Few people would disagree that there exists, in a few key strata of life, a crisis of leadership. The securing of peace in various parts of the world is not only elusive, but in some significant areas, it appears to have taken several steps backward.
True and honorable leadership is never about serving self. Responsible leaders are servants of others. Yet, it cannot be only about serving your own people; for good leadership should transcend the good of some and press towards the good of all. While a leader may not have the whole world in his or her sharp focus, or less: have the power, ability, mandate, or resources, to make an impact on places far away beyond their ambit; good leaders are informed by what happens beyond their neck of the woods, and should always attempt to exceed their own parochial realities and perspectives.
An instrument that some strategic thinkers and planners use is called a Logistical Framework Matrix (“logframe” for short). The logframe helps leaders to plot how they shall lead the organization from where they are now to where they want to go. The bottom of the matrix reveals some realities about where the organization is at present. Moving up the matrix, one can view the various steps the organization must take to get where it is to go. At the top of the logframe matrix is the main goal of the organization. But there is something even higher, beyond the organization’s goals: it is the universal goal that might be accomplished anywhere and everywhere, if that organization’s goal is properly pursued and accomplished. What a good strategic plan suggests, then, is the interrelatedness of the human family. So does good leadership.
Eight hundred years, way back before the first Christmas, a prophet named Isaiah declared of one whom we’ve come to know as Jesus, that the government shall be upon his shoulders, and that he shall be the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6). Any leader in this day and age, especially if they subscribed to the Christian faith or ethic, or looked to the “greats” for any kind of example and inspiration, should study and imitate this Jesus. The “government” — whatever else it means —includes his leadership. And Jesus’s leadership always establishes peace. At any point in time, the world’s people may find that the greatest source of their leadership angst is their government. And when religion — especially religion with prejudice toward other religions — seeps into governance the angst is greater, and religious leaders share the source of leadership concern.
Every government leader — president or prime minister, or parliamentarian, or senator, or congressman, or justice or jurist;
Every church and religion leader, and every other kind of leader in between (from the hard-working, underpaid teacher or nurse to the greedy business practitioners who jack up the price for our pharmaceuticals, or insurance, or services);
Every leader who dares to declare “Merry Christmas!” to anyone this year, should commit to a long hard introspective look that assesses the quality of their leadership on only three metrics for now:
- Am I leading for the good of others, or chiefly for myself and my ambitions?
- Am I leading for peace (which would mean challenging the status quo where the status quo — much like the Pharisees in Jesus’s time — is a stumbling block to true peace)?
- Am I leading beyond the boundaries of my own organization or entity, with a view to the good of all, or am I tethered to my own little corner alone?
Let the answers mobilize you towards a paradigm shift, if necessary, in your discharge of leadership in 2018 and beyond.
The world desperately needs better leaders. May you become one of them. Merry Christmas!
 (See And Lead Us Not Into Dysfunction, pp.168; 186-192 to read more about Logistical Framework Matrices.)
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Michael Friday is an organizational leadership specialist, working through Transition Ministries, American Baptist Churches, USA. He is author of And Lead Us Not Into Dysfunction.