Over the last two weeks, I have been part of a series of both virtual and physical deliberative discussions on Nigerian politics and leadership. And those discussions had me thinking about the attributes of a leader. The result of that thinking is a four part series, about leadership using Jesus Christ as a model. As much as possible the series will be less about Jesus as saviour and more about Jesus Christ as a leader. I hope you enjoy it
If You are a Christian as I am, it is a sure thing that you believe that Jesus Christ is the saviour of the World, the lamb of God come to save the world from sin. I do too and no amount of argument can change that. But more than the son of God or the saviour of the world, Jesus Christ was also a leader and his leadership style is a model that every leader who wants to be successful should follow. It goes without saying that He did plenty of things right given that more than a third of the population of the World now follow his teachings in one form or the other and aspire to be like him.
I know you are probably going to counter me with the “But he is the son of God argument”, but keep in mind that the bible specifies that for the duration of his stay on earth, he took on the flesh of a human, and he experienced all the human emotions of anger, frustration, happiness, grief and even fear and self doubt. And he experienced the all too human sensations of hunger, thirst, and fatigue. So there are no exuses why he cant be a model to aspire to. Here are four (4) attributes of Jesus which every leader who wants to be successful should aspire to.
He Spent Time Preparing
Jesus Christ lived for only thirty three years, he was a minister/preacher for only the last three years of his life, so what did he do for the remaining thirty, he spent it in preparation. Jesus Christ was crucified more or less because the leaders at the time felt he was anti establishment, but Luke 2 specifically mentions that the young Christ spent time in the temple, “listening” to and debating with the priests and teachers of the law and presumably getting a feel for the politics and law of the period. The other note worthy thing is that at twelve, Jesus was already wowing all the adults with his understanding and smartness, but still he still waited the eighteen years, before he began to teach in public. what was he doing for the next eighteen years? He was preparing.
Using Nigeria as an example, people often ask why there cannot be another strong contender for the presidency apart of Muhammadu Buhari of the APC and Goodluck Jonathan of the PDP? The answer is simple , because those two have been around the longest, Muhammadu Buhari is 72, Goodluck Jonathan is 52, both of them have more than half a century worth of life experiences, but much more than age, both of them have experiences within the echelons of power, Jonathan has served at every level of the executive. Buhari has been more or less a mentioned name in Nigeria the last thirty years, the popularity they both currently have is one built over a long period. Malcom Gladwell in “The Outliers” talks about the 10, 000 hour rule, which states that an individual must have spent a least 10, 000 hours doing a particular activity in order to be considered a genius at it.
To be a successful leader, you have to stand in the queue and wait for your turn. Let me give another example It is Muhammadu Buhari ruled Nigeria at the relatively young age of 40, that thirty years later, he still feels he is strong enough to rule Nigeria again. Blaise Compaore started to rule Burkina Faso at the age of 38, 27 years later, he was still going strong until he was forced out last year. Nelson Mandela, on the other hand, was 74 when he became president of South Africa, by the time He finished his tenure, he was 78 and knew he couldn’t cope physically anymore, so he left power. Youth is passionate, eager, ready to prove itself, there is every possibility that it will become impatient, arrogant and dictatorial especially when the “Old Dogs” cannot learn the new tricks it has brought.
Like the parable of the talents which Jesus talks about, the servants had the talents all right, but they had to trade with their talents and gain some more (a process which will no doubt take time), before they could be rewarded. So talent is not just enough, ask anybody who has ever run a startup.
Of course as the saying goes the age of Metuselah is not equal to the wisdom of Solomon, but there is more invariably more respect, for a leader that is seen to have put his shoulders to the wheel and earned his stripes through hard work like everybody else. This is even more so in the case of Nigeria where a series of ill- prepared military men have ruled the country and mismanaged it resources. We are still battling those problems they created till today
To be continued…..