We are all so aware that the financial crisis facing the World is redefining many things, with Europe, USA, China, etc., all now feeling the effects of change, with the years of doing the same thing and expecting a different/better outcome, not materializing, I read somewhere that this is a true sign of lunacy!
This transformation with all its changes and uncertainties, produces for some, fear and financial challenge, our ways of thinking and behaviour are having to change, the way leadership and influence are executed is also having to change.
Leadership expert Robert Greenleaf a USA Philosopher, Teacher leadership Guru, says that in this changing season it’s a time to prepare for new leadership thinking. SO HOW?
A fresh style of leadership is now coming to the fore front it’s called “quiet leaders” we all knew they were there but no one thought they would ever get anything done especially when comparing them against the charisma type leader. Things have changed, advances have been seen and sustained through styles of leadership that are not of the traditional kind, it is the style that has longevity and inheritance tied up in it. We have seen how the charismatic leaders do much in their time and moment, but they come and go and are forgotten relatively quickly. But those who lay down something for generations to come are “quiet leaders”.
Quiet Leaders are behind the scenes leaders, democratic in style, who want to make things work better, but don’t seek glory for themselves. I heard the recent comparison made recently from a political and business arena “they’ compete well against those hard-driving, well-socialized psychopaths who thrust their companies and countries forward without concern for others.” There are far more qualified people around to define the various types of leaders needed in different contexts than I, but there are two things I am sure of in an era of an uncertain future, we require our children to be equipped to face the future. They need to be self-reliant, find their inner strengths and confidences and have the ability in the globalization of our world to work collaboratively.
Let’s look at the children first, scripture has clues on how to bring up children so that they make a positive contribution to our society and world. We have to see change if we are to confront the riots on our streets and the challenges of the young. We can do one of two things, throw our hands in the air and declare “There is No Hope lets just withdraw ourselves from society”, taking on a sieged attitude for our households in a fallen world. Take our children out of everything that is around us, and cocoon them from life. In others words hide the light of God they are from the hill (Matthew 5), and let the hill go to the dogs, so to speak. Or take the situation on, tackle it head on and take responsibility for our streets, towns, and cities, as many do daily, become restorers of streets to live in (Isaiah 58). So lest start right NOW!
Children learn in early years self-reliance, now let me explain I don’t mean selfish or self centeredness, I am talking about a personal identity, taking on the image and likeness of God at every stage of life, this likeness is not only available to adults. We must have an idea of a mature 3-year-old, 10-year-old 16-year-old as well as those in adulthood. Our Children are greater than we think.
Children learn this self-reliance in early years by being given responsibilities. If your youngest wants to cook, “Let them” encourage having a go! Your wonderful techno, full of gadgets kitchen may suffer a disaster along with the entire ingredients, you will probably find more on the floor than in the finished item. Trust them to learn!
Let your children chose where to go out when walking, which park to go to, what to do or which way to get home. Encourage them to tackle to their teachers about problems before coming to you that is training them to take on responsibility for their lives.
What about getting them to walk the pet, feed the pet, lay the table or wash the golden idol – the car as a regular occurrence, see bigger than the immediate, these all help in training responsibility and helps the family and community in their learning. Be creative, look for responsibility at every level that the child could take on in your environment, as a daily, weekly, monthly responsibility, regularity will teach.
Self-reliance is built upon such tasks; many children are not bold or charismatic. They may not become the school celebrity and star of the school play or be ready for head boy or girl status, yet all children can learn, and I mean all must learn how to serve, how to be the tree in a Latin play, this was once one of my starring roles. All can be loyal team members or those who just turn up to support. You as Mum and Dad must value these activities as much as the starring roles, as this is where “Quite Leadership” comes into its own.
When we move out to the interwoven World markets we have today, Greece can shake the mighty cash rich China, USA is no longer secure as a dominant world power due to the ‘BRICS’ nations. The world around us is so interwoven.
Due to this interweaving that surrounds us we can no longer afford the old-style of leadership. The pathway of some of these old styles of leadership are littered with casualties not only of people but also the environment, through business decisions they become fallen or at worst broken. Business and Politicians advocate an environmentally friendly campaign yet destroy the infrastructure of people’s lives and the forgotten forests along with farm lands of Africa and other developing worlds for more product or profit. A world where life for some is experienced at high levels of excess and yet 2/3’s of the world go to bed hungry. These excesses have to be owned up to, they are contradictions of wrong leadership. Billions of dollars and pounds are spent annually increasing facilities in a church world, when 2/3rds of people struggle to live and God=have roof over their heads. Don’t get me wrong I am not against property at all I see it as a tool and necessity but when many is spent on buildings and not people there is some thing wrong.
I recently came across a piece of research by Dr. Craig L. Blomberg a theologian who has written extensively on poverty, riches, ownership and money, he stated that in USA alone if all the church tithed, that with the additional tithe, without taking any money away from exiting workings, within our life time there would be enough money to take away world poverty. What a goal, what if every Christian tithes UK, Europe, USA, across the world acted righteously, never forgetting the poor what a different world we would live in within a generation – NO POVERTY!
In essence what am I getting at WE NEED LEADERSHIP WHO SEE HOW THE WORLD FITS TOGETHER, THAT EVERY SMALL PART, EVERY PART AFFECTS ANOTHER?
When you see your children excelling in sport or anything and they say the want to be the best or perfect ask them WHY. Then follow with the question once you get there what do you plan to do?
If your child’s team wins celebrate yes, just shout yes, then ask what did the trainer do this year? If they score a try or a goal, or gain a point just make sure they realize some one passed that opportunity to them, “who passed the ball to you?”
All these are so small but the child will soon move from becoming egocentric, my world and only mine to see that achievement is gained through my discipline but also the contributions of others
We are to raise children that see that no individual person or individual group can gain at the expense of another that no group is superior but each one related.
I am told by society watchers that corruption begins at home when parents demand winners and questions those who appear to hinder the child’s advance, when schools do not teach or families do not encourage the young how to advance the growth of others.
The notion of Servant-Leadership is the example of the Christ. Servant /leaders have been with us in the people of God for 2000 years at least, with the modeling of Christ. It is time to bring this quiet servant leadership to the forefront, and fly in the face of the systems and styles that do not serve the environment or the people around us. Let us not lose the cry of communities for servant leadership at this time and let the church be the forward thinker and runner with servant-leadership.
Robert Greenleaf has a “best test” of a servant-leaders “ The best test of a servant-leader is; do those served grow as persons; do they, while being served, become healthier, wiser, freer, more autonomous, more likely themselves to become servants? And what is the effect on the least privileged in society: will they benefit or, at least will they not be further deprived?”
We have a quite leaders, servant-leaders let us be ready to advance in our world that the people of God become the harbingers of a new world and new influence while serving God society and creation.