Some of us have extensive dreams about being and becoming a leader. Leader of something? Leader within ourselves? Leader within ministry? Leader within the church? Leader at work? Leader in the family and home?
The question we need to ask ourselves is, WHY DO WE WANT TO BE LEADERS?
There are many reasons why people want to be leaders, but a real leader leads by example. No matter what we say or how we dream or what we feel, the greatest influence we have is more than "the eye can see." Our influence is greatest when we can live out the principles of our philosophy and that being consistent to our calling in Christ Jesus and the teachings and principles of the Word of God.
First of all, all of us need to find our leadership curve. We are all leaders in something.
Let's start with ourselves.
Leaders require self-management, self-regulation, and self-motivation. Now, the immediate reaction by some Christians is that leaders like that mentioned herein are too self-absorbed and do not meet the Biblical requirements of servant-leaders. But, a leader who cannot manage himself or herself and motivate himself or herself will require the support, enablement, and provocation of others or stimuli within the environment will never achieve the greatest good or become the "man or woman of God" that is designed by Abba Father.
All of us are leaders and the first person we need to lead is ourselves.
In some of my limited reading on the subject, many Generation Next leaders are strongly committed to their own theories and experiences and resist real time mentorship by others much older then they. As a teacher in the classroom (and I teach one class at Redemption Academy on a limited basis), I work with the students and find that many of my gifted and natural leaders struggle with learning from a lot of sources. In some schools of thought, it is said that this generation is going to be different from any other and that this own insulation will end up to their credit as the world they will live in will be so different from the world we experienced and would be our points of reference. I cannot wholeheartedly agree with that thought, because I believe it is critical that leadership involved shared mentorship, a collaboration and covenant between at least two persons to many people and that require a covenant relationship that can transfer so much in the exchange.
All of us as leaders must have leaders. Years of training is critical to me.
The other day, I sat with my nephrologist who is leaving the Hawaii practice to move back to the Mainland. This doctor is a rarity for me.
First of all, as a secure leader, he is open to thinking thoughts outside of "the box." I will never forget calling another nephrologist at the onset of my kidney challenge and describing my condition. The doctor yelled at the nurse and told her that something was wrong with my blood pressure cup so I should go and buy another one. No matter what I said to him, he was set that my low blood pressure was an impossibility as I tend to go on the high side. And while I would agree with him initially, I honestly knew my pressure was dropping at random from high to very low until I would faint several times in a given day. I even fainted in the church in front of the whole congregation at a camp meeting we had at Waianae. The packed out congregation was shocked as I stood up to go to the pulpit and in a second, without notice, I fainted. This went on for two years, several times a day, which, of course, restricted me from driving initially.
Because this "traditional and block thinker," a doctor I eventually came in conflict with, I finally decided to use "the system" to verify its own deficiencies. So every time I felt sick with my blood pressure, I would ask my son to please take me to the emergency room. And there, the professionals would verify on my medical record that my pressure was very very low even as low as 80/40 and lower. Eventually, the doctor slipped away from my case and never again addressed the issue. But, when he yelled at the nurse and I could hear it on the phone, I knew he was not the kind of leader I would want to associate and affiliate with.
The other doctor that took over my case began to listen carefully to my observations about my own health. In another time, I called my doctor to let him know that I was feeling very weird and sick. A substitute nurse advisor immediately asked me to go my regular doctor and be treated there. I knew that was not the best thing to do as it would delay treatment. I challenged this substitute nurse or nurse advisor and she became very irritated with me. I knew that I was being insulted by a person of limited intelligence so I decided to make a doctor's appointment with the specialist and confront him for this kind of protocol. And while I understood that psychological cases may have more problems then in reality, I knew my symptoms were nothing to play with.
My doctor immediately ordered labs on me, only to find out that I was having a serious infection in my body and that my kidney function was going crazy, almost being rejected. Had I waited for a few more days to get treated by a regular physician or internist, I would have suffered some lost of time and the new kidney could have been rejected. That doctor posted a red flag in my chart stating that I would have to call him for every symptom that I feel is related to my case. And every single time I have called the doctor on my symptoms, they followed with lab verification of a pending potential problem. My doctor, the one who is now leaving, had begun to respect me for my own observations. I told him upon hearing that he was leaving that I would find it difficult to replace him as he was very intelligent and open at the same time.
I think some leaders are too scared to really think new thoughts. Even though the rhetoric for change sounds good (political correctness), the practical application is a farce.
When I hear the liberals in Congress talk about the War in Iraq, I usually become personally irritated at their self-deception and their insults of our intelligence.
When Bill Clinton said, I WAS ALWAYS AGAINST US GOING TO WAR IN IRAQ, I began to laugh out so loud in my living room it shook the house (nah, just exaggerating here, smile). Does this brilliant man experience so much delusionality (is there such a word?) that he would actually believe his own stories and convince us of their accuracy and trustworthiness? Even liberal CNN played it over and over and gave proof that Bill and Hillary Clinton were obviously supporting the U.S. involvement with going to war with the existing regime of Iraq (Saddam Hussein) and believed wholeheartedly that Suddam had weapons of mass destruction. Bill spoke to that even before George Bush became a candidate for the office of Presidency. Wow! Now these liberals want to blame George Bush as if he was the first one to make the argument for WMD.
Regardless of one's political ideology, this is what I look for when I look for a leader.
From a Christian point of view, I look for a leader who has strong and honest convictions. Because of my faith bias, I prefer someone who knows the Lord. But, even if that person claimed to be a Christian and lacked personal integrity and ethical consistency, I would hesitate trusting my life and the lives of my family to the next President of the United States who lacks the simple core values of a good leader. . . one who is courageous enough to stand against odds and opposition, definitive enough to think clearly and arrive at heart and head decisions with clear protocols and verifiable applications, and be willing to innovate without compromising principles and core values. IT'S CHARACTER AND INTEGRITY.
Leaders lead by example.
Leaders are smart enough to know what they are called to do, become, and achieve.
Leaders are clear in their thinking.
Leaders are great examples of integrity and ethics.
Leaders are good stewards of time and managing people and projects.
Leaders are creative, innovative, agile, flexible, and pliable. Secure leaders are able to think "outside of the box."
Many answers are creatively discovered today. But, we cannot creatively solve problems if we do not have the adequate and accurate information on these problems which we will look at as opportunities for growth and creativity.
If you follow the spirit of ONLINE PERSPECTIVE, we are constantly calling people to evaluate and apply life experiences. While many people who are frightened by introspection will consider this effort as proud and self-absorption, the real purpose of why I write here is to stimulate some responses by others and to share "my heart" or "perspective" on a matter. And when I do, I ask God to help me to see things through His eyes and perspectives, and not my own. But, I share my heart and in doing so, I am learning your hearts as well.
Many of you are so kind as to respond from time to time. I love your responses. You do not have to agree with me anyway, but I love it when people are able to share their points of view.
Yesterday, I took thirty-five students to see the movie, THE KINGDOM. Even though some of my parents may not understand how I teach my class, I am an advocate of cinema therapy. I use the movies in the theaters as teaching tools.
I explained to my students on Wednesday that we were going to see a movie about radical Islam fascism and the attack against a military base or post (?) in Saudi Arabia. I wanted the students to see in real time and on a large screen the violent nature of these global nutcases. Some conservatives may be immediately threatened or uncomfortable with the movie theme as it appears initially to be anti-American. But, I do not allow my students to be swayed by hip Hollywood which is out of touch with mainstream America, in my opinion. But, I use the movies that have psychological storylines to help me to spur discussions among my students.
In the movie, one of the American CIA agent (?) makes friend with a Muslim policeman (or soldier) assigned to protect both the base or compound and the visiting agents from the United States to investigate the terrorist attack against the Americans. In the end of the movie, the young Muslim is killed by the radical terrorists and in the arms of the American agent. Jaime Fox, the American agent, is seen with tears in his eyes when his whole mission upon going to Saudi Arabia was to KILL THEM ALL.
Remember the emotions we had after 9-11?
It was easy for me to support George Bush's idea to go to Iraq.
Psychologically, after the horrible nightmare of 9-11, there was a need for retaliation and vengeance in the psyche of the American people. Iraq was an interesting place to start the list of "axis of evil nations." When we began going into Iraq, I will never forget the first Sunday at church. I wept through much of the praise and worship, asked God to spare the lives of people and to give us, the United States of America, real guidance. And when I saw Donald Rumsfeld and others sit arrogantly (my take) in one of Suddam's palaces to give an interview to the media, I thought to myself, THAT'S STUPID.
Because I grew up in a multicultural environment (and when I say multicultural, I do not mean just between whites and blacks or whites and Latinos, etc. I mean real mixes on many levels with many different groupings). I know immediately how things are perceived by others in cultural groups. I grew up in Hawaii.
When I went to school on the Mainland, one of my teachers asked me if I spoke English. Another one asked me if we still lived in grasshuts. I was stunned at IGNORANCE. But, I was also aware that I needed grace in my life therefore I am required to offer grace towards and to others.
I was shocked when working at the hospital and I felt racial prejudice against me from "minority groups." I thought if they were experiencing discrimination, why would they then discriminate against me, a Hawaiian-Chinese-Japanese (yikes) KANAKA?
I began to notice that racism was moving away from the obvious to the more clever and that it still existed in many people's lives, including my own. I was not willing to say I WAS NOT PREJUDICED, BECAUSE EVEN THOUGH I DO NOT FEEL THE DISCRIMINATION BASED ON RACE OR COLOR AGAINST PEOPLE, I STILL KNEW THAT THERE WERE HIDDEN THINGS IN MY HEART SOMEWHERE THAT WAS NOT FULLY SURRENDERED WHEN IT CAME TO VIEWING PEOPLE DIFFERENT THEN ME. (Wow, how many "nots" do I have in the prior sentence, yeek!)
When I was growing up, I felt this irritation against ignorance and stupidity. Some of my Kamuela friends would prefer to ride the limited surf all day then read a book about what is going on all over the world. We had no 24 hour cable during those early years (1960-1971) and I spent more time reading books and periodicals then going on the web or 24 hour news cable for more information, objective or subjective as I do today.
I had to work on that prejudice and bias on my end.
And when people had little interest in bettering themselves academically, I had little interest in building relationships with them. And little did I know that God was going to expose my own prejudice and bias and teach me how to relate to and love people different then what I want to be in my life.
In order to be a leader, we have to be good examples. . . examples of a strong spirit persuaded of truth. . . a strong soul given to love and generosity. . . a strong body willing to stand even if we stand alone. I need leaders around me who are courageous to speak "their truth" and be willing to apply their practices in harmony with their value system, whether I agree with that value system of not. It is then that I will determine whether I will affiliate with "the leader or leaders" and become one among them or vote for a Presidential nominee of a political party.
And while people may vote on issues and policies (and I understand that wholeheartedly), I like leadership candidates who are honest with themselves even when their perspectives are different then mine.
To no disrespect to the liberals in Congress, I am overwhelmed by the self-deception of many liberals in Congress and extremely disappointed with the block thinkers of conservative America.
I love listening to Lynn Cheney, Condi Rice, and Elizabeth Dole. I also love listening to John Edwards (just to be balanced here, grin), Rudy Guiliani (hmmm, interesting guy to me), Mike Huckabee, Ron Paul (wow, he's way out there), and others who are willing to say things that create so much stir. I have my own hang-ups against public pleasers (sorry, Hillary). I need a leader (male or female, sorry conservatives, I believe in women leadership both in the church and in politics) who has conviction of character, a strong definition of ideology and integrity, and yet very open to new ideas without having to be stuck in time or with his or her own viewpoints.
Lynn Cheney's Ph.D. does help her a lot. I am not impressed with Dick and do not ask me why, because I really do not know why. But, I am with his wife. She's so excellent in my opinon. Condi Rice is the kind of thinker that stimulates my own thinking. I love it when she speaks to Congress or elements (committees) of it. Imagine if she is given the right to speak freely to Congress or committees of Congress, Condi would "blow them away." She thinks fast, systematically, and creatively. That's my take and I may be wrong. But, she has qualities that I consider essential to a good leader. Now if I happen to know her personally and find her personality too challenging for me, then obviously I would have my issues. But, from my public distance, I am just impressed.
I listen to the liberals too. I like listening to Joe Biden, athough I am not sure of him. He's rough but he can think fast. Ted Kennedy, wow, who's that? Bill Clinton, brilliant, self-deceived. Hillary Clinton, ambition greater than anything, blinding, scary. Barack Obama (wow, rhymes with Osama, not sure yet, he thinks well, although I disagree with him personally, not that he's concerned, smile) is a free-thinker to me and I like that style, but I do not agree with him on many of his stands. Oh, by the way, Hillary says so many things from so many points of view (part of her creative genius) there are days when I agree with her viewpoints. I just wonder if what I am hearing is what she is believing and that gap bothers me personally. Again, I am looking at this from a leadership viewpoint and not from a political viewpoint.
I think all of us are leaders. The question is: WHO DO WE REALLY LEAD? And really, if we do not lead ourselves first, our leadership is distorted.
Who should speak truth to you? God? Yes. God's Word? Most certainly. God's Spirit? Indeed so. God's people? Most definitely . . . but really, YOU SHOULD SPEAK TRUTH TO YOURSELVES. If you cannot speak truth to yourselves then you should not attempt to be a social leader helping and working with people and people groups.
Integrity is personal but the social application is critical.
Why do you want to be a leader? Maybe you do not, but there is no fulfillment outside of God's Will and it is the Will of God for all of us to influence others.
We should want to be a leader because leadership is what God assigned Adam and Eve to become in the Garden. It was the first call of the first creation.