Equipping Others for Service

Two years ago, I posted this and it rings true today just as it did then. Leader, May it bless you as much as it did me. Let’s continue to serve.

If you are a leader, you will serve those you lead by equipping them to do their part in God’s plan.’ (Wilkes, G., p 189) These are words that jumped out at me as I read Gene Wilkes’Jesus on Leadership and I felt empowered by his words and I want to share some five steps he recommends.

  1. Encourage them to serve
  2. Qualify them to serve
  3. Understand their needs
  4. Instruct them; and
  5. Pray for them.

He says that these five steps will allow you as a leader to share your responsibility and authority… just like Jesus did.

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The Genius of ‘AND”

A good friend of mine once taught me the lesson of making informed choices when making decisions. He said that It’s not unusual for a leader to be presented with an “either” and “or” decision and that there are lessons to be learnt from both. He asserted that this can be done by taking the best of both without necessarily choosing one over the other.

In many leadership situations that we shall meet in life, creativity is a critical element in decision making. For instance, in matters of spending or giving your customers the best without spending a fortune, a leader will need to look at how to do things creatively, to achieve all the desired results and move away from the tyranny of ‘either” ”or” to the genius of “And”.

And by so doing we shall avoid compromising or settling for the mediocre when faced with a dilemma.

People and Leadership

I thought this was a good read for any task oriented leader who may occasionally forget that the real wealth lies in the team that is around you. Enjoy it.

The real product of leadership is people. How much time are you spending with people? https://leadershipfreak.wordpress.com/2014/10/27/how-to-develop-the-people-you-really-want/

How do U spend your time?

It has been a while since I posted my raw thoughts on leadership. Much has happened since then and I was reflecting recently on how as a leader I spend my time. Then I came across a passage in my Leadership Bible by John Maxwell that I would like to share with U.

“Lord, make me to know my end, and what is the measure of my days, that I may know how frail I am. Indeed, You have made my days as hand-breadths, and my age is nothing before You; certainly every man at his best state is but vapor.” Psalm 39:4-5

John wrote the following about that particular Psalm in a devotional thought that he titled ‘Spend minutes wisely‘.

In Psalm 90, David shows his mindfulness of his brief time on earth. He asks God to help him number his days, which ought to be the prayer of every leader. Wise leaders work to redeem the time they have.

A leader needs to wonder if the task is worth the time investment. What would happen if the leader wasn’t the one doing it? Is there someone else who could do it just as well, and for whom the task would be time better spent? A good leader knows that time is like gold, and good “spending habits” are essential. It’s just that in this case the units are minutes, not dollars.

If you don’t know where your time goes – that’s a danger signal. If you can save small bits of time and consolidate them into a chunk of time that can be spent on something worthwhile – that’s like “found money.” If leaders can number their minutes and hours, “numbering their days” will be easier.

Excerpt from The Maxwell Leadership Bible

May we learn how to number our days and thus redeem the time we have been given.

New Leadership for Kenya

As I reflected on the events of the inauguration of the new president of the nation of Kenya and his deputy on the 9th April 2013, the commissioning by Bishop Oginde is top on the list of highlights for me. This commissioning was done with both these men and their wives kneeling before the nation and in full sight of the heavens.

The Bishop took one of my favourite leadership texts from the old testament found in Isaiah 45:1-4 and it reads:

This is what the LORD says to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I take hold of to subdue nations before him and to strip kings of their armor, to open doors before him so that gates may not be shut 2 “I will go before you and I will level the mountains, I will break in pieces the doors of bronze and cut through the bars of iron, 3 I will give you the treasures of darkness and the riches stored in secret places, that you may know that I am the LORD, the God of Israel, who call you by your name. 4 For the sake of my servant Jacob, and Israel my chosen, I summon you by your name, and bestow on You a title of honor.

A couple of things stand out for me in this text and the circumstances that our nation is in currently. First, Cyrus is called God’s anointed; he was designed and qualified for his great service by the counsel of God. It is not out of a glowing CV or his personal righteousness that he got there. God called him. When God calls a man, he also commissions him with a specific agenda or purpose for his life. I am sure there were issues in and around his life that would have disqualified him being used by God, but God called him. PERIOD!

Secondly, the true God was to Cyrus an unknown God and yet God foreknew him and even called him by his name. Not only did he call him by name, He also gave him a title, my anointed. Herein lay fulfillment of a prophesy that had been foretold earlier and in it’s fulfillment, Cyrus gets to know that Jehovah was the only true God, there was no other and that it was for the sake of Israel that he was prospered. These things stated here in verse 1-4 all happen so that God can be glorified, not Cyrus.

Likewise, in our nation, God can choose whoever He wants so that He, God, can receive ALL GLORY AND HONOR. He knew a long time ago about these events that seem to baffle our limited understanding. He knew what leadership He wanted for our nation. We may not understand His workings, we may not even like it. But He reminds us that His ways are (have been and continue to be) higher than ours. I am reminded, now more clearly, that in all the changes of kingdoms and governments, God still works out the good of His people. I believe that even in this our own transition in Kenya, it is no different.

Just for good measure, I though to include the prayer that Bishop Oginde prayed for our president, Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy, William Ruto. It went as such;

” Everlasting Father, The Lord and God of the universe, the creator of all that we see and do not see. We want to return thanks to you for this great day that You have brought us into Your presence O Lord. We want to thank you For choosing leaders for this great nation, Kenya. And I want to pray O God that as they begin their duties that Your hand will be upon them. We pray heavenly Father, that You will make these leaders that You have chosen for us, to be instruments of peace, to be symbols of unity, and to be expressions of love.

May Kenya know great peace, love and prosperity under their leadership. We want to pray heavenly Father for their families, we pray for those who they are going to work together with, in the cabinet and other arms of Government. We pray that Your favor will rest upon this land that we will know great love and mercy because of Your favor upon us.
And now Mr. President, and Mr. Deputy President together with the first ladies, we commission you to conduct and discharge your duties in the fear of God.

Knowing so well that every duty that God entrusts us He will also bring us into account. We pray that you will embark on Your duties with great humility and yet with courage and boldness. May the Lord give you the wisdom of Solomon to deal with complex decisions that will come your way. May He give you the foresight of Joseph to manage our economy to prosperity both in times of plenty and of want. May He give you the insights of the sons of Issachar, to know the times that Kenyans should dwell in and the things that they should do. May He grant you the management skills of Nehemiah, to mobilize the people to rebuild our broken down walls and our burnt gates. May He grant you the courage of David to confront and slay the twin giants of corruption and tribalism that have so dominated our land for too long. May He give you the grace of Jesus to forgive and embrace real and perceived enemies. And most of all may He give you the passion of Paul to desire nothing more than to know Christ and the power of His resurrection (bolds and italics mine).
And so now to Him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you His glorious presence, without fault and with great joy, the only God our Savior, be glory, majesty and power and authority. Through Jesus Christ our Lord before all ages, now and forever more. In the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, AMEN!”

Wow! Call me sentimental but I believe Kenya is clearly on a new trajectory. May our new leadership connect with the things God wants to do in this country, may justice be our shield and defender and plenty be found within our borders.

And now I declare ‘it’s a new season’ for this great country. Every blessing to us all.

Kenyan Leadership Contest: How to WIN or LOSE graciously

Kenya is headed to it’s most important election ever in her short 50 yr history of nationhood. Electioneering is in high gear and every politicians is doing all they know to position themselves for an opportunity to be in the new season of leadership. However, some will make and some of them will not make it.

With that in mind, it was very helpful when one of my mentors, Tim Mwangi, Co-ordinator of the Executive Leadership Network (ELNET) www.elnetkenya.org,  sent me an email to forward to family and  friends who are vying for various elective positions across the nation. I would like to share the same with you. It details two ways that we can share with our candidates to prepare for life after the elections – whether they win or lose. Do feel free to share it with them.

But as for us, the article will hopefully help us clarify our thinking and expectations –whatever the outcome. Please take time to reflect on it – even in the busyness of this campaigning  time. And before I forget, the article was written by Dr. Katherine Wanjiru Getao (https://twitter.com/KatherineGetao) Enjoy the read and hopeful you will have a take out or two.

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HOW TO WIN GRACIOUSLY 

Today’s philosophy exhorts us to focus on winning and not even dare to contemplate the possibility of failure. Winning is the world’s greatest achievement and most of us want it because it attracts the type of applause and adulation that many of us secretly crave.

Winning is a great test of character. We talk about people being “drunk with power” because the feeling of euphoria that comes from realizing that you are popular, accepted, chosen and awarded the highest honours and position will easily rush to your head and destabilize you. Vanity and other sins such as lust and greed stalk the winner. Winners will attract false friends – people who wish to exploit your success for their own selfish, and maybe even corrupt, ends.

It is right to always strive to win, but it is wise to make a small plan for yourself describing how you will react should the desired happen – a sort of “winning in winning” map. Here is a suggested map to help you retain your dignity, reputation and character during a win.

Resolve in advance to be a wise winner.

Flags and banners are flying. Cheers and shouts of triumph fill the air. It is easy to forget that alongside the celebrants, there are many who are defeated and disappointed and who feel they have little hope for the future. It is your responsibility to reach out to the ‘losers’ and convince them that, with a person of your character, they too have achieved a win. The greatest leaders are the ones who are able to communicate a collective win that not only encompasses their supporters but also those who have previously opposed them.

Prepare a gracious statement in advance

All eyes are upon you and all ears are sensitive to your tiniest message. Try to remember that microphones will leap towards the winner in the hope of capturing an off the cuff statement for publication. In the heat of the excitement, it is easy to say something unwise – and remember you  will not enjoy listening to a repetitive news broadcast of a comment that you subsequently regret; To counter this keep your beige (win) and pink (lose) statements close to you. Read from these scripts when appropriate. Your priority must be to maintain your reputation by appearing to be a statesman/woman of mature, upbeat, of exemplary character and patriotic beliefs.  A brief statement with four elements will fit the bill for this purpose: acknowledge the contribution of your team towards the successful result, thank all the people who have been involved in the process whether administrators, supporters or rivals and pledge to work with everyone, briefly state the key things you plan to achieve in the near future, reassure your opponents that you intend to serve everyone with fairness. There are many apt quotations which you can find on the Internet that will fit this kind of statement.

Manage your team

A candidate is usually supported by a team which will be excited by the win. Your efforts to start on a positive note will be complicated if the team reacts inappropriately towards your win. It is important that you take charge of your team and convince them to adopt a wise strategy.  You keep your team members focused on delivery of your key policies and to adopt a communication strategy that will avoid gaffes.

Plan the first hundred days.

The most challenging part of your win will be managing the expectations. There will be many things to learn and many issues to deal with. At the same time supporters may be in a frame of mind to make unreasonable demands and there will be many people who feel that you ‘owe’ them and that it is time to collect. The broad blueprint of how you will go about achieving your aims should have been drawn up long in advance as well as the structure of your team. However, more information will flow to you once you win and so it is important to listen and to allow some flexibility in the detailed plan. You must exercise leadership to ensure that you are not derailed from the higher purpose by the demands of expediency.

Maintain a trustworthy accountability group.

Everyone is a friend to a winner or a leader. It is difficult to separate the sycophants and manipulators from people who can genuinely be of value in your work. Maintain a trustworthy group of individuals who you can trust to listen to you and to keep your secrets as an important part of your life, and you should make time for them long before your hour of need! Identify who these people are: a spouse, parent or child, a close friend, respected peers, your spiritual advisor or a trained counselor can all be appropriate outlets and good sounding boards during this challenging season. You can also make pacts in advance with these people that they will be honest with you and discourage you from vanity, megalomania and other negative attitudes and behaviours and constantly re-direct you to an attitude of humility and a determination to achieve the higher purpose.

Make time for activities that will help you manage your emotions.

Make a list of the things that you really enjoy doing and budget time and resources to do them. It is especially helpful to look for activities that help you put things in perspective, adopt a grateful attitude and make use of your considerable talents. This is the right time to offer more to your favourite charity than you ever have in the past! Keep busy doing the right thing and you will reap the rewards.

Trust in your greatest supporter: God

I have saved the best for last. For those of you who read the Bible, Psalm 20 is an example of the prayer for a person who has experienced a victory.  While expressing joy and good wishes, writer of the Psalm directs the victorious towards God who is the source of all success. He cautions the winner not to rely on the external trappings of his success but instead to give the credit to God. Turning to God, reading scripture and praying to Him are sources of great wisdom and sound guidance. It is wise to remember that a specific win is a stopover rather than a destination. Assure yourself of God’s love for you through the journey by reading scriptures such as Psalm 139; Psalm 44:3-8; 1 John 5: 1- 5; 1 Kings 3: 5-15; Proverbs 2; Proverbs 4; Ecclesiastes 9: 13-18; Luke 2:52; James 1: 2- 8.

HOW TO LOSE GRACIOUSLY

Today’s philosophy exhorts us to focus on winning and not even dare to contemplate the possibility of failure. The wisdom is that we program ourselves to win or lose by our thoughts and words. Indeed an Internet search around the phrase “how to lose” gives the impression that the only thing that humans should consider losing is weight! However, when it comes to events such as elections and appointments, we know that for every winner there will be several losers in the wings. It therefore seems reasonable to prepare for loss as carefully as we strive to win.

 There is no doubt that loss is one of the hardest circumstances for a human being to overcome. When one strives to achieve a goal she invests her desires, hopes and plans while exposing her reputation and character to public scrutiny. She also puts in a lot of time, money, energy and opportunity cost (the things laid aside in order to invest in the desired goal.) Loss, therefore, is exactly what it is called.

To the loser it may appear that the resources put into achieving the goal have been wasted forever. With the loss come feelings of disappointment, rejection, anger and even despair. All the Kübler-Ross stages of grieving including denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance are likely to be experienced by the loser. By preparing for loss, a person can first of all understand the emotional upheaval that they will experience, behave appropriately during each stage of recovery, and shorten the time it takes to reach acceptance.

 It is right to always strive to win, but it is wise to make a small plan for yourself describing how you will react should the unthinkable happen – a sort of “winning in loss” map. Here is a suggested map to help you retain your dignity, reputation and character during a loss.

Resolve in advance to accept the results.

For the ambitious characters who strive to win against the odds, losing will always be a tremendous shock and disappointment. There is a strong temptation to challenge the results and violently oppose the decision. There are very few cases where such a reaction is justified. Remember that while the press and other controversy-seekers will encourage and enjoy such a reaction, many of the people whom you really respect will be inwardly disgusted by your behavior and will think less of you for it. It is therefore wise to train your character in advance and make a wise decision to accept the result, so that even if you are tempted you will not react in such a way as to lose not only the competition, but also the respect of your friends.

Prepare a gracious statement in advance

Try to remember that microphones will leap towards the loser in the hope of capturing an off the cuff statement for publication. In the heat of negative emotions, it is easy to say something unwise – and remember you  will not enjoy listening to a repetitive news broadcast of a comment that you subsequently regret; To counter this keep your beige (win) and pink (lose) statements close to you. Read from these scripts when appropriate. Your priority must be to maintain your reputation by appearing to be mature, upbeat, of exemplary character and patriotic beliefs. If you are not the winner at this time at least you can deliver the wisdom of a statesman/woman.  A brief statement with two elements will fit the bill for this purpose: congratulate the winner and offer your support to him or her, thank your supporters and encourage them about the future. There are many apt quotations which you can find on the Internet that will fit this kind of statement.

Manage your team

A candidate is usually supported by a team which is equally determined to succeed. Your efforts to manage the loss will be complicated if the team reacts inappropriately to what has happened. It is important that you take charge of your team and convince them to adopt a wise strategy.  You need to understand your team members and plan how to lead them successfully through your loss. Include messages for loss in your team communication strategy and ensure that your team adheres to them strictly.

Plan to re-direct your energy.

Loss has side-effects. There will be a lot of energy and enthusiasm that has now lost its immediate channel. There may also be other impacts of the loss, such as debt, problems with family, friends and supporters and so on. The impacts of the loss may seem overwhelming. By deciding to make a coherent plan to deal with each of the impacts of the loss, while also choosing alternative worthwhile activities, it will be possible to use the energy released by the loss in a positive way to solve problems and move towards a better future.

Maintain a trustworthy support group.

It is inevitable that you will experience negative feelings and thoughts in the wake of your loss. You may feel that many people are laughing at you, and you may feel tempted to withdraw from contact with others. Maintain a trustworthy group of individuals who you can trust to listen to you and to keep your secrets as an important part of your life, and you should make time for them long before your hour of need! Identify who these people are: a spouse, parent or child, a close friend, respected peers, your spiritual advisor or a trained counselor can all be appropriate outlets and good sounding boards during this challenging season. You can also make pacts in advance with these people that they will discourage you from negative outlets such as alcohol and drug abuse, anger and complaining etc. and re-direct you to positive activities including hobbies and charitable events.

Make time for activities that will help you manage your emotions.

Make a list of the things that you really enjoy doing and budget time and resources to do them. It is especially helpful to look for activities that help you put things in perspective, adopt a grateful attitude and make use of your considerable talents. This is the right time to offer more to your favourite charity than you ever have in the past! Keep busy doing the right thing and you will reap the rewards.

Trust in your greatest supporter: God

I have saved the best for last. For those of you who read the Bible, Psalm 31 is an example of the cry of someone who is experiencing a loss. The writer of the Psalm is not afraid to express the strong and negative emotions that he is experiencing. However, he continually turns his thoughts towards God who he calls his fortress and refuge. He turns his pain into a prayer for a better future. Turning to God, reading scripture and praying to Him are sources of great comfort in times of loss. It helps to remember that loss is a stopover rather than a destination. Assure yourself of God’s love for you through the journey by reading scriptures such as Psalm 139; Psalm 55:22; 1 Peter 5:7; Jeremiah 30:17-20; Matthew 6:25-34; Lamentation 3:31-33.

Justice: Shield and Defender

The poor and the marginalised in our society, just like in Israel of old, are liable to be injured and oppressed in the administration of justice or denied of it in totality. This evil is strictly condemned in the word of God (Leviticus 19:15).

Partiality in judicial decisions, and injustice under the pretext of enforcement of the law, are an abomination in the sight of our God, the God of all Creation, and such other unfairness exposes our judicial and police officers of whatever rank, who are guilty of these malpractices to divine vengeance.

When our Judiciary and the Police Force robs the needy of justice, when they trample the rights of the poor citizenry of Kenya, when they prey on the widowed or rob the fatherless in this land, the prophet Isaiah declares woes against any such powers.

These warnings are against superior powers (ie the Supreme Court judges, Court of Appeal judges, High Court judges, Magistrates of subordinate courts) that devise and decree unrighteous judgements! He does the same for any inferior officers (Court clerks), that draws up such judgements, and for Registry officials that enter them on record! (Isaiah 10:1-2).

On this our 25th day of Prayer and fasting at Mavuno Church (see guide here), we are reminded to pray that a sense of justice and equity would prevail within these critical arms of government for the sake of our country. Justice be our SHIELD and DEFENDER.