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Leadership and Follower – ship Essay

According to Bass and Avolio (1994) in Parry’s “The Thing about Metaphors and Leadership” (2008), leadership is a transformation. It is a transformation in the hearts and minds of followers so that they move higher level of understanding, commitment, and performance. The two authors asserted that followers perform beyond expectations when that transformation takes place. Hearts and minds imply that the transformation is in the emotional response and the cognitive response that follower’s experience.

They feel better about things and they think more constructively as a result of the leadership that they have experienced. Not only is influence being achieved, but the emotions are positive. (p. 8) On a similar note, Smircich and Morgan (1982) in Parry’s “The Thing about Metaphors and Leadership” (2008) asserted that the essence of leadership is management of meaning. The bottom line of what people do in their leadership roles is to manage the meaning that they make of events.

When leaders and followers make sense of events, and of their role within those events, then they are better able to play their part in events. Leaders are able to influence followers in the ways that the leaders intended. (p. 8) Parry’s (1999) in Parry’s “The Thing about Metaphors and Leadership” (2008) gave an example of leadership that was demonstrated within local government mergers, he found that the essence of leadership was enhancing the adaptability of leaders and followers to the uncertainty and turbulence of change. When leaders are more adaptable, they can lead better.

When followers can adapt to change, they can follow better. Once again, influence is achieved. Moreover, the emotions are positive because followers can see some personal benefit from the positive changes that are achieved, rather than feeling apprehension or remorse as a result of personal risk. (p. 9) On a different note, Weick (1995) and Pye (2005) in Parry’s “The Thing about Metaphors and Leadership” (2008) argue that the essence of leadership lies in sense-making. People in leadership roles make sense of the situation they are faced with.

In turn, they help convey that sense to followers. A leader makes sense of the confusion and ambiguity and conveys that sense to followers. In turn followers make sense of their challenges and expectations, which enables them to achieve the outcomes that are desired. Parry contends that this idea of “sense-making” is perhaps the best metaphor for leadership. (p. 9) How Jesus Christ is the Perfect Model of Servant Leadership In the world today there are many types of leaders, from military to the business world to community organizations to government institutions.

Whereas, some leaders assume leadership positions without undergoing training, others, like is the case in the military undergoes a rigorous training procedure that equips them with the necessary knowledge and skills to lead. However, no matter the training one has to undergo in order to qualify to be a leader, s/he may not exemplify the true servant leadership that Jesus Christ exemplified and preached about. One of the greatest leaders in human history learned this when he was given the task of leading God’s chosen people out of the wilderness and into the Promised Land.

According to Dr. John J. Javis, a professor of Old Testament and Hebrew at the Grace Theological Seminary, “when Joshua and the children of Israel were faithful to God’s Word and His will, there was victory. When they abandoned His will in favor of their own genius, there was failure and frustration. ” [Davis, 1969] Failure and frustration is a direct result of the inability to learn to follow before you can learn to lead. Under Moses’ leadership, Joshua learned this very well. Leadership is influence, so the accepted definition goes.

Influence is the ability to move another person in a direction you believe is important. By any definition, Jesus Christ was a leader like any other. He influenced many and his follower-ship continues to influence many including the author of this paper whose follower-ship has resulted into many professional victories in his military career, a phenomenon that has led to his leadership. It is awesome how He prepares our hearts in one season to equip us for future roles and responsibilities.

It is unbelievable how the follower-ship of His leadership continue to propagate His teachings that in turn continue to enhance his leadership many years after his physical departure from the earth, indeed his was and continue to be a true servant leadership that we should emulate. Greenwood et al (2008) in their research findings asserts that “Leaders’ must understand the different needs of each generation and the needs of the different generations in countries in which they are conducting business if they are to lead successfully.

Managers in their leadership capacity should also create human resources policies to ensure that work teams include the perspectives of these different generational value systems. Yet, leaders must meet the challenge of managing each generation differently in order to achieve high performance outcomes. By examining each generation’s value structure, one can develop a profile of each group which can guide how each is managed. ” (p.

69) Looking back at Jesus’ Ministry one is inclined to conclude that He (Jesus Christ) was the greatest leader of all times, the world has and will ever know because he combined the leadership and follower-ship virtues to the successfully weave His Ministry among all the generations. He clearly demonstrated perfect leadership while fully submitted to His father’s will – what a blessing to have a Savior who took on flesh and walked this earth, a great High Priest who is familiar with our sufferings… an effective leader. Dr.

Ken Collier, a Christian Camp Counselor says it this way, “Jesus Christ had a sharply focused view of exactly what His Father desired of him. No trial no deprivation, no conflict, no misunderstanding, and no death threat made Him swerve from following the will of his father. What a leader, what a follower! ”[Collier, 2004] Dr. John McArthur appropriately asks a few questions in, The Book of Leadership: “First, what makes a good leader? Is it rank, status, celebrity, clout, or even style? Is leadership automatically bestowed by a box on the organizational chart?

Where do position and power figure into the formula for leadership? And what is the ideal model for leaders? Is it the corporate chief executive officer? Or the military commander? Or even the head of state? ” [MacArthur, 2004] Jesus Christ answers all these questions in a few words. His views on leadership are conspicuously out of step with the conventional wisdom of our age. Jesus Christ said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great, exercise authority over them.

Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great (the leader) among you, let him be your servant. And whoever desires to be among you, let him be your slave (Matthew 20:25-28 NKJV). ” Going by this principle, one will not fail to truly be convinced, that the truest form of leadership demands service, sacrifice, and selflessness. A proud a self-promoting person is not a good leader by Jesus’ standards, regardless of how much clout s/he might wield. Leaders who look to Jesus Christ as their leader and their supreme model of leadership will have servants’ hearts.

They will exemplify sacrifice and follower-ship. Burns (1978) summed up what is expected of a leader, that; “it is beyond just accomplishment of shared objectives to include followers values and motivations: as leaders inducing followers to act for certain goals that represent the values and the motivation – the wants and the needs, the aspirations and expectations – of both leaders and followers. And the genius of leadership lies in the manner in which leaders see and act on their own and their followers’ values and motivations. ” (p. 19)

A leader must learn, practice, and master follower-ship in order to ever gain a position of leadership – Joshua learned, practiced, and mastered Moses’ concepts of leadership and as a result he successfully led the Canaanites. Dr. James Montgomery Boice, senior pastor of Tenth Presbyterian Church, president and cofounder of “The Bible Study Hour”, comments this way: “Nearly everyone wants to be prosperous as a result of their leadership, yet most fail. What is the problem? The problem is that we do not follow the divine formula for success. ” [Boice, 1969] Depree (1989) defines a true servant leadership this way;

“The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality. The last is to say thank you. In between the two, the leader must become a servant and a debtor. That sums up the progress of the artful leader. ” (p. 11) That is what we so badly need today in a leader: not increasingly clever methods, still less increasingly clever people, but obedience informed and motivated by living and abiding example of Jesus Christ. To be a leader does not necessarily require an appointment or election. God chooses leaders; He equips them with the true leadership skills and knowledge so that they may help others become good leaders and followers.

If one is endowed with the true leaderships skills, then it is his/ her responsibility to help others, an example of such situation is exemplified by Mr. Alber Survovik, a Christian business man, Caldwell ISD School Board Trustee, Burleson County, and Texas Appraisal District Board Director. His is a case of true leadership endowed by God, he assets that, “Professionally I am an Automation Systems Analysis at APC, a LocalAdLink representative and a rancher. My family loves getting away to our West Texas Hill Country Hunting and Camping Ranch. I enjoy meeting new people and helping others.

One might say that I have a servant’s heart. ” [Surovik, 2009] It should be noted that leadership is essential. Without leadership in any organization, it flounders and staggers on a haphazard course. Without leadership, an organization is unable to fulfill its core purposes. Simply, the idea of someone leading others is rooted in the Scriptures. For someone to assume the role of the leader and to expect others to follow his or her example is not egotistical, authoritarian, condescending, or sinful. We are assured of this because the Scriptures lay down the basis and guidelines for leadership.

[MacArthur, 2005] The author of this paper is a United States Navy Flag Writer, who as expected swore to protect the constitution of the United States, and to follow the orders of those appointed over him. As a Navy flag Writer, the person appointed over him are always admirals. Admirals are men and women who make serious decisions in support of national security, thereby defined as leaders. The choice of this particular career was fundamental as it directly enables him to serve Jesus Christ by serving “those appointed over him”, as well as those who serve under him.

By following the orders of the Admiral, he then can lead those who serve him. He does this by applying the principles discussed in this paper. He constantly remind himself whenever he is faced with making a tough leadership decision, that first, he is a follower – not just of a Navy Admiral, but of Jesus Christ. He reminds himself that although Jesus is the Christ, and that He epitomizes leadership, He did remove his outer garments and wash the feet of those he led. This does not imply that the author cordons washing someone’s feet per se, but the application and example still stands – for one to be a leader, s/he must be a follower.

This is what is defined as servant leadership, and it has its place throughout the military, the business world, and our society as a whole. In conclusion, it is vital to a servant reader that he or she be endowed by a meek and quiet spirit. Meekness and quietness are like a precarious gem to a leader. The 17th century puritan, and personal hero to the author of this paper, Mathew Henry describes this so eloquently: [Henry, 1996] “Quietness is the evenness, the composure, and the rest of the soul, which speaks both the nature and the excellence of the grace of meekness.

The greatest comfort and happiness of man is sometimes set forth by quietness. That peace of conscience which Christ has left for a legacy to His followers, that present sabbatism of the soul, which is an earnest of the rest that remains for the people of god, is called ‘quietness and assurance forever,’ and is promised as ‘the effect of righteousness’ (Isaiah 32: 17), and it follows, ‘My peace shall dwell in quiet resting places. ’ So graciously has God been pleased to entwine interest with us, as to enjoin the same thing under the notion of a duty which He proposes and promises under the notion of a privilege.

Justly may we say we serve a good master, whose ‘yoke is easy’ (Mathew 11: 30). ” References: Parry, K. (2008). The Thing About Metaphors and Leadership. International Journal of leadership, Volume 1, Issue 1, 2008, pp. 8 -9, accessed on March 6, 2009 Greenwood, R. A. Gibson, J. W. & Murphy, E. F. (2008). An Investigation of Generational Values in the Workplace: Divergence, Convergence and Implications for Leadership, Journal of leadership, Volume 1, Issue 1, 2008, p. 69, accessed on March 6, 2009 Burns, J. M. (1978). Leadership. New York: Harper & Row Publishers, p. 19, accessed on March 6, 2009 Depree, M.

(1989). Leadership is an art. New York: Bantam Doubleday Dell, P. 11, accessed on March 6, 2009 Matthew 20:25-28 NKJV; Isaiah 32: 17; and, Mathew 11: 30; New King James Version (NKJV) Bible, accessed on March 6, 2009 Boice, James M. “Joshua. ” An Expositional Commentary. 1989. Baker Publishing Group, Grand Rapids, MI, accessed on March 6, 2009 Collier, Ken & Williams, Matthew. “Biblical Leadership. ” Becoming A Different Kind Of Leader. 2004. Ambassador Emerald International. Greenville, SC, accessed on March 6, 2009 Davis, John J. “Conquest and Crisis. ” Studies in Joshua, Judges, and Ruth. 1969.

Wipf and Stock Publishers. Eugene, OR, accessed on March 6, 2009 Henry, Matthew. “The Quest for Meekness and Quietness of Spirit. ” 1996. Soli Deo Gloria Publications. Morgan, PA, accessed on March 6, 2009 MacArthur, John. “The Book on Leadership. ” 2004. Thomas Nelson Publishers. Nashville, TN, accessed on March 6, 2009 MacArthur, John. “Pastoral Ministry. ” How to Shepherd Biblically. 2005. Thomas Nelson Publishers. Nashville TN, accessed on March 6, 2009 Surovik, Albert. A Personal Testimony. 2009, available at; http://albertsurovik. blogspot. com/2007/03/testimony-of-mike- napoli. html, TN.


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