- …. who called you into leadership?
The inspiring thought of unleashing the purpose for which a thing or a person was created answers the question of dreams fulfilment, success and breakthroughs. Purpose speaks to the original intent for which something is manufactured, produced or brought into being. Abnormal functionalities result when the thing deviates from how it’s supposed to function. Purpose identified limits the learning curve, channels efforts, empowers and creates room to remain focused on the important.
Is there a calling to champion an agenda, lead or remain the leader in your chosen field of endeavour? Have you been called into something greater than yourself? Have you identified the purpose that will bring fulfilment and touch the core essence of your being? If there was a calling, then there was a caller. Leadership, it is said, is a calling. Who called you?
This series seeks to draw inspiration for impact, and serves as a directional stimulant and guiding tool for how we can unleash the power of calling and purpose in satisfying our quest to finding a meaningful life, understand and operate in purpose, as well as making the world a better place by fulfilling our God-given mandates in life. That certainly is not all: let us deal with Moses, John the Baptist, Apostle Paul and Judas Iscariot as they functioned in their missions and leadership assignments in ‘Purpose Unleashed, who called you into leadership?’
In the words of Dr. Myles Munroe, purpose is the original intent in the mind of the creator that motivated Him to create a particular item. It is the ‘why’ that explains the reason for existence. Purpose is calling into leadership and something uniquely designed to be addressed, managed, solved or have the urge and advantage over to bring an impact. The Purpose of a thing must be understood from an original intent of the maker. The emphasis is that everything in life has a purpose. Without purpose, life is an experiment or a haphazard journey that results in frustration, disappointment and failure. Purpose identified is a calling into something bigger and greater than the person’s self.
Pursuing purpose will keep your mind and spirit fuelled and rejuvenated. It will guide you to your destiny and serve as a requirement to fulfilling life’s mission. The question, however, is do you want to know the true meaning of your life, fulfill your dreams and unlock your destiny? It all starts with discovering your life purpose and the key to personal fulfilment serving as the catalysts needed to unlock all secrets and discovery of one’s destiny.
Obviously, the greatest tragedy in life is not death but life without a reason (purpose). It is dangerous to be alive and not know why you were given life. To lay emphasis on this point is to suggest that if I were dealing with a mobile phone, a television set, a home-appliance gadget or an automobile machine, one would obviously point to a manual or a written code defining how the thing has to function. The intent is defined by the maker or the manufacturer so to speak.
Likewise, the creations of God which have their intents, purposes, mandates and missions coded by the master builder – God. Since man is a creation of God, there’s to a large extent His intentions for creating man generally and in the broader sense individual mandates on earth. Purpose identified unleashes power, creates imaginary roadmaps and builds capacity to stay focused to pursue the needful.
The Leadership Trajectory and Assignment of Moses
The scripture Exodus 9:16 (But I have raised you up for this very purpose and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth) makes reference and largely supports the assertion that the intention is in the purpose for which the thing was created. In the light of this reading, God challenged Moses to face the Egyptians, announcing to them His intentions to wipe away the generation if they failed to heed the call to let His people go from Egypt. The task seemed daunting, challenging and unproductive because Pharaoh was equally a tough match. But God’s admonishment to Moses was to let him know that for this very purpose he was born, raised and nurtured to carry the burden of the Israelites by liberating them from slavery and bondage.
This challenging encounter was certainly Moses’ calling and purpose, which had clearly been designed on liberating a people from bondage and to set them up into a future only the leader could envisage and define. In the light of exercising his mandate, Moses was exhausted in strength, energy dissipated, focus shifted and commitments waned because of the fierce opposition met by Pharaoh and the unyielding support received by his people in exercising the mission.
The obvious key learnings that could serve the purpose for understanding leadership mandates, the exercise of power and authority from reading the account of Moses, John the Baptist, Judas Iscariot and any leader alike are that the call into leadership is a call by God. At least the foundational scripture in Exodus has given a hint of Moses birth and calling. Again, the trajectory of the calling process and the fulfilment of mandate are fraught with challenges and exciting learnable experiences. This suggests that each one is called into something bigger than himself or herself, which must be identified and pursued.
His Skills and Experience
Notably so, Moses as a leader was challenged by eloquence – hence his desire to have another take up the mantle to redeem the Israelites. The need and desire for excellent communication and strong leadership-support necessitated the calling of Aaron to partner Moses. In this episode, it was desirably important to have power or authority to ensure the execution of tasks. Therefore, the staff of authority and power went with the call to lead. Leadership comes with authority.
Meanwhile, one will realise that the circumstances surrounding Moses’s birth, upbringing and how his mandate was carried out depicts a true sense of the call into leadership. That leadership is a process of social influence in which one person can enlist the aid and support of others in the accomplishment of a common task.
Who am I? Self-awareness (shortcomings)
Moses asked questions and God provided answers. He demanded signs and proves for the success of his mission. He turned to look at his inabilities (questioned his slow speech and tongue). God answered and said, who gave man his mouth? Who makes him deaf and mute? Who gives him sight or makes him blind? I will help you speak and teach you, Aaron to speak for you, Staff to perform miraculous signs. God admonished Moses to use the power given to him to perform all the wonders and miracles (the power to do).
The doubt – what if they don’t believe in me? “What is in your hands?” asked God (what are your qualities and skills). Put your hand in your cloak and take water from the Nile and pour it on the ground.
The self-denial – I have never been eloquent. God’s response to Moses indicated that He strengthens us for leadership. Speaking well as a leader is very important; as such, Aaron was brought in to assist. Leadership also requires further teachings and learnings to sharpen skills for success (and the Lord committed to teach Moses and Aaron).
It is also observed that leadership must go with the ability to use power and authority to function (take this staff to perform miracle is a sign of approval, authority and power). Moses performed all the signs God had asked him to perform for the elders, and they believed him (this is selling of the vision). Why was his state of not being eloquent not changed by God but instead saw the coming-in of Aaron to partner? God understood the essence of collaborative partnerships and the alignment of team performance for effectiveness and success.
John the Baptist’s Call into Leadership and key Leadership lessons:
The popular phrase “He must increase that I must decrease” is an instructive statement for leadership consideration and emulation. John the Baptist in our modern day life would have been described as a celebrity because of his large following and impact on the people. He did not allow the success of his calling and career to affect his relationship with the people. He understood leadership from the perspective principle of humility. By humility, he made way for Jesus Christ’s career to receive a boom-start by shifting attention and focus of the people to Him. How many leaders of today would credit their subordinates or followers for all their successes and fortunes?
The John the Baptist leadership experience teaches us with the lesson that true humility is a demonstration of leader-follower impact through mentorship guidance – the ability of identifying potential in followers and giving same the opportunity to help harness their potential. Here, John the Baptist is saying that humility must be demanded of our leaders as the only means by which they will decrease and their followers increase. Through humility, leaders will stay within their purpose irrespective of the fame and influence, for a certain Jesus would appear where they would have to push their crowd and everything achieved to.
The role of Judas Iscariot, the Betrayer and leadership keynotes:
The human heart is beyond understanding, and there is something incomprehensible about a person who abandons the faith they once professed. Judas’ story contains an important lesson for leaders. With Judas’ own eyes, he saw the clearest evidence. With his own ears, he heard the finest teachings. With his own feet, he followed the greatest example. And yet he betrayed the leader (Jesus).
Could Judas be blamed for betraying the Messiah? Messiah is understood to mean the deliverer of the people. Jesus’s death and the perfection of His assignment had in consideration Judas’s role to make it complete. Judas had a role to play, and that largely defines his ultimate purpose on earth. There could have been alternative means for the Messiah to die, but under this case Judas was doomed for this assignment and to complete and make perfect what had been planned.
The moral lesson here suggests that as leaders pursues the ultimate call and agenda, a certain Judas is always around who will have to be embraced yet managed. Not all the bad nuts in organisational setting are so bad as to warrant a dismissal or be trampled upon, but are to be looked at and essentially understood that they are part of the original plan for execution of the mandate.
The key leadership issue for consideration is that, should your Judas be identified as a leader in your organisation, would you tolerate the outcome he may bring? What would be your choice of decision regarding the presence of your Judas’ actions? Would you grant your Judas opportunity to grow and change? Lastly, how would you regard their commitment to improve and vice versa? Your leadership Judas in that organisation surely would make the organisation sit up, engineer innovative means of service, bring revolutionary change for attainment of the organisation’s goal and objectives. Under this circumstance, let every leader identify his or her Judas.
Personal Reflection on Paul’s Leadership
Paul’s leadership was a model for imitation, as he commended others to imitate him. His leadership was rational, personal and directed toward the good of others. It was located and exercised within a network of relationships which he valued and fostered. Paul had heart-felt love and affection for those he preached to and led. His letters depicted countless personal connections and were directed to specific churches. Adaptability is seen as a great hallmark of skills Paul had, considering his change of leadership style to meet and deal with different situations as he encountered the people from different churches and situations. Paul was seen as a change-agent in its most dramatic and courageous sense.
In addition, Paul took active steps to foster relationships. His letters were themselves a means of being present with those from whom he was physically absent. The goal of his missionary journeys was not simply to preach but to establish relationships. Paul’s leadership reflected the weakness, foolishness, lowliness, humiliation, self-sacrifice, self-denial and suffering of his Lord.
Our take from this great man relative to leadership lessons is that leadership thrives on relationship building and the maintenance of teams and groups. Paul was present and he made sure he maintained in close touch with his people, became a teacher in mediating, teaching and setting good examples for emulation.
Calling, Purpose and leadership
If it’s your calling, you will find your purpose in it and become the leading champion for the little effort invested. One may be fruitful in his chosen field, but that may not necessarily be his or her calling. It seems clear that in the future success will come to those organisations and leaders who not only know what to do but how to do it, and have the skills to accomplish changes and implementation; thereby turning performance knowledge into organisational action and, as a consequence, superior organisational results.
An effective leader seeks to guide and correct with patience and gentleness. The call to lead requires to be kind to all, be able to teach, have patience when wronged, and act with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition. To be gentle is not weakness but rather power under control. The patient person endures negative circumstances and never gives in to them. Effective leaders will be characterised by patience and gentleness as they guide and correct their followers.
The God-called leader is immeasurably effective and possesses the greater unique qualities:
They seek to mentor and train the next generation
Developing the next generation of leaders is an essential characteristic of leadership. Leaders of today in our organisations must become skilled, committed growers of effective leaders, staff and governance people. John C. Maxwell defines mentoring as an enlarging process, helping followers to see their potential, to cast a vision for their future, tap into their passion, address character flaws, focus on their strengths, enlarge them one step at a time and put resources in their hands, expose them to enlarging experiences and teach them to be self-enlargers.
Leadership is understood here not as dealing with how a particular leader understands and develops the organisational structure of his or her group, but as how a leader interacts with members of the group in order to get individuals within the group as a whole to adopt certain values, goals, practices or behaviour.
They seek a servant’s heart
There are several ways to demonstrate a servant’s heart in a position of leadership. Service to followers is the primary responsibility of God-called leaders and the essence of ethical leadership. Service includes nurturing, defending and empowering followers. They must listen to followers, learn about their needs and aspirations, and be willing to share in their pain and frustrations. They keep trust with them by being completely honest and open, keeping actions consistent with values and sharing trust in followers.
They seek fair and respectable compensation and recognition
Kent suggested that ‘double honour’ refers to a proportionate increase in respect and appreciation which includes adequate remuneration. Financial compensation should be administered fairly and respectably as well, to recognise and compensate for hard work. Brinckerhoff (1994) equally opines that leaders must go out of their way to compliment deserving group efforts. Positive reinforcement is always appreciated, and this should be constant and informal.
They seek reconciliation instead of conflict
I do not know of any organisation that has not experienced conflict. The key issue is how the leadership responds to turbulence. They have a choice. They can respond in such a way that they protect and preserve the values and vision; or they can respond so as to erode and ultimately undermine and negate them. The God-called leader builds bridges and ensures the maintenance of cohesiveness; an atmosphere of togetherness and peace.
They seek the wisdom and empowerment of God
That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him…that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened(Ephesians 1: 17,18). Clearly, influence is the essence of leadership; and powerful leaders can have a substantial impact on the lives of followers and the fate of an organisation when they are called by God to lead. The primary issue is not will leaders use power, but whether they will use it wisely and well. The only differentiating factor is to know who leads through the mandate of God.
Discovery….Thinking solutions, shaping visions.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Frank is the CEO and Strategic Partner of AQUABEV Investment and Discovery Consulting Group. He is an Executive Director and the Lead Coach in Leadership Development and best Business Management practices for Discovery Leadership Masterclass.
Dr. Genevieve Pearl Duncan Obuobi (Lead Consultant on Cx. Leadership & SME, Country Chair, Ladies in Business