THE EMERGING LEADER (Manuscript)

18 Oct

Event: Men’s Conference

Theme: REAL MEN: Created In His Likeness

Venue: Baptist Services Centre, University of Ibadan

Date: Saturday, 8th October, 2016

Speaker: David O. Lawal

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MANUSCRIPT:

The 4/22 Experience

On April 22, three years ago, three young Nigerians from different backgrounds converged in the most famous lecture theatre of the Federal University of Technology, Akure — the ETF 750-capacity hall — to provide an answer to a single but significant question: “How can we help youngsters, who are must-be leaders, blossom into extraordinary young leaders?”

After over one hour of wrestling with all the nuances of that question, they found an answer. It was a one word answer.

“K – I – S – T,” wrote one of the trio.

He raised his head, looked into the faces of his buddies and said, “KIST!” He immediately dropped his head, picked up his pen again and added an exclamation mark behind the “T.” Then he raised his head again and — this time with overflowing excitement — chanted, “KIST!”

His buddies joined him. And in less than a minute, they had composed a single-word melody as they chanted alternately, “KIST!” “KIST!” “KIST!”

The name-r is Samuel Adeyeye. And his two buddies are Israel Peters and me — David Lawal.

Today, KIST! is a very influential organisation on FUTA campus, even off the campus. The name in full is: Knowledge, Influence, Service, and Tenacity.

The mission of KIST! is simply to continually provide “exceptional platforms to equip young people for all-round, continual development.” I am here today because God has used KIST! to beautify my life, as He has for over a thousand other youngsters in these past three years.

Your Leadership Seed and Your Fertile Field

I share that experience with you because I want you to consider for a moment that for every achievement you’ll ever make in your life, you must first sow a seed — and that’s really true. And for seeds to grow, they must be sown in the fertile soil of a productive field. For me, KIST! has been that fertile soil — the fertile soil for my leadership seed. How about yours? (If you don’t have one, I encourage you to “create” one or “join” one — and sow your leadership seed right now.)

Picture of Emergence

I want you to picture emergence not with regard to [the bringing forth of] a seed, but with regard to [the sprouting up of] a seedling. (After all, nothing significant emerges from a seed until it’s sown!)

The Pattern Lock Principle

What I hope that my talk will accomplish for you today is better explained, I think, by what I call the Pattern Lock principle. The Pattern Lock principle states: “Most young people know that to unlock an unfamiliar smart phone they must connect some dots, but when to touch what dot — and how to connect the dots — they know not.”

Today, I hope to show you how and when to connect what leadership dots — to unlock your leadership effectiveness.

Why is the Pattern Lock principle important? That’s perhaps the question on your mind. Well, it’s important because in guiding you to unlock your leadership effective, it will also prevent you from some leadership blunders, blunders like what some of our young leaders (in the KIST! Youngsters Club in Oyemekun Grammar School, Akure) did.

In February, after doing a KIST! Youngsters Personal Development Seminar (YPDS) for the OGSA boys — where we taught them some of our culture points from the KIST! Culture Guide — many of the student delegates indicated interest to join the KIST! Youngsters Club.

Just yesterday, I got news from one of their representatives that many of them want me back. (You see, I’m their mentor and I’ve been away on Industrial Training for over six months now!)

“We have some good news and some haters too,” the representative said.

Haters? That shocked me. So I asked him why they’ve got haters. He explained that many more students were showing interest to join the club, but he and the other young leaders were denying them membership — even to the Facebook group!

“Why?” I asked.

His response: “We told them that to be a member of KIST!, you have to be neat and speak good English and read when teachers are not in class.”

That’s ridiculous. They obviously didn’t know when for what.

And it’s easy for any of us to commit such a blunder. We know what leadership is — knowing the way, going the way, showing the way. We know that vision and passion and creativity and courage and compassion, and so on, are traits that every leader must possess. But when is he to harness what trait? And how is he to balance them? That’s the kind of question the Pattern Lock principle was designed to put before us every time.

Leadership Lessons from Conference’s Texts

There’s a lot of leadership lessons we can infer from the selected texts for this Men’s Conference (Genesis 1:26,28; 2:7–8,19), but I’ll just draw out three from 1:26 for you.

1. God created us (“let us make man”) and empowered us (“let them have dominion”) for significant impact. Therefore, as we pursue our emergence as young leaders, let us fix our focus on equipping people (or “making men”) and empowering people . . . by giving them permission to sow their leadership seed on our fertile field.

2. We are not designed to have dominion over people; we are designed to have dominion over everything else in life other than people. “Have dominion . . . over every creeping thing . . . upon the earth” — not over individuals or a group of people! Therefore, leadership isn’t dominion over people. Leadership is having dominion — and helping people to have dominion — over everything that seeks to dominate people.

3. Therefore, our goal as emerging leaders is never the mastery of the discharge of instruction but the mastery of the art of persuasion. “And God said, Let us make man.” Can you see how persuasive God the Father is? He isn’t saying, “Son, Spirit — go! Go and make man!” Rather, He is reasoning with them: “Let us.” Therefore, for us to emerge into real leaders, who are after the likeness of the Governor of the universe, the art of persuasion is what we must spend the rest of our life and energy striving to master — and never to master how to “issue fiery orders,” as I was trained in the Nigerian Military School.

So, those three lessons are like the three rows or columns of the dots on the “screen” of your leadership effectiveness that I hope my talk will help you to connect in appropriate order.

Significance of Emergence

Why should we even talk about our emergence into real leaders? My answer: I think it’s because our growth (as young leaders) is highly important. And it’s important that we take our growth very seriously because fullness, or wholeness, or excellence, or effectiveness (1) remains our goal and (2) is attainable — but (3) is not our present reality.

In other words, we all want to unlock leadership effectiveness, but most of us are yet to become effective leaders. That’s probably because we are not yet certain what the pattern of effective leadership is. To become effective leaders, therefore, we must first understand what effective leadership is — what the pattern of effective leadership is.

What is Effective Leadership?

In an eight-part audio series I recorded last year, I defined effective leadership as “leadership that inspires people to produce results in a way that [even] the process of producing results improves them — i.e., the people that work with you. [Or] leadership that maintains a high performing and self-sustaining team of highly motivated team players” (7 Steps to Effective Leadership, #1).

I hope that’s clear.

Now that you have a good picture of effective leadership, why not begin to strive to become an effective leader right now? That’s the next (and urgent) step. Don’t wait until you win a luxurious leadership chair. Don’t wait until you become an adult before you begin your emergence journey. Now is the time to begin to practice effective leadership.

Begin Right Now

The question then is: Why must you begin to practice effective leadership right now, and not wait until you get a leadership chair, or until you emerge into a full leader, before you begin?

1. Because effective leadership is the perfect biblical view of manhood. In our society today, the tension is always Egalitarianism vs. Totalitarianism. Totalitarians want to hold on to power and exercise full authority over people, while egalitarians pursue absolute equality in all things. But the kind of leadership that God wants us to practice is what some scholars call Complementarianism — recognising that men possess distinct competencies from women, while women also possess distinct competencies from men, and what results when these differences are cherished, are celebrated, are allowed to complement each other, is great beauty.

A complementarian like Pastor John Piper, the founder of desiringGod.org, would argue that a man (not his wife) must provide his family the leadership and protection it needs. He’d probably quote a passage like Ephesians 5:22–23 as biblical evidence: “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.” That’s God’s view of effective leadership. My next point explains one reason we must begin now.

2. History proves that effective leaders are mostly early starters. When we think of King David, King Josiah, even Christ (!), and Charles Spurgeon, who had preached over six hundred sermons when he turned sixteen and led one of the biggest churches in England in the 19th century as a young man — it is easy to understand, I hope, that effectiveness in leadership and starting early have an undeniable connection.

I recently saw an old photo on Facebook. In that photo were Bishop Francis Wale Oke, Bishop David Oyedepo and Pastor E.A. Adeboye, among others. Where were they? They were attending a leadership conference. Were they overseers then? No. But today? Overseers they all are!

The Universal Mindset of Leadership Effectiveness

Excellent leaders are effective because of how they think: “I am the Minister for Vision and Morale for this family, or this team, or this church, or this organization, or this region, or this country, or this continent . . .”

It costs nothing to think this way, does it? Yet many young leaders don’t practice leadership with this mindset. Isn’t that why they are often ineffective and perpetually clueless (of what to say and do) when in dilemma?

Think about it. Nearly every young leader talks about vision. But how many have ever considered the art of casting a life-transforming vision (which is not as simple as many think) and of sustaining the vision (which requires more energy, even more sacrifice, than many are willing to devote), as what they must master if they must attain to effectiveness in leadership?

But any young leader who desires to emerge into an effective leader — that’s you — must strive to develop the universal mindset. This “universal mindset” will enable you to master two kinds of art: (1) The art of vision casting and vision sustenance, and (2) the art of morale building and morale boosting (persuasion). And if you master these and nothing more, if all you strive to grow in is in some way connected to mastering these arts, I guarantee you that you’ll still make a great leader — because they are the essence of effective leadership.

  • Christ did all He did and taught all He taught and died on the Cross and rose to life again . . . to establish the heavenly vision, and to keep it before our eyes, and to get humanity enthralled with the heavenly vision till our final breath.
  • The Apostle Paul suffered the loss of all things joyfully . . . so that Christ be glorified and that others may be bold to proclaim the gospel everywhere and at any cost.
  • Gandhi wrote all he wrote and said all he said and went to jail . . . that the Indian people may gain independence without violence.
  • Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered great orations . . . that he may keep black American people struggling for freedom in love.

And the Apostle Paul summarised this essence of leadership, which the great leaders of all time have strived to keep central, when he wrote, “Not that we have lordship over your faith, but are fellow workers with you for your joy” (2 Corinthians 1:24). In other words, Our vision is sustained because it is shared, and my biggest responsibility is to keep you joyful — is to build and boost your morale — as we work together to fulfil our vision. That is the mindset that all effective leaders possess at its most essential core.

 

The PRIZE Leadership Model

When I was the president of KIST!, I had to help myself and our team of executives unlock this universal mindset. To that effect, I developed what I now call the PRIZE Leadership Model. Think about it as five (5) dots that, once you learn to connect accurately, will unlock the universal mindset of leadership effectiveness for you. (And if you want some “how to” of all we’ve discussed so far, this is it.)

  • PRODUCTIVITY — perform the task that is expected of you nothing less than is expected of you.
  • RESOURCEFULNESS — perform the task that is expected of you much more than is expected of you.
  • INTERDEPENDENCE — for example, 2 Corinthians 1:24. (The valuing of your team and people development come in here.)
  • ZEAL — you may not be the smartest on your team, but you must be the most passionate.
  • EXCEPTIONAL INNOVATIONS — you need to keep welcoming fresh ideas from your team (and yourself) and you must keep creating more platforms that express the objectives of your team, as much as you are doing all you can to strengthen the existing ones.

As you do all you can every day to grow in your productivity, in your resourcefulness, in your interdependence (with your team members), in your zeal and in bringing forth exceptional innovations, you will unlock the universal mindset of leadership effectiveness in your own life too. And you’ll become “highly desirable,” a prize to the members of your team.

 

How Christ Models the PRIZE Leadership Model

The theme of this conference is, “Real Men: Created in His Likeness.” In truth, our goal in leadership is: To lead in Christ’s likeness. Did Jesus exemplify the PRIZE Leadership Model? Very excellently. And I believe that some snapshots from our Lord’s leadership will put the model into perspective for us.

  1. Productivity — Jesus’ ministry and sacrifice on the Cross saved (and still saves) and healed (and still heals) a countless number of people.
  2. Resourcefulness — A few loaves of bread and pieces of fish fed four thousand men in the region of Gerasenes and five thousand men near Bethsaida, women and children not counted. Little is indeed much in the hands of Jesus!
  3. Interdependence — “Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you. Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain . . .” (John 15:15–16).
  4. Zeal — “My meat [or food] is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work” (John 4:34).
  5. Exceptional Innovations — Jesus in fact achieved beyond exceptional innovations. He did (and still does) His work of total re-creation on man: “If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature” (2 Corinthians 5:17).

 

Conclusion

Last year December, I was invited to speak at Youths for Christ’s camp meeting. I was asked to speak on “The Leader Within You.” In that talk, I mentioned five keys statements, some of which I think may interest you. Here they are: (1) All of you want to be leaders. (2) All of you can become leaders. (3) Over eighty percent of you — who can be leaders — will not be leaders. (4) Less than twenty percent of you will be leaders. (5) Only about five percent of you — who will be leaders — will be significant leaders. Ponder that.

My hope is that after today’s conference, you’ll ponder all I have told and shown you even more deeply; you’ll seek out means to apply them to your own life; you’ll discuss them with your friends; you’ll do all you can to pass them on to your protégées. Because I am so confident that when you do, you’ll never be able to escape ending up in the significant five percent of excellent, effective, influence-wielding, fully blossomed leaders of our generation.


Have a question? Ask below. I will be glad to respond.

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