Summary: Leadership should adjust itself to the cultural context so as to be the best servant leadership following the example of Jesus Christ who humbled himself and became like a man. Leadership Changes Across Culture
LEADERSHIP CHANGES ACROSS CULTURES
Quote: Jesus said, "Follow Me and I will make you fishers of men. And they left everything and followed Him." (Matt 4:19,20)
Introduction - Trying to work in another culture with your own cultural values of leadership can be frustrating, counter-productive, and dangerous.
Illustration: Take for example, the man who thought he could transfer the principles of Western democratic census building into running a theological school in Africa. One day he found himself in a committee to determine the new curriculum for the school.
Mysteriously it seemed that whenever he tried to build a majority view of the philosophy and direction of the curriculum, most of the participants were silent. However, as the meeting progressed, it became clear that the faculty members had their own idea of the kind of curriculum they preferred for the theological college. Then the American leader discovered something that shocked his sensibilities about leadership.
Most of the decisions in that part of Africa were made before the meeting occurred. The major directions, philosophies, and courses were determined in small group discussions in the context of trusting friendship conversations outside of the walls of the school.
Relationships determined not only the courses, but who would teach which courses, and where they wanted to take the students in each course. All of this was not done in a formalized committee meeting, but happened under the shade of a mango tree when the American was typing up the agenda for next days meeting. The American had to go through a paradigm shift in his thinking about the nature, responsibilities, and processes of leadership in another cultural context. Leadership should adjust itself to the cultural context so as to be the best servant leadership following the example of Jesus Christ who humbled himself and became like a man.
I. Leadership’s Nature
Problems to Overcome With Good Leadership -
One of the greatest problems today comes from people who want authority and power without realizing where it comes from, its ultimate purposes, it nature, its methods, and the qualifications of those who claim to be leaders.
Many people want power, authority, and leadership without having to take the accompanying responsibility. Some people insist on holding positions of leadership when they are ready spiritually, educationally, or experientially. Even some Christians want the power of the Holy Spirit for their own selfish benefits, but are unwilling to submit to obedience of God’s word to acquire it in His timing. The following are some of the solution steps to several of these types of problems in cross-cultural leadership.
A. Leadership includes having authority which implies having the power and the right to give directions or take action. When you are a leader you are in a position to govern, to rule, to have dominion over others. For example one may have the power as a dictator, but not have the right to be a leader. On the other hand, it is possible that one may have the right but not the power to exercise leadership for several reasons. First the proper authority, power, or responsibilities-resources may not be properly given to the leader. The leader may not know what his right authorities, responsibilities, resources, and identities consist of. Third the leader may fail to exercise the powers that are his.
B. A true leader must gain his authority from God and by merit. His authority should be based on scripture, principles of justice, fairness, and the promises that Jesus Christ gave His disciples when He said, "If you want to be great in the kingdom of God you must be A SERVANT OF ALL." This presupposes that you are willing to serve those who God has placed you in leadership over for their welfare.
C. Leaders gain people’s respect for their capacity to positively use their authority. People spoke of Jesus as one who had authority when it was ascribed to him by the centurion in Matt. 8:9 when he said, "Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, Go and he goes; and that one Come and he comes, I say to my servant, Do this and he does. So just say the word, and my servant will be healed." The centurion was commended for astute insights and great faith.
D. Leaders demonstrate power and authority over the forces of evil. In Mark 1:16-20, Jesus began to teach in the synagogue. There the people were amazed at his teaching, because he taught them as one who had authority, not as the teachers of the law. Then Jesus exercised His authority by shouting to the demon inside of a possessed man, "Be quiet, come out of him. The evil spirit shook the man violently and came out of him with a shriek. The people were all so amazed that they asked each other. what is this? A new teaching and with authority! He even gives order to evil spirits and they obey him. " Jesus showed how to communicate his authority through demonstration s of His power and authority over all evil forces publicly. He feared no one.