and others. The theme and the nature of the book centers on the behavior and the character of the servant leader who is called to live the life of modeling, inspiring, equipping, challenging, and encouraging others who will also take ownership of the vision or the principle of the visionary in carrying out the specific task to accomplished the set goal of the organization. In the above quotation as quoted that people need others to inspire them to pursue certain desire outcomes in lives; however, in the absence of people, question can also serve the same reason to inspire self and others. The writer used various levels of questionnaires that could be asked to allow people and the visionary think. These questions comprise of the question of personal growth, motivation, stability, teamwork, effectiveness, and success. These are categories of questions good leaders ask themselves for inspiration in order to reawaken and to refuel the leaders’ passion to run with the vision. The questions serve the purpose of making behavioral part of the leader to be awakened for inspiration in accomplishing specific task geared toward the team’s vision and the corporate vision. While these categories of questions guide servant hood leadership’s behavioral pattern, the author also discussed the material items that sustain a leader and the value systems that guide his character making him to become an exemplary leader. Primarily, a leader should have passion to enable him to persevere. Passion in leadership is a vital characteristic of the leader that provides energy and credibility to a leader making him to be consistent and persistent in the face of hardship. A leader who emerges victoriously must be passionate about what he is called to do. In the absence of passion, leadership remains stagnated and fails to deliver services to the community of people who need assistance. A leader, who emerges victoriously, must have principles that guide him in leading a community of people from various diverse groupings. Principles are beliefs or gifts that guide the behavior or the personality of the leader. In the absence of principles, there is no purpose or direction a leader will have; therefore, it will be difficult for leaders to define the direction of the followers. People will follow a leader because the leader is operating on the specified principle that is relevant to the vision and its mission. Having no principle is directly proportional to having no guidance or clear vision. For every clear principle, there should be practices that guide it, because success in leadership comes when the leader and his followers are involved in daily practices sustainable to maintaining personal growth. The regular practices help them do the right thing day after day. These practices are practices that guide the behavior and characters of the leader and his followers. Successful people do things daily while unsuccessful people do things occasionally. The final factor that sustains the leader is people. The team a leader builds around him will either wind up the leader or wear him down. The winding up or the wearing down of the leader is characterized by the categories of members on the team. Members who serve on the team should be believers, achievers, conceivers, and relievers to make positive impact to the leadership because each group meaningfully contributes to the organizational leadership. The second category of factors that guides servant hood leadership with reference to character and behavior as discussed in the book include servant hood, purpose, integrity, relationship, and renewal. Great leaders who made impact to their generations were servant to the people; unfortunately, servant hood leadership is rarely seen in our time in the secular world. Not only should the leader be a servant, but a leader should have purpose as discussed early in the discourse because it gives direction to the vision. Integrity is the basic of ethics or morality. People want a leader that has value system; therefore, servant leader should be a person of integrity. Finally, a leader should be involved in renewal. Renewal has to do with replenishing the energy the leader has lost. The leader needs to manage burnout and regroup to maximize effectiveness for efficiency to serve his people and the organization.
The information in the textbook is useful to help leaders work on themselves and their followers in respective characters formation. It is impossible for a leader to give out what he does not have. It works and it is a true statement in all works of lives. A teacher of Chemistry cannot adequately deliver materials in Organic Chemistry if he does not know the series of hydrocarbons in the chains; likewise, a spiritual leader will not deliver spiritual services to the congregation if he is not equipped spiritually to deliver those spiritual services. The materials learned in the textbook are helpful in shaping the image of the leader and his followers whether in the church ministry or professional organization.
THE MASTER COACH MODEL
How can I assist the coachee to see, to solve, and to think for himself? If you are in this mind-set, you are ready to coach. If you are not, then these effective coaching techniques will fall short. A good surgeon performing an operation while tired, angry, or distracted may still be a good surgeon. However, the operation performed when his or her mind is not in the right place is likely to be less than perfect. Coaching can be analogous. If you approach a coaching opportunity without the right mind-set, your efforts are likely to bring more harm than improvement.
The above quotation reminds me some twenty years ago when I was part of the ministry called “World Liberation Ministries International.” During these years of service in this ministry, the coach served in a dual capacity. He served as the coach and the coachee. I cannot remember anyone contributing to the discussion whenever a meeting was called into forum. We were called and told what to do instead of us contributing to the discussion. No one was given an opportunity to give an input into the ministry when it came to us assessing, articulating, and deciding what plan of action should be taken to move the ministry forward; as the result, the ministry hardly maintained workers because many felt that they were not part of the ministry and consequently left. What was carried out in this ministry with respect to coaching does not resemble what the Master Coach Model advocates. Many left the meeting not being satisfied because the manner the visionary handled the discussion. The author of the Master Coach Model has done well to articulate on the issue of coaching when it comes to leadership. He laid out the framework how leaders should approach their congregations or employees to discuss issues relevant to the development and empowerment of the organization. The elements lay out in the Master Coach Model and how they are executed is crucial to the organizational success. The author discusses the interpersonal relationship existing between the coach (the leader) and the coachees (employees or congregations) in three phases. In phase one, called the discussion phase, the coach connects with the coachee in sincerity in order to foster open and honest communication. It must be done with the right mind-set in order to facilitate, to develop, to frame, to pull, and to discover; in response, the coachee must also be in the right mind-set of willingness. The willingness from the coachee to accommodate and to assimilate opens the door that enables the coachee to assess thereby contributing to the discussion. Once the coach connects and the coachee assesses; then, the both will be able to discuss the problem or the challenge and arrive with the solution after thorough questioning from the coach and responses or feel backs obtained from the coachee. The next phase during the deliberation is the discovery phase. In this phase, the coach clarifies, explores, and investigates the magnitude of the problem through questioning. In this session, the coach must listen attentively to understand what the coachee says. When the coach has clarified and the coachee has articulated; then, the both will be able to discover the issue, the challenge, or the problem. The last phase is the decision phase. In this phase, the coach confirms the magnitude of the problem or the challenge and allows the coachee to assess, to articulate, and to have plan of action in solving the existing problem. The coach and the coachee should decide how the problem should be solve; however, the coachee should be given priority to design the course of action literally and practically to solve the existing problem without the interference of the coach except if the coach is in need to give advice or assistance; then, will the coach help in the process. This kind of leadership model fosters good communication between leaders and their followers in addressing issues that confront the organization. In this model, the leader serves as the facilitator to the discussion. The leader facilities the discussion, listens to understand what the followers are saying concerning the problem, asks questions to rephrase what is being said during the discussion, and allows the followers to design the course of action in solving the problem. This model respects the view of others and makes them to feel that they are part of the organization. If people feel that they are part of the organization, they will eventually support it; unfortunately, some leadership in organizations or in government sectors ignores this model. Tyrannical rules are seen in organizations or churches as the result of lack of good coaching in churches or organizations. The tendency for this model to allow people participate in problem solving is the strengths of this book.
The Master Coach Model presents excellent when it comes to discussion on organizational issues; however, it has some weaknesses. I see some restrictions being placed on the coach to unveil the problem even if he or she has seen the problem. He or she must wait on the coachee to see the problem before going ahead. The failure of the coachee to see the problem compels the coach to reschedule or table the meeting. The idea behind this rescheduling or procrastination is allowing the coachees or the followers to own the problem so they can take ownership of the existing problem; unfortunately, in some church settings with respect to some decision that is crucial to making an immediate decision, this model might not work. This model might not work in church setting as the result of the kind of church politics adopted. This model works on one to one counseling session. This model might not be adopted fully when it comes to discussion on church matters that need immediate action. Some of the elements in this model can be integrated in church organizational meeting and counseling session.
A LIGHT IN THE DARKNESS: LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT FOR THE UNKNOWN
Glick and Sarah write,
The fundamental problem was not that we didn’t know how to engage in asymmetric warfare. While asymmetric war might be the war of the next few decades, another type of war, one beyond our imagination, could very well replace it. The problem was that we trained our soldiers against a checklist of proven “best practices” from the known past to face the unknown future. They were instructed to exercise pre-written rules, ones that inevitably failed to anticipate every situation that they faced, instead of thinking for themselves so they could respond to any challenge. In other words, we developed capability–the ability to meet predetermined standards and procedures–but not capacity, the ability to effectively tackle any unanticipated or unknown problem or challenge.
The above quotation resonates with an incidence narrated by the authors of the book. The story is narrated that during the liberation of Iraq after the enemy’s conventional force has been defeated and the Iraqi leadership had gone to the wind; however, some Iraqi units were still attempting to hold on. As the result of the security situations, Rangers were assigned at check points to check or scan vehicles passing through check points; suddenly, a pregnant woman with two children in her vehicle was heard crying that caught the attention of the Rangers asking that she be helped with water so she and her children could drink; therefore, the Rangers decided to help; suddenly, there was an explosion from the car that swallowed the Rangers, the woman, and her children in flame. This was a car bomb installed on the car for a suicide mission. According to the report, this was the first American casualty in Iraq.
In this book, the author defined capability and capacity drawing the difference between the two definitions in respective of application in the real life situation with reference to leadership in various fields of knowledge. She used military educations or trainings as analogies to explain the practical definitions of capability and capacity buildings. She defined capability building as the act of being trained, educated, or prepared to meet pre-determined or known standards and capacity building as the act of being trained, educated, or prepared to meet the unknown.
The book unfolds the situation with reference of how the American soldiers have been trained against checklists or pre-determined standards; therefore, it was hard to determine that such unknown incidence would unfold at the time; in this regard, the author argued that in leadership, it is necessary to train or coach people in a way so they can think on their own to solve problems in the given situation. She placed emphasis on capacity building in leadership development because it allows people to think divergently in autonomous way based on their areas of expertise through collaboration to solve the unknown problems that may arise in any given situation with respect to business, politics, family crisis, global issues, military issues, and many more. In leadership development with respect to both organizational and role model leadership, it is expedient to train or coach people to be able to address situational crisis arising from various arrays of lives in leading people since the generations of people led in this 21st Century landscape respond differently in respective of their orientations and backgrounds. A leader trained and capacitated will be ready to address the concern of the various generations which include the traditionalists, the baby boomers, generation X, and generation Y. Each of these generations can pose problems or crisis to leaders who lead them; therefore, leaders should be well informed to deal with these groups on various levels because each group responds differently to leaders with respect to employment in the church or business world. The traditionalists, the baby boomers, and generation X are expiring based on population density; however, the generation Y forms the huge workforce in this 21st Century; therefore, leaders should be trained in the way to deal with this generation. This generation looks at thing differently as compared to the other three groups. The generation Y has the vision to venture into projects that are geared toward development; unfortunately, leaders of the three groups view generation Y differently based on skills, abilities, and conducts. Generation Y has been viewed as lazy, uncooperative, rude, and so on. It takes leader who understands human behavior based on time, diversity, multiculturalism, and changing dynamic of technology to understand this work force and how to use it in this generation. In the nut shed, it is necessary to build capacity in people instead of capability because capacity building enables them work not under a set standard but allowing them to explore their expertise in solving problem that arise in the given situation. In this book, the author laid emphasis on capacity building over capability building; however, leader leads diverse groups based on cultural orientations or backgrounds. For example, the traditionalists, the baby boomers, and generation X may be used to doing things based on pre-determined standards or checklists as compared to generation Y who may want to do things based on how they view them; therefore, checklists set into place may not be applicable in their situations. Capacity building is good; however, the manner it is applied in various situations matters the most because if people are trained to handle the unknown, how well or by what means are they trained to handle the unknown situation? Leaving the pre-determined standards or checklists and following their own rules can sometimes become dangerous as if no one is in control. It has to do with the what, the why, the how, and the when situation before either of these (capability and capacity) can be applicable in the given situation. The American soldiers according to the book, have been trained according to pre-determined standards or checklists; however, the situation that unfolded that led to their deaths was never expected; therefore, people can be capacitated as they learn through experience. I recommend both capability and capacity buildings in leadership since people that leader leads respond differently to instruction based on their educational and cultural orientations. In the church environment, leaders face people of the above mentioned groups; therefore, to lead people to solve unknown problems as the spiritual leader, there is the need to build spiritual capacity by being attached to the wisdom giver, God. Leaders need wisdom to lead the church. When God asked Solomon what he needed to lead Israel, Solomon asked for wisdom (1 Kings 3:1–15). His obedience and love for God were pre-requisite to receive the discerning heart in order to lead successfully. Leaders need spiritual capacity building through prayer and obedience lifestyle to lead the generations of the 21st Century church ministry in order to coach, to solve the unknown, and to maximize both physical and spiritual boundaries in leadership execution.
LEADING WITH A LIMP: TAKE FULL ADVANTAGE OF YOUR MOST POWERFUL WEAKNESS
A good leader will, in time disappoint. Leadership requires a willingness to not be liked, a willingness to be hated. But it is impossible to lead people who doubt you and hate you. So the constant tug is to make decision that is least offensive to the greater number and then align yourself with those who have the most power to sustain your position and reputation in the organization. Leadership is not about problems and decisions; it is profoundly relational enterprise that seeks to motivate people toward a vision that will require significant change and risk on everyone’s part. Decisions are simply the doors that leaders, as well as followers, walk through to get to the land where redemption can be found.
The above quotation resonates with various issues or themes the book addresses. This book addresses the cost of leadership, the formation of characters by leaders through crisis, the failed leadership where character formation is at stalk and tends to undermine the credibility and integrity of a leader, the test of affirmation of one’s calling as a leader, and the maturing process of a leader geared toward others modeling the leader’s characters to exemplify what a true leader should be and portrayed attributes that differentiate or demarcate organizational leadership to that of the role model leadership.
The author mentioned six realities that leader encounters. The realities are crisis, complexity, betrayal, loneliness, weariness, and glory. In leadership, these realities are encountered and every leader should be prepared to face them in order to grow and to mature. They are scales that shape and measure the essence of leaders in their leadership execution whether it is an organizational or role life model leadership. When a leader leads, crisis will come to test the essence of the character of the leader. Such crisis comes in various morphological formations. It could be the test of morality, the test of stability, the test of dependability, and the test of conviction. All these tests come to assess and to evaluate the integrity of leadership that is tied to crisis in the life of leaders in the organizational or role life model leadership. The leader does not only face crisis, but the leader also faces complexity. The complexity a leader faces tests the manageability of the leaders’ leadership ability to manage programs and people within the organization. As the organization grows, it becomes complex in its strata of formation with respect to the expansion of the various programs in respective of constituencies that affect diversities, multiculturalisms, ethnicities, and people groups that relate to historical and geographical localities. A leader does not only face complexity, but he or she also faces betrayal in the organization to enable him or her test the characters or genuineness of the followers. Betrayal in the organization is inevitable; therefore, every leader should be cognizant and prepared to face it. Our Lord faced; therefore, every leader should be prepared to face it. Betrayal is a tool that grows and matures a leader because experience is gained toward resilience building in leadership unknown the unknown or the unexpected anticipation. The issue of being prepared to face the unknown is also inevitable; therefore, the need to build spiritual capacity through the study of God’s word and praying are recommended or encouraged. A leader does not only face betrayal, but also the leader faces loneliness. In the state of abandonment, the leader experiences loneliness. The abandonment could be the failures of the followers to cooperate with agenda geared toward the betterment of the organization or the failures of some followers to subscribe to the organizational vision and mission. All these can cause frustration to the leader and discourage him or her to run the organization. The leader does not only face loneliness, but also the leader can become weary due to huge tasks placed on the leader. If followers refuse to sacrifice for the organization in rendering voluntary services, this can become a problem for the visionary. Followers should be willing to sacrificially work until the organization can be prepared financially to pay its workers. In most instances, if people cannot work, the leader and his family must take the lead. It happens in all organizations. Realistically, every organization starts with the visionary and his immediate family. Lastly, the leader should be prepared to face the glory of the organization should the organization continue to thrive leading to the harvest. In this phase of the organization, the visionary or the leader is placed on the scale of the test of humility. Some leadership in the world is prone to attribute glory to themselves without recognizing the followers who were used to make such glory to happen. This happens in the organizational leadership who does not recognize God in its endeavor; however, the Christian leadership or role life model leadership should recognize God as the glory taker.
The author said that a leader who limps subverts the expectation of those who define leadership as running an organization because the purpose of limping leadership is the maturing of character. He added that leader is about character and no one grows to maturity alone. These statements also resonate with the quotation in the first paragraph that anyone who aspires to become a leader will be in readiness to be hated because if a leader is a limping leader, the individual will put character formation over the organization. This means, every leader will be accountable and punished for any wrong doing in respect of lack of credibility or integrity. Leaders must live as examples in order to attract people to follow them. People will follow a leaders based on the principles of beliefs and value systems. What a leader stands for must be lived by the leaders. This kind of leadership is called life role model leadership characteristic of the servant hood leadership or biblical leadership taught by our Lord Jesus Christ. The author draws a line of demarcation between organizational leadership to that of the role life model leadership laying emphasis on the limping leadership. These are some of the strengths of the book.
The materials learned from the textbook are educative or informative to leadership development in term of character formation and. The information learned from the textbook can be adopted in church ministry leadership development and among others.
The author writes, “But it is impossible to lead people who doubt you and hate you. So the constant tug is to make decision that is least offensive to the greater number and then align yourself with those who have the most power to sustain your position and reputation in the organization.”
The above quotation is the fraction of the quotation in the initial paragraph; however, this statement from my clue does not indicate that the writer supports the idea of compromise in the situation where one has to take a decision that is least offensive to the greater number in order to align oneself with the members of the hierarchy to be supported or sustained as the leader in the organization. This is what happens practically in the organization of the world; unfortunately, it also happens in the church as well. If this statement were made in isolation of supposition; then, it could become a concern or challenge that warrant further research or examination of scriptures based on biblical ethics or practices. I did not figure out any concern in the textbook that warrants further investigation in regard to research.
LEARNING LEADERSHIP: THE FIVE FUNDAMENTALS OF BECOMING AN EXEMPLARYLEADER
The author writes,
Leadership potential isn’t something that some people have and other people don’t. It’s much more broadly distributed than traditionally accepted views suggest. You already have the capacity to lead, but some prevailing myths and assumptions about leadership get in the way of you becoming the best leader you can be. To become an exemplary leader, you have to move past the myths and get down to applying the fundamentals that will enable you to learn and grow as a leader. Leadership is essential because it makes a significant difference in people’s levels of engagement, commitment, and performance. Developing your leadership capabilities will help you improve the way people around you feel about workplace and promote more productive organizations. Learning to be a better leader also enhances your feelings of self-worth and meaningfulness.
The above quotation clearly indicates the theme of the entire book. In the quotation, the author asserts that everyone has the capacity to become a leader; therefore, every human being is a potential leader; however, to fulfill this dream in becoming a leader, the individual should be cognizant concerning the various myths that serve as impediments to decelerate the individual of becoming the leader. Having the clear understanding of these myths and the various fundamentals enables the individual to define the fundamentals in practical application to self in the leadership practicum and therefore recognizes and isolates the myths. The approach to isolate the myths and to apply the fundamentals will enable the individual to develop leadership capability from the storehouse of capacities built in the individual leader and therefore engages and enforces people’s levels of engagement, commitment, and performance in order to promote productive organizations in the workplace. From the analysis of the above statement, the various myths and the fundamentals which serve as the strengths of the book will be discussed briefly to draw a dichotomy between a leader and a non-leader with relative to behavior. The author states that leadership is not a talent that you have or you don’t. It is not a talent, but an observable, learnable set of skills and abilities. There is a vast difference between “being good” and “getting better.” Everyone has the capacity for leadership; however, capability must be developed through learning and application to enable the individual discovers his or her potentials as a leader. “Being good” and ‘getting better” are determined by the behavior of the potential leaders. Unless the skills or abilities are shaped through training and practice, capabilities are never built in the leader; therefore, it is recommended to everyone to venture into leadership in order to see the true worth of the leader. One does know if he or she is a leader unless he or she enters into leadership arena. To isolate the myths and to accommodate the fundamentals, we shall briefly discuss them in subsequent statements:
The Talent Myth: This myth believes that leadership is a talent; therefore, talented individual is a leader and does not need to develop capability in becoming a leader. This is false because leadership skills can be developed over time through an observable and learnable set of skills and abilities. Research indicates that raw talent is not all there to make someone to become a top performer ( Kouzes & Posner, pp 5).
The Position Myth: This myth associates leadership with a hierarchal position and assumes that leadership is a title of authority. If you don’t have a title, then, you are not a leader (Kouzes & Posner, pp 6).
The Strengths Myth: This myth believes that one should take on tasks in areas which one is strong at instead of wasting time to attend to one’s weaknesses in areas one does not have the natural talent; therefore, the organization should assign the tasks to other people instead of the individual marked for such position (Kouzes & Posner, pp 7).
The Self-Reliance Myth: This myth believes that leadership can be done without the assistance of others. This ideology is the proliferation of tyrannical regimes in the world. Leadership is a team sport and not a sole performance (Kouzes & Posner, pp. 9).
The It-Comes-Naturally Myth: This belief supports that leadership comes naturally to people and the individual who has the natural talent and strengths is good at leading (Kouzes & Posner, pp 10).
These myths can pose impediments to leaderships exercise because they can affect people’s behavior since leadership is not all about personality, but is about behavior. Having discussed these myths, let us look at the fundamentals that foster leadership capabilities. These fundamentals include modeling, inspiring, challenging, enabling, and encouraging. To become a successful leader to make impact, a leader should model the way. A leader should live by example by practicing and affirming shared values of the organization. A leader should not live by shared value systems only, but a leader should inspire his followers by sharing his beliefs or vision and taking the lead to make sure that the vision is embodied to make impact. A leader should also challenge the process by searching for opportunities and seizing them for innovative way to improve. A leader should enable others through the fostering of collaboration, trust, relationship, and increasing self-determination and developing competence. Finally, a leader should encourage the heart through the recognition of individual’s contribution to the organization and the celebration of the values and victories by creating a spirit of the community.
With respect to the strengths myth, some of the statements made with respect to people’s ability to do certain things and not to do certain things cannot be disproved totally since people learn differently based on multiple intelligence or intelligentsia. It is true that leadership can be developed overtime; nevertheless, some people might not be able to understand or absorb certain trainings in respective of field of studies. For example, someone who is trained in human resource management might not be able to serve as effective leader to manage military people based on the nature of the job, the anxiety, and the stress involved in dealing or leading the military in the time of warfare.
The fundamentals learned in this book are informative to enable me develop my leadership capabilities in the organizational or role life model leadership arenas. These fundamentals help leaders to develop strategic approach in leading and should be encouraged to be adopted in both role life model leadership in the church world or the secular organization.
GEN Y NOW: MILLENNIALS AND THE EVOLUTION OF LEADERSHIP
Buddy and Sendek write,
Leaders throughout history have always had to face and overcome challenges. This is the nature of leadership. When faced with an obstacle, leaders call on their teams, advisors, instinct, and past precedent to determine the best course of action. Rarely do leaders face a challenge that has never, in some form or another, been addressed by someone else. Usually, there is some sort of past experience to draw upon. Until now. As a leader you are faced with a very unique challenge one that has never before in history been faced by business leaders. For the first time in history, there are four generations of workers in the workforce. Four distinct generations of people who bring their own personal and generational challenges to the work world. You may or may not be leading all four generations at the moment, but it is a near certainty that someone you interact with employs all four. As we have worked with organizations around the world, especially when we are speaking to groups, it is very rare if all four generations are not represented in the room. This quotation resonates with leadership crisis faced by leaders and the generations of the workforce employers or leaders in organizational or role life leadership encountered when it comes to employment in companies for profiteering or in charitable organization such as the church. Every crisis a leader faces in not new to leadership because such crisis had existed before; therefore, leadership crisis is a circular historical one as opposed to the linear one. It is not eschatological in nature as the study of the unfolding of events culminating to the consummation of the end time event in the biblical scene. Leadership crisis is the continuum of learning, maturing, and the fulfilling of the principle or view the visionary has that gives direction to the mission of the organization. Human resource management involves the introspection of self identity emotionally and the understanding of emotional intelligence of self and others that the leader is held responsible to manage; therefore, leadership is not the easy task to reckon with. It takes persistency, endurance, dedication, passion, and consistency to foster the allover mission of the organization taking into consideration the corporate vision, the team vision, and the individual vision. Every leader has a vision and should have the ability to craft the vision; however, leaders fail not because of the intellectual understanding of the vision, but understanding the importance of the task. Creating the vision is not only for the visionary, but all leaders of the organization should have the vision of where they are leading their teams. These visions should agree with the larger vision and this vision should help to align the Gen Y’s vision for themselves. The preceding paragraph mentions generation Y which is crucial to this discussion and forms the central theme of this analysis because this generation has been stereotyped based on misconceptions from the other three generations. The authors introduce four generation of the workforce. They include the Traditionalists born between 1922–1944, the Baby Boomers born between 1945–1964, the Generation X born between 1965–1976, and Generation Y born between 1977–1995. These generations form the workforce in the business world whether it is profit or non-profit organization. Employers or church leaders encounter these generations when it comes to employment; therefore, it is necessary to understand these generations for effective leadership. The failure to understand these generations poses problems to leadership when it comes to human resource management and among others. The book focuses on these generations; however, it places emphasis on the Generation Y that forms 80 million of the American populations. Generation Y forms the workforce of the larger populations and their way of doing things is quite different from the three generations. The other three generations operate according to pre-defined standard or against checklist; unless, the Generation Y does not work in that manner; therefore, this Generation has been labeled as rude, unserious, unpredictable, not compliant, and difficult to work with. There are prejudices or biases being placed against this group as the result of misconception about the group; therefore, church leaders, employers, or visionaries should understand this group to enable them lead their organization successfully because the group form the larger workforce in this 21st Century. The other three generations are getting extinct. The Generation Y is good at technology and is prepared for the unknown. They are opened to capacity building and are powerful working force in this 21st Century Workforce. Labeling and categorizing them as unserious, rude, unpredictable, and criminal based on their dress code, marking on their bodies etc. is a mistake according to the information. The main theme of the book is how leaders or employers can be able to employ, to equip, and to entrust this group with responsibility based on work ethic and productivity? The authors explain that this group can be used and become productive in the workforce provided leaders are prepared to stop stereotyping this group based on their misconceptions and release the group to the workforce. Church leaders should know that the congregations they have contain the larger portion of the Generation Y; therefore, church leaders should also know this generation and give responsibilities according to the individual’s ability to perform certain tasks in the church. There is the tendency that we spiritual leaders judge people according to their appearance and past lifestyle that we know about. Stereotyping group based on feelings, people’s opinion, and among others is the obstacle to effective leadership. The misconception pointed out about this group and how leaders can recruit and manage this group to the workforce is the strengths of the book.
The materials learned from the textbook are useful to human capacity building and human resource management and such information can be adopted in church leadership for the maximization or expansion of human involvement in the church ministry both locally and globally in the recruitment of the workforce.
JESUS ON LEADERSHIP: DISCOVERING THE SECRETS OF SERVANT LEADERSHIP FROM THE LIFE OF CHRIST
The author writes,
Leadership begins when a God-revealed mission captures a person. This person turns leader as he becomes servant to the mission. Before mission, there is no need or motivation to lead. The leader then sees a picture of what the mission looks like in the future and casts his vision of that mission to others. Vision is a leader’s unique rendering of the mission. Leadership turns to service when the leader equips those recruited to carry out the now-shared mission. Leadership is complete when the equipper empowers those he has equipped into teams to maximize resources in order to execute the mission. Simply put: Servant leadership is passionate service to the mission and to those who join the leader on that mission. The above quotation captures the entire theme of this book. Leadership is encapsulated in mission; therefore, the tendency for the potential leader or visionary to aspire in becoming a leader, there should be a task or mission to be accomplished. It is the mission that broadens the vision of an individual to cast or sell his vision to potential followers. Leadership will be viewed as service when the visionary equips his followers with the objectives of maximizing both physical and spiritual resources to meet the set goal of the organization. This is the birth of servant hood leadership that is passionate of service to God, to one another, and to humanity at large. In order to birth the passionate leadership for the glory of God, the author discusses seven principles of leaders that are tailored toward achieving this God giving servant hood leadership. Primarily, the leader must have a humble heart to wait on God for exaltation (Luke 14:7–11). The leader must humble himself to the mission entrusted to him; or else, the mission remained unaccomplished. The leader must first be a follower of Jesus rather than seeking a position (Mark 10:32–40). Every servant leader must be a follower of God. One does not give out anything in a vacuum. It is impossible to lead successfully if one has not become a follower of God in the servant hood leadership. The leader must find greatness in service. In doing this, servant leader gives up personal rights to find greatness in the service of others (Mark 10:45). All great leaders who made impact to their generations were servants to the people they led. Servant leaders should risk their lives in serving others because they trust that God is in control of their lives (John 13:3). When servant leaders risk their lives in serving others in the dangerous or well situation, they should trust God with God’s absolute control of their lives in the given situation. Risking one’s life is part or principle of becoming a servant leader. Jesus is the perfect example of servant hood leadership. Servant leader should take up the towel in order to meet the needs of others (John 13:4–11). Taking the towel of Jesus is symbolic of being a servant to others done in humility without pretence. Servant leaders should share responsibility and authority with their followers in order to meet the needs of others (Acts 6:1–6). When the leader has equipped the followers; then, the period of recruitment is ripe. At this junction, servant leaders should share tasks relevant to the execution of the mission. Sharing tasks or responsibilities among team members for the furthering of the mission is crucial to vision fulfillment. The last principle of servant hood leadership is the building of a team. Servant leaders multiply their leadership by empowering others to lead (Mark 6:7). Building teams to share the corporate vision of the organization on one side; on the other hand, various teams created in the organization should also have specific vision departmentally with objectives to meet the team goal within the corporate vision to support the overall mission of the organization; therefore, team building is crucial to mission accomplishment in the organizational leadership.
The author adds,
No matter how smart, talented, and persuasive you are naturally or by training, you are not the leader until the group you are leading says so. The mantle of leadership is bestowed on you by those who grasp your mission and choose to follow you. You cannot wrest that mantle from those who do not share your mission or who refuse to follow you. You earn the place of leader through authentic leaderships and character. Whether you hold a position of leadership or not, to lead, you must gain the trust of those you have recruited or who have been entrusted to you. The follower holds the final power to determine the leader. Having discussed the behavior of the servant leadership explained in the seven principles, it is now about time that we discuss the character of the servant leader. In rhetorical speech or communication, the speaker uses three levels of communications to impress his or her audience. The first level of communication has to do with the dictions or choices of words used known as logos. Logos (word) is the diction of words used to build impression in the listeners. The kind of words used can impress or not impress the listeners to continue listening to the speech; therefore, leaders should be careful what kind of words used to their audiences. The second level of communication has to deal with the lifestyle of the leader. Servant leadership should live exemplary lifestyle of Jesus Christ. Leaders will convince their followers or audiences by the lives they live before their people; therefore, modeling for the leaders is significant to draw people to the organization. Naturally, people want to follow leaders who do not have reproach in society; therefore, the ethos (ethics) of the leader is the foundation for the leaders to appeal to the emotion of his or her listeners. To win the pathos (emotion) of the followers, the leaders should live a life of integrity in the society. The lifestyles leader live in society may or may not draw followers to the leaders or the organization; therefore, character is the bedrock or the foundation for authentic leadership. The above quotation resonates in reference to good character formation and authentic servant hood leadership for the leader. The emphasis laid on the behavior and the character of the servant leader in the book is the strength of the book. The ideologies portrayed in the book with reference to the seven principles of the servant leader in respective of behavior and character formation are crucial to the leadership that God has called me to. These principles of leadership should be adopted in my calling to guide my behavior and character in the ministry that God has called me to do and to be.
LEAD LIKE JESUS: LESSONS FOR EVERYONE FROM THE GREATEST LEADERSHIP ROLE MODEL OF ALL TIME
Blanchard and Hodges write,
The most dramatic difference between life role leadership and organizational leadership involves the permanence of the relationships the leader is trying to influence. Life role leaders function in enduring life-long relationship as parents, spouses, siblings, friends, and citizens, where duty and obligation cannot be easily relinquished or discarded. Organizational leaders, on the other hand, operate for a season in an environment of temporary relationships and change. People in positions come and go in organizations for all sorts of reasons. Most of the leadership that shapes our lives does not come from leaders with titles on an organization chart; it comes from leaders in our daily life role relationships. It is instructive to note that in the early church, a candidate’s life role leadership was a prerequisite for assuming organizational leadership (1Timothy 3:1–7). The theme of the entire book is centered on role life leadership taught by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The quotation explains the difference between the organizational leadership to that of the role life leadership referencing the duration of each and its nature of works with respect to its effect on the individual influenced. Life role leadership is the prerequisite that qualifies an individual to hold organizational leadership since it shapes the individual to become a servant leader. Leading like Jesus advocates for serving others instead of being served. The author introduces four domains that influence the behavior, personality, and the leadership style of the servant leader. These domains directly influence the motivation of the leader to serve or to be served, the principle of beliefs or views of the leader, the action of the leader that directly impacts the followers of the leader, the practices of the leader that make the leader to accelerate or decelerate in the leadership capacity whether being an organizational or the life role leadership arena. For this work, these domains should be tailored toward role life leadership since this paper focuses on leading like Jesus based on servant hood leadership.
The author lists four domains of leading like Jesus leader that stand for the descriptions of the above; meanwhile, these domains include the heart, the head, the hands, and the habits of the servant leader. The heart and the head are internal nature of the servant leader that influence the motivation of the leader to serve or to be served and the principle of belief systems that makes the leader to persevere in his endeavor to influence his followers to believe what he believes, to pursue what he pursues, to die for what is expected of him. What is in the heart and the head is internal to the leader; however, it will be shown or portrayed openly based on the hands or the actions demonstrated by the leader. What is hidden in the heart and the head is demonstrated through the leader’s action. What he thinks in his heart has the direct impact on his view or principle of life stored in his head, the area of analytic, creative, and critical thinking to make decision that shapes the followers and the organization he leads. The hands or the action of the leader determine if whether the leader is able to positively or negatively affect his follower; therefore, it also determines if the leader will have followers based on volition of the followers. I am making this statement because, in some parts of the world, dictators forced people to become their followers against the people’s will. A leader will have followers by volition provided the person’s action is in line with ethics or morality of good leadership. The habit of the leader is determined by what is also in the heart influenced by his principle of practices. Good habits of the leader that bring renewal and revival in the leader’s life are crucial to the leader’s success in his leadership endeavor. Praying, reading the word of God, going for professional development seminar, visiting followers or members of the organization, helping members or followers of the organization etc. are all good practices or habits a servant leader should exhibit or portray. The practices of self renewal and others are vital to servant leadership for effectiveness and efficiency.
The author laid out tools that help reinforce each of the domains discussed and therefore engages and guides the leader’s level of commitment to the vision that gives direction to how the mission should be accomplished by set objectives to meet specific goal. The tools correlate to each of the domains as outlined below.
The heart: Tool #1. This tool is called “Lead Like Jesus Readiness Exam” that reminds the leader of issues that matter the most about his leadership activities. It has to do with self-examination. Is the leader ready to serve or be served? Is his leadership self-centered based on self-interest or Jesus-centered based on serving others?
The head: Tool #2. This tool is called the “Emergency Number for the Soul” that serves as resilient against fear and pride in time of trials and temptation. To be a strong servant leader to please God, the leader’s will power should be influenced and guided by godly principle of God guided by biblical or theological principle in the light of scriptures. What a leader does, is it ethical in the light of biblical, Christian, or servant hood leadership?
The hands: Tool #3. This tool is called “Power Drill for Uncovering Your True Leadership Motivation” that improves the leader’s awareness and drives his willingness to serve as the leader by applying the measure of brutal honesty. The tool guides leader’s behavior and reminds the leader of distinctness in respective of integrity or prestige.
The habits: Tool #4. This tool is called “Lead Like Jesus Personal Assessment and Action-Planning Guide.” The tool rates the consistency of the leader in applying the “Lead Like Jesus” in daily decision and activities, forms the four domains of leadership–the heart (motivation), the head (point of view), the hands (behavior), and habits (spiritual renewal activities), shares action plans with person with regards to accountability based on duties (prayers), and writes down goals intentional as reminders for specific prayer points.
The domains of the servant leadership and the corresponding tools geared towards strengthening these domains for effective leadership are strengths of the book; however, the information in the book becomes reality in the life of the leader based on convictions, disciplines that guides the behavior of the leader, and good practices that help the leader to recruit and to equip followers in carrying out the organizational mandates.
The materials learned from the textbook are adoptable in Christian leadership and are recommended for good leadership in the spiritual scene.
Allender, Dan B. Leading with a Limp: Take Full Advantage of Your Most Powerful Weakness. Colorado Springs: WaterBrook Press, 2006.
Blanchard, Ken & Hodges, Phil. Lead Like Jesus: Lessons for Everyone from the Greatest Leadership Role Model of All Time. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2005.
Buddy Hobart, John W. and Sendek, Herb. Gen Y Now: Millennials and the Evolution of Leadership. San Franscisco: John Wiley & Sons, Inc, 2014.
Glick, J.C and Ngu, Sarah. A Light in the Darkness: Leadership Development for the Unknown. New Jersey: Kenning Press with Lighting Press, 2017.
Kouzes, James M. and Posner, Barry Z. Learning Leadership: The Five Fundamentals of Becoming an Exemplary Leader. San Francisco: The Leadership Challenge, 2016.
Maxwell, John C. Good Leaders Ask Great Questions: Your Foundation for Successful Leadership. New York: Hachette Book Group, Inc, 2014.
Smith, Arthur J. The Master Coach Model. High Point: Leadership Systems, Inc, 2015.
Thompson, Michael C. When Your Foundations Move: The Three Crucial Transitions in Life and Career. Bloomington: iUniverse, Inc., 2013.
Wilkes, Gene C. Jesus on Leadership: Discovering the Secrets
of Servant Leadership from the Life of Christ. Wheaton: Tyndale House
Publishing, Inc., 1996.
C. Michael Thompson, When Your Foundations Move: The Three Crucial Transitions in Life and Career (Bloomington: iUniverse, Inc.), 2013, xi–xiii.
John C. Maxwell, Good Leaders Ask Great Questions: Your Foundation for Successful Leadership (New York: Hachette Book Group, Inc), 2014, 30.
 J Arthur Smith, The Master Coach Model (High Point: Leadership Systems, Inc), 2015, 11.
J.C Glick & Sarah Ngu, A Light in the Darkness: Leadership Development for the unknown (New Jersey: Kenning Press with Lighting Press), 2017, 17.
Dan B. Allender, Leading with a Limp: Take Full Advantage of Your Most Powerful Weakness (Colorado Springs: WaterBrook Press), 2006, 14.
Ibid., pp 143
Ibid., pp 144
Ibid., pp 14.
James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner, Learning Leadership: The Five Fundamentals of Becoming an Exemplary Leader (San Francisco: The Leadership Challenge), 2016, 1.
Ibid., pp 5
John W. Buddy Hobart and Herb Sendek, Gen Y Now: Millennials and the Evolution of Leadership (San Francisco: John Wiley & Sons, Inc), 2014, 11.
Ibid., pp 12
C. Gene Wilkes, Jesus on Leadership: Discovering the Secrets of Servant Leadership from the Life of Christ (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishing, Inc), 1996, 19.
Ibid., pp 25
Ibid., pp 25
Ibid., pp 25
Ibid., pp 26
Ibid., pp 26
Ibid., pp 26
Ibid., pp 27
Ibid., pp 27
Ken Blanchard & Phil Hodges, Lead Like Jesus: Lessons for Everyone from the Greatest Leadership Role Model of All Time (Nashville: Thomas Nelson), 2005, 10.