The Attitude Lounge by Kodwo Brumpon: On Being a Leader


(Lessons from the Biblical Good Shepherd)

If you haven’t any sheep you won’t know that a fox is a wild animal.” – African Proverb

Leadership is an essential aspect of any society, influencing various realms including business, politics and social interactions. It has taken our humanity a while to appreciate how leadership provides direction, motivation and guidance, ensuring individuals and groups work together toward common goals. That is why in an era when we are witnessing a sharp decline in societal values, empathy and compassion – coupled with increasing social divisions, environmental challenges and a focus on individualism over collective well-being, the loudest voice in the room is a call for good leadership.

Our humanity has made great strides on many fronts, but the time has come to promote understanding, unity and a shared commitment to addressing global issues. And for that to happen, we need good leaders to inspire and empower, drive success, and foster a positive and productive culture among people. The quest has been on for some time, and this article will examine and extract valuable leadership insights from the narrative of the biblical Good Shepherd story and apply them to contemporary leadership practices. As we know, the bible has been a source of inspiration and guidance for countless individuals throughout history.

The biblical Good Shepherd provides a powerful metaphor for leadership. It is a powerful illustration of how a leader should care for, protect and sacrificially love his or her followers. It gives us a lesson on the intimate relationships leaders should develop to be seen and felt as compassionate and caring guides for their followers. In a business case, the story tells of a sheepfold which represents a secure and well-organised environment for employees to work in. It highlights a culture of collaboration and trust. The gate represents a proper and transparent entry process for new employees, ensuring that only those who fit the business’ mission and values are welcomed in. Thus, business leaders are challenged to create a conducive work environment with a thorough hiring process to build a strong and committed team.

The Good Shepherd story advocates that leaders should genuinely care about the well-being of their employees and foster a positive work environment. Such a leader takes time to know their employees, listens to their concerns and provides support and guidance when needed. He or she should demonstrate a profound connection with those under their care.

This sense of personal investment is essential for modern leaders. Knowing one’s team members individually fosters trust, loyalty and a sense of belonging. The business case is that leaders who take the time to understand their employees’ strengths, weaknesses and aspirations can tailor their approach to bring out the best in everyone, thereby boosting employee morale, engagement and productivity.

The Good Shepherd’s sheep recognise his voice and follow him with trust and obedience. That is what effective communication entails. In contemporary leadership, people expect visions, missions and values to be clearly articulated by word and deeds. They want open and transparent channels of communication to help them cultivate a full understanding of what is expected of them, reduce their misunderstandings of the ‘dos and don’ts’ and cultivate the much-needed sense of belonging. The business case is that such a communication culture fosters employee trust and loyalty, which makes them more likely to align their efforts accordingly.

One of the admirable attributes of the Good Shepherd is his willingness to lay down his life for his sheep. This self-sacrificial attitude translates as a commitment toward safeguarding the well-being of employees. A leader who prioritises the safety – physical and emotional – of their team creates an environment of trust and support. This atmosphere encourages employees to take calculated risks and innovate without fear of reprisal for honest mistakes.

For today’s leader, this signifies a responsibility to protect and support employees. This can be done by providing resources, training and a safe work environment. Additionally, recognising and acknowledging the efforts and achievements of employees can build loyalty and motivation. The business case is that by investing in employee well-being, a company can reduce turnover, increase employee satisfaction and ensure its profitability.

There are many other lessons from the biblical Good Shepherd that will not be highlighted today, but they are all good lessons for leaders who aspire to make a positive and lasting impact on their organisations and the broader community. So, make it a point to read it…


Kodwo Brumpon is a partner at Brumpon & Kobla Ltd., a forward-thinking Pan African management consultancy and social impact firm driven by data analytics – and with a focus on understanding the extraordinary potential and needs of organisations and businesses to help them cultivate synergies which catapult them into their strategic growth and certify their sustainability.

Comments, suggestions and requests for talks and training should be sent to him at kodwo@brumponand

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