September 11, 2001 saw the deadliest terrorist attack ever launched on America, in which nearly 3000 innocent souls perished. That period, I wrote that the 21st century will be characterized with conflict, crisis, and chaos. I also wrote that if conflict is not confronted, it will lead to chaos. Nearly twenty years later, the world is still witnessing a chaotic world and political leaders are not tackling global crises effectively and with courage.
Leading in the 21st century will require extraordinary leadership – men and women who possess what I call the seven Cs of leadership.
The Seven (7) Indispensable Ingredients of Leadership are:
1. Character – This is the greatest ingredient of leadership. A person may have impressive skills and talents, and personality but without sound character. And we see a lot it today. A true leader must have genuine character, consistent credibility and godly integrity. Sound character is developed right from childhood. Therefore, it’s not a learned behavior. Godly character will protect your talent and skills and position you for great leadership. Without quality character and positive integrity no one can be an effective leader.
2. Courage – All effective leaders are men and women of great courage and convictions. He or she must display courage and strength like Joshua who led the Israelites into the Promised Land or Prophetess Deborah, a strong woman of God, an influential leader, who led the Israelites in conquering and turning the tide of the cruel oppression and idolatrous rule of Sisera against the Israelites in Canaan (Judges 4). According to the late leadership guru, Dr.Myles Munroe, “Courage is resistance to and mastery of fear, not the absence of fear.” Leaders without this virtue will fail to make fair and right decisions. Without right and godly decisions, people will suffer and perish.
3. Call, Commission, & Competence – A true leader must be called and prepared by God. This is often a painful process and involves a lot of sacrifice. In Numbers 27:18-23; the LORD told Moses to commission Joshua, a man in whom is the spirit. Then Moses laid his hands on him before all the assembly of Israel and before the high priest Eleazer and commissioned Joshua as the LORD instructed. And in Deuteronomy 31:14 and 34:9,Joshua was filled with the spirit of wisdom as Moses laid hands on him. Joshua was then presented as the successor of Moses at the Tent of Meeting before all the children of Israel and they listened to him. There cannot be effective leadership without a call, commission, and competence.
4. Compassion – Enduring leadership,the kind that makes a positive, long-range difference, is always characterized by compassion. A compassionate leader cares about people. A compassionate leader seeks the greatest good for all people. Compassion is perhaps one the greatest ingredients of great leadership. Rev. AL Sharpton once said,“You cannot serve people you don’t love.”
5. Commitment – Commitment involves personal cost, self-denial, hard work and personal sacrifice. Sometimes, it involves paying the ultimate price, which is death (Martin Luther King Jr., Jesus). Jesus Christ said if you want to follow me,you must be willing to carry the cross. A committed leader does not compromise or sacrifice truth because of peer or political pressure like Pontius Pilate during the trial of Jesus by the Romans. A leader is called to be a person of courageous commitment, first to God and then to followers. Effective leadership flows from such commitment. All great leaders are people of courageous commitment.
6. Charisma – Charisma does not mean good looks, or how big, or tall, strong or intimidating personality one may have. According to the Random House Dictionary, charisma is defined as the special quality that gives an individual influence, charm or inspiration over large numbers of people. A leader is charismatic when certain abilities such as communication and oratory skills, listening abilities, wisdom and other skills are evident and abundantly superior to other people around him or her. This is simply the ability to listen and communicate effectively not merely being handsome or beautiful.
7. Change – Change is being able to innovate,critical thinking – mentally and emotionally etc. This requires simply sharp and brilliant mind– people who are visionary and able to see the future without abusing ethical and compromising moral laws. Without change, growth is impossible. Change will always lead to challenges,conflict and opposition. Challenges and conflict are unavoidable with change. Every active leader will face challenges, opposition and conflict, but you must be willing to listen, learn and confront challenges. You must be an expert of conflict management and problem solving. Great leaders are not called to compromise in managing conflicts but to confront it. You must not run from conflict but must confront conflict with courage and compassion.
Without these ingredients, no one should aspire to office of power and authority.
C. K. Ekeke, M. Div., Ph.D.
Public Theologian, Author and Consultant
Leadership Wisdom Institute