Kingdom Principles: The Art Of Leadership
For the past decade, the subject of leadership has become more prominent and received various definitions. However, our former definition of leadership has been quite inadequate as it failed to encompass all aspects of what it actually means to be a true leader. In addition, for far too long, leadership has been perceived as restricted to an organization and as a role or function of a few or select individuals within organizations.
As Kingdom Builders, leadership is part of our birth-right and our responsibilities. We were all created to be leaders. But first, we must understand what is true leadership.
True leadership is not about operating with a title but is rather about having a certain attitude, a problem-solving-thinker-
Indeed, leadership requires building relationships with those around us. It’s about nurturing those relationships. By doing so, leaders inspire, influence, and impact the world around them. If you are a Kingdom Builder, building relationships should be at the top of your priority list. When people see the Jesus in you, they will want more of Jesus Himself. Jesus was the perfect example of a true leader: serving his disciples, washing their feet, helping them grow spiritually, guiding them in their decisions and demonstrating in action what to do. Therefore, his example should be your blueprint on how to be a true leader.
Leaders are people of courage, willing to stand firm, take risks and are full of wisdom. They set an honorable example to follow. For instance, the prophetess Deborah was a true leader, not so much because of her title as a judge in Israel but because of her mindset. If something needed to be done, the people of Israel could count on her to do it, even a task as hard and challenging as leading King Barack and his army to battle. Deborah was a judge in Israel, someone people reached out to for wisdom and for decision making. She was willing to make the hard decisions, walk with God, live by example and invest in people by pouring her wisdom into them. She lived in a way that honored God and demonstrated the example that others should follow. As a result, she was known as a mother in Israel. Deborah was an example of a true leader as she inspired, influenced and impacted those around her. She was so influential the king would not go to battle without her and was willing to give her credit for the victory. What an impact she had on the king and the people!
Like Deborah, every true leader must demonstrate his abilities on three levels: inspiration, influence, and impact. Robin Sharma, author of The Leader Who Had No Title states that these three I’s are a must for every leader and brilliantly reveals how they come into play in his book.
A true leader inspires those around him like Moses inspired Joshua. Moses’ leadership set a model for Joshua to follow when it came his time to lead the people of Israel. Due to his mindset, attitude, and example, Moses became someone Joshua wanted to emulate. It was Joshua’s spirit influenced by Moses and his heart that moved God to choose him as the next leader. When Moses sent twelve men to spy the land of Canaan, Joshua was one of two men who encouraged Israel to go and conquer the land that the Lord had promised them. While ten of the spies could only see obstacles, Joshua was able to look beyond the obstacles and saw opportunities inspired by Moses’ experience with God at the Red Sea.
Influence is about being a positive force in the lives of other people. When you positively influence others, you can push them to be better and do them. For instance, influence can lead to reforming the way an organization’s department operates or in a home, influence can cause a family member to do things without being asked simply because of how they observe another member operate and behave. Influence, as defined by Merriam-Webster dictionary, is the power or capacity that leads to an effect in indirect or intangible ways without exerting any force. An influencer leads others to change their behaviors without forcing them. Such an example, in the Bible, is found in 2 Kings 22. Josiah became King of Judah and led one of the greatest spiritual revivals and reforms in a time when the people of God had forgotten the God of their fathers and given into idolatry. By making substantial changes in His environment and country and also by making a decision to follow God, Josiah led the people back to a relationship with God.
True leaders have an impact on their environment. They leave a mark around them and spend more time doing than talking. They are active and well-known for “walking the walk.” For instance, in your church, you can demonstrate true leadership by doing what needs to be done rather than simply talk about all the things you’d like to see done. The ones known for their impact are the ones who take initiatives. No one has to tell them what to do: they see a need and they fill it, get to work and get their hands dirty. Impact is about execution. This is where Nike’s motto is perfect: just do it! Kingdom Builders are leaders who have an impact on their surroundings and are not afraid to fail. They know and believe that even in failure there are lessons to be learned. So they execute and pursue a path that can lead to their desired outcome.
Consequently, to be a Kingdom Builder, you must exhibit all three of these qualities. However, for some people, it is very hard to comprehend how to be a true leader outside of an organization. For that, you must remember that a leader is not a leader because of his title. Anyone and everyone can be a leader. A mother is a leader when she mentors her children, shares ideas and knowledge that she has gained, or encourages her children to be at their best. By her attitude and example, she influences her children to do something or be a certain way without actually telling them to do so. If she keeps her home organized, she will influence her children to become more organized as well. At work, showing leadership is as simple as celebrating a colleague for their success or achievement, helping someone else with a project they may be having difficulty with, and being a positive force in the workplace. Indeed, leadership is all about attitude and state of mind.
The greatest example of leadership I ever witnessed was a janitor by the name of Yves working at an educational establishment. Each day, I would see Yves taking pride in his work, doing what needed to be done with excellence regardless of whether it was within his duties or not. As I paid attention to him, I noticed that by his attitude and behavior he inspired those around him to be at their best and to “raise the bar”. From the President of the institution to the customer service agents, many people knew Yves by name because he had taken every opportunity extended to him to get to know those around him. He never walked around defeated thinking his job was too small and no one would want his opinion. Instead, he walked with confidence, shared some pearls of wisdom with those around him, listened to others, and took action. If Yves noticed that someone was struggling to carry a load, he would drop what he was doing to help whether he knew the person or not. More importantly, by his example, he taught others how to lead. Every leader must grow other leaders. Yves knew exactly how to do that. If someone was new within the institution, Yves would make it his mission to get to know them, show them around, and train them to not only do a good work but also go beyond the job description. He made them his protégé. Furthermore, he was always great at observing people, knowing when they needed a word of encouragement, and could identify their gifts and encourage them to develop those gifts and pursue their passions. Once, Yves insisted on having one of his colleagues (who played guitar) meet a friend gifted at playing music because he saw the potential for his colleague to be a great guitar player. Today this colleague has developed his gift for guitar, left his janitorial job, pursued his passion for music to the extent that he is now a professional musician playing with an orchestra, all because Yves saw his potential and was interested in helping him to grow. However, what surprised me most was the fact that the president of the organization intentionally took time each day to meet with Yves for a chat especially when he had some tough decisions to make. Many at times, this president, at the top of the organization, did not call his COO (chief operating officer) for advice but on Yves. When he had to make decisions that could directly affect the employees, he called Yves. That’s when you know Yves was truly a leader and a source of wisdom and influence. We should all aspire to be like Yves.
Kingdom Builders understand that building the kingdom of God is more about investing in people than investing in “things”. Ultimately, Kingdom Builders understand that the art of leadership is more about pouring into others than it is about pouring into organizations and being an example worth following and duplicating. Therefore, if you are a Christian seeking to become a Kingdom Builder know that leadership is in your blood and it is up to you to be an example in your community, home, church, wherever you are, and to inspire, influence and impact. In doing so, you will not only build God’s kingdom on earth, sowing seeds on earth and in heaven but you will also point others to the ultimate leader, Kingdom builder as well as example, Jesus.