On Being a Good Christian through Christopher News Notes

Lesson Number One in Leadership

  1. Probe deeply into yourself to discover your hidden assets and liabilities;
  2. Recognize and develop those qualities of true leadership essential for any person who wants to exert an influence for good.

One : Look Into Yourself

#1. Understand the meaning of Leadership

Reflect prayerfully and often on the various shades of meaning of the word 'leadership' as defined in the dictionary:

'to indicate by going before;' ; 'to draw along, go ahead or show the way;'; 'to move before or in advance of;'; 'to take or have the initiative;'; 'to make a beginning go or act first;'; 'to direct an action, thought or opinion;'; 'to draw or directly by influence, good or bad.'

#2. Start with Yourself

The only person who can get you started on the road to leadership is yourself. No one else can do this for you. You must first discipline yourself to recognize and assume your own personal responsibilities of leadership at home, church, work, school, union, club, or in the various phases of social and civic life. Then you will show initiative and conviction in instilling a similar sense of self-discipline in others. Once you have a deep awareness of the need for each person to take the lead in his own sphere, and the improtant contributions that one person like you can make, you will be most apt to bestir yourself and to stimulate others to do the same. Yes, the leadership of the world starts with you as much as it does with anyone.

#3. Lead by Serving

If you are truly determined to lead others rather than dominate them, you must be prepared to:

If you understand from the very outset that 'to lead is to serve' you are bound to accomplish great good in your life. Frequently reflect on the diving standard laid down by the Leader of leaders: "He that shall be first amoung you, shall be your servant. Even as the Son of man is not come to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give His life for many." (Matt. 20:27-28)

#4. Make Your Own Discovery

'May I ask you the secret of success?' an ambitious young man said to a successful merchant. 'There is no easy or simple secret,' the merchant answered. 'You must be on the alert for little things and jump at opportunities.' 'But how can I tell the opportunities when they come?' 'You can't ' the older man replied tartly. 'You just have to keep jumping!'. Don't expect an angel to come down from heaven and provide you with a play-by-play strategy of where and how you should exert your personal influence for good. God wants you to take the initiative and discover for yourself the role that you should play on the stage of life. By such a search, you will be taking the first all-important steps to uncover your hidden power for leadership. "Seek and you shall find" is the reminder Christ gives you. (Matt. 7:7)

#5. Put Your Ability to Work

The best way to keep a piano in good condition is simply to play it. Neglect impairs the instrument ion many ways. Tonal quality suffers, the keys turn yellow and the felted hammers become a target for hungry moths. With human beings the story is much the same. Failure to develop and put to good use the ability for leadership that God entrusts to you will cause it to deteriorate. God wants you to liver fully, to keep spiritually and mentally creative, not merely to exist. many people go through a whole lifetime without uncovering more than a little of the divine power within them. Christ said: "I am come that they may have life and may have it more abundantly." (John 10:10)

Two : Develop These Leadership Qualities

Recognise and cultivate the essential attributes of character that a competent leader should possess. You will fit yourself to be a better communicator of your convictions to others if you do. Here are some of the leadership qualities:

#1. Be Yourself

God has given you a distinct personality. No other person on earth is exactly like you. Accordingly, the contribution that you can make to the peace and well-being of mankind cannot be made by anyone else. Whether you have a few talents or many, the Lord expects you to use them to fulfill a particular mission. There is no substitute for you. Instead of striving to be a 'carbon copy' of someone else, be yourself - the irreplaceable person that God made you.

#2. Add Purpose To Your Life

'Life gets so daily' was the unique expression one housewife in Michigan used to describe the monotony of her never-ending chores. 'As a wife and mother I have on the one hand the noblest and most sublime and on the other hand the dullest, most confining job there is and often need inspiration and encouragement,' she commented. Boredom is often the breeding ground of endless trouble. A person without bigness of vision is likely to succumb to a routine that is not only depressing and dangerous to himself, but also to the lives of others as well. Whether you wash dishes, drive a bus, write television scripts or work in an office, remember that the most menial tasks take on new meaning and purpose once you realize that you have a special mission in life - that you can be a leader.

#3. Prove Your Love For Others

A group of college students were asked to jot down the initials of persons they disliked. It turned out that those who had the longest list were the most disliked themselves. A positive liking for people is a 'must' for anyone who wishes to be a good leader. Others can tell instantly whether you love them, merely 'put up' with them or politely dislike them. As someone said: 'The test of leadership is not to put greatness into humanity but to elicit it, for the greatness is already there.' In preparing, then, to be a helpful leader we could all do with a little soul-searching along these lines:

  1. Do you really try to 'love your neighbour as yourself' or do you interpret the divine standard to mean: 'Love yourself and then, if it isn't too much trouble, love others'?
  2. Do you make an honest effort to get along with people, or do you expect them to get along with you?
  3. Do you try to show attention, rather than attract it? Focus on the good in others instead of highlighting their defects? Blend gentleness with firmness? Encourage rather than discourage?

The more you can say with St. Paul: 'I have become all things to all men' (1Cor. 9:22) the more valuable a leader you will be.

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Thought for the Day:" Blessed are you poor, For yours is the kingdom of God. Blessed are you who hunger now, For you shall be filled. Blessed are you who weep now, For you shall laugh. Blessed are you when men hate you, And when they exclude you, And revile you, and cast out your name as evil, For the Son of Man's sake. Rejoice in that day and leap for joy! For indeed your reward is great in heaven, Fon in the manner their fathers did to the prophets. But woe to you who are rich, For you have received your consolation. Woe to you who are full, For you shall hunger. Woe to you who laugh now, For you shall mourn and weep. Woe to you when all men speak well of you, For so did they fathers to the false prophets." Holy Bible: Luke 6:20-26