How to become a messiah leader

If you read the last two editions of this column, you might begin to wonder if I am not about to contradict myself. Being a Messiah is quite different from the delusions of being one. There is a difference between the leader as messiah and the leader suffering from a near-psychotic delusion of a Messiah Complex.

Every effective leader displays an appreciable degree of redemptive capacity. Let me explain. The primary job of a leader is to influence people towards the attainment of a set goal, achieved mostly through the manifestation of a relationship dynamic that inspires everyone on the team. This entails a lot of things, most important of which is to lead the way by example rather than by double standards.

In closing last week, I said that God has already sent the ultimate Messiah into the world. Let me push that further to say that since He (Jesus Christ) accomplished His mission successfully, His life can safely be used as a template for the leader who also wants to succeed in his own messianic mission. I will be using the same acronym M.E.S.S.I.A.H that I used earlier and drawing parallels from the life of Christ as I did from the life of Manager David in the last two editions.

Every leader with a true messianic mission is a Motivator. One of the easiest ways to motivate people is to set before them pictures of the future, a preferred outcome that inspires hope in them that if they pay the price now, there is a great prize ahead. Jesus was constantly doing this for and with His disciples. He always painted pictures that raised hope and expectations. He spoke extensively about a better kingdom to inherit. He painted the pictures of what it would be like to live in the reality of that kingdom and demonstrated before them its inherent possibilities in a way that made it worth even dying for! He made them promises of playing prominent roles in the evolution of that kingdom in a way that made some of them give up thriving businesses and position to follow Him.

Whenever he delegates, the messiah leader also Empowers for function and execution. Jesus spent quality time to teach His disciples on the dynamics of the kingdom and their expected role in making it happen. But He did not stop there. He gave them responsibility plus authority. When He sent them out to go and demonstrate what they had learnt from Him, He gave them the power so to do. Up until that time, He was the only one who healed the sick, raised the dead, cast out demons and performed sundry miracles. However, when He asked His disciples to go and preach the same thing they had heard Him preach, He gave them the power over all unclean spirits and to perform the same miracles that they saw Him perform. And He was not breathing down their necks to know whether they could do it or not! When they saw themselves doing what they had seen their leader do, they returned to him brimming with excitement and an unusual level of confidence as they gave their reports.

The Messiah leader Supervises performance. He guides his followers without tele-guiding them. He delegates but does not abdicate responsibility for the outcome. His supervisory role is carried out, not by intimidating the followers but by ensuring that he supplies everything that the followers need to succeed. He leads through service. This means that he walks where the followers walk and is never too busy to help them overcome obstacles in the way of performance. Jesus was not too busy to pay a visit to the home of Peter’s mother-in-law who was sick. He stooped to wash His disciples’ feet as a way of demonstrating to them the quality of service they were to provide to others through their calling. This kind of service is driven first and foremost by compassion that puts people above the task to be accomplished!

Messiah leaders Shield their followers from blame and take full responsibility for their errors. While the leader with a Messiah Complex is always trying to make everyone else look bad so that they can look good, the Messiah leader is willing to take the fall on behalf of his followers. At a point when Peter, one of Jesus’ disciples was not even aware of the challenges of his own life, Jesus made him understand that the adversary had made spirited attempts to make Peter’s life frustrating and unfulfilling. However, He also let Peter know that He had taken care of it in prayer and further made it clear to Peter that he was to do the same for others.

Leaders with the Messiah trait Instruct their followers without ambiguity, not holding back any information that would enable them succeed in their assignment. It was for this reason that Jesus spent quality time teaching His disciples. Leaders who succeed significantly are those who spend significant time and resources in capacity building. The people you refuse to expend resources on building will eventually destroy the structure that you are spending resources to build. Great leaders build with people, not on the backs of people. No wonder it is said that when a great leader tells his followers to jump, they simply ask him, “How high?”!

A Messiah leader never misses an opportunity to Acknowledge and reward where necessary, the contributions and achievements of his followers. Not one who wants to hug the limelight alone, he is comfortable in his own skin enough to share and rejoice in the success stories of his followers without feeling demeaned. Secure in the knowledge that nobody claps with one hand, he celebrates the victories, whether personal or on the job, of His followers. When the disciples came to give Him the report of their escapades based on the assignment He delegated to them, the scriptures report that Jesus rejoiced at their report! Let your followers always know that they are an essential part of your success story. So when they succeed, you too multiply your success!

Finally, Messiah leaders regularly Hold feedback sessions with their followers. Leadership experts have told us that feedback is the breakfast of champions. Great leaders make time out for honest, open feedback sessions where their followers can bare their minds on the process leading to the overall goals. A feedback session is not a lecturing session where the leader’s voice is the only one being heard or where it is the loudest. When followers detect that in a leader, they keep their opinions to themselves even when such could be of great benefit to the corporate outcome. In a feedback session with His disciples, Jesus asked them questions about their understanding of His identity and mission. Many leaders avoid feedback sessions because they fear negative feedback. To great leaders, feedback, positive or negative, provides a learning curve, either to identify and reinforce what is working well or to identify and eliminate or substitute what is defective in the strategy.

Wouldn’t you rather be a Messiah leader?

Remember, the sky is not your limit, God is!



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