The Need for Effective Leadership

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Over the last week or so, there has been a challenge to the Prime Minister’s position in the Australian government. Naturally this has caused much unrest and angst among the party and further frustration to the nation. The current Australian Government is a “hung” parliament. Basically the party in power did not have enough votes to be in power outright, so therefore required the support of the smaller parties. This naturally creates a manipulative environment whereby people from different viewpoints have the power to push their agenda and influence the leadership of the country in potentially unproductive directions. If the Prime Minister and other key ministers are not strong in their leadership, they will naturally be caught up in trying to please others in order to hold onto power.

Then we have large corporate and government organisations. These organisations have many functional layers from upper management to the lower production lines where a lot of the rubber hits the road. Too often we seem to witness people in upper management having countless meetings and focusing solely on making a profit for that year no matter the cost. At the end of the day it’s about making yourself look effective or good to the share-holders and your boss. It’s about gaining the upper hand and enforcing influence on others, showing them who’s the boss and making sure no one climbs over you on your way up the corporate ladder.

In just these two examples we witness one of the ugly sides of so-called “effective leadership” – namely, the lust for power.

Good leadership, as I mentioned in an earlier post of mine “A Key to Effective Leadership”, is vital to not only the growth of companies, organisations and the government, but also to the church. Ironically, good leadership occurs not when one puts self-interests first, but the interests of others; to do what one can to invest in and build-up those one leads. People will naturally follow someone that inspires them to be more successful in life, to strive to achieve all we can as a team and as individuals… to enjoy the successes together, and to support each other through struggles. Like so often in life, leaders can be seduced by short-term gain instead of long-term growth. Many leaders are more concerned about highlighting their success for one year instead of constructively building a foundation for many years of success. It takes a courageous leader to take one step backwards in order to take two steps forwards.

Ultimately, good leadership comes down to building up others, not ones self. It is to serve others, to inspire them, to equip them, to show them you care about their success and not just your own. That is what servanthood leadership is  about. It sounds contradictory, but a good leader is a servant of others.

The most effective and influential leader in all of history was Jesus Christ. He had a clear focus and stayed true to it. His mission was to redeem humanity before God. It was a mission no one else could achieve. Despite the daily struggle and persecution Jesus faced, the Bible makes it clear that He loved and served others.  He poured himself into those around Him. He built them up, inspired them to trust in God and follow Him. People listened to Jesus, not because He forced them to, but because they saw how much He loved them and how He lead his own life. He wanted to see people break free from despair and realise the hope there is in God through the redemptive work that only Jesus could offer. There is nothing more inspirational then realising all of what Jesus sacrificed for us so that we can have peace with God! He was, and is, the ultimate leader!

We all make mistakes, but at the core of effective leadership is humility. We all let people down. But what often highlights a person of sound leadership and integrity is how he or she responds to and learns from those mistakes. Despite a leader’s flaws, people are instinctively drawn to a leader who admits to error and corrects the action that led to it. They see the humanity and flawed nature of even the greatest of leaders, yet also the mercy and power of God at work in their lives.

Let’s pray that more leaders within our governments, corporate organisations and even our churches adopt a servant-heart. May we not cower in fear and be tempted to please others, but look to please God first, to stand for what is right. May we lead by example in our own lives and not be stained with hypocrisy. May we serve those we lead, valuing them as much as ourselves.

 

5 thoughts on “The Need for Effective Leadership”

  1. Thanks for this, Stu.

    A friend provided me a link to Ray Ortland’s post on a similar subject, “What Kind of men does God use?” In it, he quotes Horatius Bonar who summarises nine points in answer to this question.

  2. In the main, I dont think the current or recent crop of politicians are a good model in anyones eyes. However they hold the office, and we are bound by the Scriptures to pray for them.

    A leader must clearly understand people at a deep level. But a Christian leader must also know God deeply, thoroughly, and have a deep love for both. The Christian leader serves people, yes, but God first. God gives leaders to take people beyond their current knowledge and experience, and to challenge those areas which are at variance with the revealed will of God.

    I can tell you now that the leader of my gym class challenges me 3 times a week. I go outside my ‘comfort zone’, and I cant say I like it all the time. But the leader knows what a flabby and ill-conditioned body needs, and how to achieve it. Leaders must see more than the folk they lead, and be determined to take them to new places in life and experience. The Lord Jesus said ‘go into all the world and preach the gospel’. Not many make the effort, or they redefine ‘the world’ to within 50km of their home. The lord Jesus made people then and now very uncomfortable with the status quo. Ultimately people might look back and say ‘yes, I was built up’, but it may not have been obvious during his ministry, and certainly not at the cross and just after.

    If anyone thinks leadership is a simple matter of following a few tips in the numerous books and articles available on the internet, he might pass the test in a few companies I know. If anyone tries to get away with this in the church of the Living God, he is of all men to be pitied, and will end up being despised and rejected by both God and men. Therefore, the very first thing a Christian leader needs is prayer. Private, and with God’s people at every opportunity.
    SDG

    1. SDG… Yes we must pray for our current leaders… they surely need it a lot!!! I must say I am continually disheartened with the lack of integrity and leadership in secular workforces in particular. As a result if a Christian has a leadership position in those type of secular environments, they could be a great influence for God’s grace in his/her life.

      A Christian friend of mine recently reminded me that it’s very easy to think of ourselves as needing God’s help to do His work, as if it’s by our hand that we are able to serve effectively. We just need God to empower our work. However he went on to say that we should really think of Christ at work in us that gives us the ability to serve, not us trying to contribute in anyway ourselves. Yes we need to actively submit to God in how we live and the choices we make (that alone takes a lot of prayer!!), but it’s Christ at work in us that enables us serve Him. That way we are both humbled, dependent and empowered to work effectively for God.

  3. Stu, thanks for your post. We should pray for all public figures who hold leadership in government – they need God’s help! It is highly frustrating to have our nation’s leaders floundering in a state of insecurity, and playing the power game. However, that is also how the system is designed. It makes it tricky for people to get too far ahead of themselves, and makes it interesting for people who follow politics (like myself!).

    Christ is, of course, the ultimate example of a leader. He was a powerful figure, who relied on his heavenly father for everything. We all need our Lord’s help to lead well, and to lead like Christ.

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