Leadership is one of the complex phenomena that permeate every sphere of human lives. While the definition of leadership varies across the board, it is evident that the demand for leaders in every day activities is growing significantly. Therefore, an interview was conducted with a person regarded as a leader in a bid to define this phenomenon. The focus was made on the spiritual, family, and vocational life of the leader. The interview was aimed at discovering how these factors influenced his leadership skills and vice versa. This paper synthesizes the responses from the interview.
The leader interviewed is Pastor Allan. He is a theology lecturer at a local Christian college and sits in a host of elementary school boards. Mr. Allan is a church minister and mainly deals with the youth, helping them navigate and address the challenges that they face. Additionally, Mr. Allan is a motivational speaker. He is invited to many functions to speak to the youth and offer them practical pieces of advice. From time to time, he works for Miles Advisory Group to provide leadership training in business establishments. However, most of his time is spent teaching theology in the college and inspiring the youth. Mr. Allan is married to Alicia. Their marriage has lasted for over 10 years. Allan and Alicia have two children, and they are role models in so far as spiritual and family life is concerned. Due to his occupation, the longevity of marriage life, and exemplary spiritual life, Mr. Allan has been considered for this study.
Alicia, as described above, is Allan’s spouse. She is a business lady and runs a chain of refreshment joints. Alicia is deeply spiritual, and this is one of the factors that may have contributed towards the longevity of their happy marriage. She is also a leader as she heads the women groups in the local church together with her husband. From time to time, Alicia accompanies her husband to deliver motivational talks to young adults.
The interview with Mr. Allan sought to determine the definition of leadership. Mr. Allan simply defines it as the possession of the ability or an activity intending to offer a direction to people that have similar goals and objectives. He further adds that leadership is the conceptualization of a clear vision and sharing with other interested parties in the manner that makes them follow willingly and discharge the compromised vision. Leadership, he opines, is a form of guidance that does not appropriate force to effect a decision yet still manages to confer the feeling of empowerment, accomplishment, and contentment to the persons following the leader. Mr. Allan explains that his vocational work and the spiritual guidance that he offers are primarily what makes him think of himself as a leader.
Mr. Allan teaches theology that has enabled him to read extensively and understand the scriptures. His role as a pastor in the local church places him on a higher pedestal, and he can offer spiritual and ordinary life guidance. His passion for the youth and their empowerment as well as the way he has led a spiritual life coupled with a happy marriage renders him an example to the youth he ministers to. Leadership, therefore, entails the provision of information and knowledge to the person to implement a vision. The role of the leader is noble: it implies the creation of a framework. It is the conceptualization of the path and the availing of the means that empower the followers to achieve the desired goals of the group. The framework may be as subtle as identification of people’s skills and talents as well as it can inspire individuals to use them effectively (Spence, 2008). Curiously, Mr. Allan asserts that leadership cannot be taught. Leadership is naturally conferred; a leader is born, not made. However, Mr. Allan explains that a leader who has not yet discovered and leveraged his leadership skills can learn them through coaching and mentoring.
Crucially, Mr. Allan notes that secular leadership is different from Christian leadership in that the latter is directed and informed by the Scripture. Delving into the theology of Christian leadership, Mr. Allan defines leadership as the ability to lead people in glorifying God. The goals of the group, therefore, transform from merely achieving strategic, fiscal, and other objectives to exalting and glorifying God, the Almighty.
Alicia, the spouse, has a slightly different definition of leadership. She has been quick to acknowledge that there is no one-size-fits-all definition of the concept. According to Alicia, leadership is the process of influence. It is all about exerting influence on the followers to inspire them towards achieving the collective objectives and goals. Leadership involves motivating followers so that they can realize their potentials and be the best they can be. Leaders, Alicia notes, manage to do their business yet still inspire their followers along the way. Alicia seems to agree with Allan’s definition on this and the assertion that leadership does not entail the use of force or any other avenue of compelling obedience. Extraordinary leadership involves influencing other people so that they own your tasks and goals as their own. It is the ability to implore others to be selfless and behave or work for the common good, for the benefit of all.
Alicia also delves into the aspect of Christian leadership. She cites her husband’s devotion to improving the family and church group’s spiritual development as acts of leadership. Alicia proudly notes that her husband is the spiritual leader of the home. It is easy for pastors and other spiritual leaders to be immersed in serving the spiritual needs of others neglecting their spiritual development (Spence, 2008). Mr. Allan has not fallen into this trap even as he leads through serving others. Alicia defines Christian leadership as servant leadership that entails sacrificial service to God and fellow human beings as demonstrated by Jesus Christ. However, Alicia negates the assertion expressed by her husband that leadership cannot be taught.
The Life of the Leader
Mr. Allan is an extraordinary leader, which is demonstrated by his spiritual, family, and vocational life. For instance, he employs a host of spiritual disciplines in his life so as to maintain steady spiritual formation. While there is a myriad of spiritual disciplines he practices, Mr. Allan’s major disciplines are praying, fasting, scripture reading, worshipping, and offering of service. He prays every day, several times a day. To him, prayer is the most vital discipline as it not only draws a human being close to God but also transfigures a person, changing how one reacts to different circumstances. Fasting is the most challenging spiritual discipline because it involves deliberate abstinence. However, it is also rewarding because it encourages an individual to achieve greater spiritual goals (Banks & Ledbetter, 2004). Scripture reading and worshipping not only serve as food for the soul but also acknowledge God’s might and worth in our lives. These spiritual disciplines, most of which he has inculcated in his family, have been crucial in enhancing the family’s spiritual formation.
Apart from the aforementioned spiritual disciplines, the others that Mr. Allan and his family practice include solitude, self-reflection, and observing the Sabbath. Others comprise submission to God’s authority and soul friendship or fellowshipping with other people. Collectively, these spiritual disciplines have enabled Mr. Allan to be a better leader, a better lecturer, a better friend, and a better husband. Curiously, he explains that he does not struggle to find time to practice the spiritual disciplines. Mr. Allan has structured his day so that the private time is in the early morning and the family time is in the evenings. During the early morning, Mr. Allan reads the Bible on his own, performs personal reflection, submissions, and other individual practices. In the evening, the family fellowships worship and share God’s word together. Fasting and serving the needy in the society can be slotted at any time as and when the need arises.
Since Alicia is also a leader, she has been very considerate with regards to her husband’s demanding tasks of being a leader. Their children, seven and nine years old, are still in their formative stages, and they require leading and guidance from their parents. Mr. Allan thus strives to spend as much time as possible with their two sons. He is keen to set a good example for his children since at the moment they are highly impressionable. This is the primary avenue through which Mr. Allan seeks to replicate his life in that of his family. The law of replication states that like begets like (Spence, 2008). Therefore. it is expected that Alicia and their two sons will gradually adopt his behaviors, uphold his preferred values and, since he has a strong personality, copy his mannerisms. Setting a good example is, thus, the surest way of replicating one’s leadership and other qualities in followers and families.
Mr. Allan also actively seeks to replicate his life of leadership in those he leads and ministers to. He appropriates service and empowerment as his primary replication strategy. Mr. Allan quotes Luke 22: 26, “But not so with you; rather let the greatest among you become the youngest, and the leader as one he serves.” He, therefore, strives to serve his followers faithfully so that they can eventually copy him and become servant leaders themselves. If he were to instruct an aspiring leader to begin replicating himself in others, Mr. Allan says that he would advise them to empower their followers. An aspiring leader should provide the means and opportunities for others to develop into leaders. If they ultimately develop into leaders, they will acknowledge the role you played in their lives, appreciate, and mimic your leadership style. Furthermore, empowering others also helps the leader as much as it helps the follower. Mr. Allan strongly believes that it is one of life’s greatest equalizers: no one can genuinely help another person without helping himself in the process.
In summary, it is evident that leadership is the practice of influencing others so that they can willfully discharge their duties to achieve a common objective. The paper has proved that Mr. Allan is an exemplary leader. Examination of his life has helped draw a number of invaluable lessons that may shape the understanding of leadership. It has also been clarified that leadership is the conceptualization of a clear vision and sharing with another interested party in the manner that prompts them to follow willingly and discharge the tasks at hand. Leadership is, thus, the process of influence. Most importantly, the distinction has been made between Christian and secular leadership. Moreover, Christian leaders should not only endeavor to meet objectives through their followers but aspire to ensure that all the credit and glory returns to God.