Being a Christian leader is one of the most fulfilling and challenging roles as people tend to find creative ways to scrutinize your leadership. Along the way of learning to lead, I have found these four lessons to be the ones that resonate closest to my heart.
TRUSTING GOD: One area that is easier said than done is trusting God regardless of the situation. I have found it easier to trust God when things are going well. However, my faith is tested from all directions when I am facing a challenge. We all want to be in control and, when we are not, our world is turned upside down. I am learning every day to trust in God even when I do not know or control the outcome. Remember Noah when he was building an ark and there was no flood? He kept trusting even though others may have ridiculed his work.
Trusting God means taking a step forward in obedience even when we cannot see the road in front of us.
ACCOUNTABILITY: We live in a secular society where truth is viewed as subjective and people are masters of their own destinies. Being accountable requires me to embrace a humble spirit, believing that I should answer for all my actions either in private or public space. This is not an easy thing as we have to subject ourselves to another fallen human being who might have glaring short-comings! Accountability is being an open book as we give permission to others to make harsh or friendly assessments of our character and behavior. In my African context, accountability is very close to what we call ‘Ubuntu’ which basically means you are a person through others.
It is a realization that we were not created to live in isolation but in community. As a leader, I have intentionally surrounded myself with mentors who have permission to speak into my life. I strongly believe that no one can be a good leader unless he or she is in an intentional accountability relationship.
VULNERABILITY: The world continues to bombard us with images of strong leadership and some of these characteristics are difficult to attain. Most leadership training courses do not spend enough time teaching the growing leaders to embrace vulnerability. It is very sad that vulnerability is viewed as weakness and timidity and is scorned upon. Like the apostle Paul, I have found out that, “when I am weak then I am strong.” Vulnerable leaders allow others to see that God is not yet done with His work in them.
Vulnerability means humbly embracing our brokenness so that others can see we are work in progress!
BE PRESENT: Every single day there are things that are competing for our attention, ranging from our mobile screens to our social media platforms. We are a generation that is more connected than any other generation and yet we are lonelier than ever. We can be present physically but a million kilometers away from others due to social media disruptions. One of the lessons that I am learning is to be present with people. I refuse to have my attention forced into a detour because of an incoming call or message. It is sad that some of us rush to engage with our screens while we neglect to engage face to face with others.
Being present communicates that we value and respect the person we are speaking to and people leave the conversation encouraged.
Meet Tony Nzanzah,
Member of the SU Global Team and Field Development Director for English speaking Africa. He has served in many leadership roles, the most recent one being a board member of a Christian college in Cape Town, South Africa.