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The leadership challenge book, by Kouzes, James M, & Posner, Barry Z (editors) provides five exemplary leadership recommendations on the leadership approach providing two commandments in each basic recommendation. These recommendations include, “modeling the way“, inspire a shared vision”, “challenge the process”, “enable others to act”, and “encourage the heart”. The book tries to show us how the Christian leaders in both the secular and Christian faith based organizations like churches, schools and other organizations can use the above named practices to rise to the “Jesus pattern of leadership.” According to Maxwell john, one of contributors in this book along side, Ken Blanchard and Patrick Lencioni (the five temptations’ of a ceo), Jesus pattern of leadership used these principles in developing the gospel.
The book structure follows its basic recommendations. The first part of the book tries to introduce us into these leadership recommendations. The book goes further to give detailed information on the way to apply these recommendations. It starts on how to model the way in the organization. The book tries to give us the way leaders should model their way in leadership and management, the challenges they encounter and how to avoid them. The books guide’s leaders in developing exemplary characteristics like those used by Jesus Christ.
The book introduces each section with biblical chapters and verses that incarcerate Christian leadership philosophy in a tidy and most religious way,” "where vision lacks, my people will succumb,” Proverbs 29:18, and Matthew 23:11 says, "amongst you, the greatest would be the servant”. The leaders try to illustrate by being living testimonies for their employees or churches by inspiring, setting goals, meeting them, and ensuring that in their work, they have a "Jesus style," in which one becomes a servant and leads through parables and model actions. In the chapter, talking about how "Enable Others to Act” as Ortberg shows to the readers that, "Jesus Christ did not talk about the topic of leadership darn often, and although he did, he made it to be about being a servant" .The motivational teachings sometimes sits unrealistic with the Christian religious lessons since they engender; however, making the service and respect as a normal way of working having in mind the "how to progress" teachings of other leadership journals, and Christian leaders may certainly get wisdom from these recommendations.
The book presents to the readers interactions, relationships and what one does to generate others into becoming uplifted in their performance and effectiveness. However, it talks how leadership skills can be found in one's every day’s life by efficient communications, setting your own standards and expectations, and using accepted Christian means to achieve these. Leadership is depicted as everyone’s activity to regularly develop and not being at the same position in life.
Leadership in various organizations has been mostly dedicated to profit making, do as –known -approach and lacks a lot of biblical approach. Leaders in most organizations use what they have learned in several leadership books to makes decisions. Most leaders fail to emulate Jesus Christ example of leadership as this book reveals to us. This behavior has led to most Christian and secular organizations providing inadequate and unholy services to the church. However, this is contrary to the teachings of the bible. The organizations have shifted their priorities in the providing the word of god to the masses. In this book, “Kouzes, James M, & Posner, Barry Z (editors). Christian Reflections on the Leadership Challenge. San Francisco: Josses-Bass, 2004,” the writers show us the various ways to overcome these challenges. The book provides an exemplary guide on how to approach the leadership challenge as a leader and come up with a pattern like the one used by Jesus Christ.
The book triggers a personal experience I had in my organization whereby. The organization had the duty to restore peace in the affected community. However, the leaders in the organization failed in some way since they failed to enact the skilful leadership guidelines as they concentrated on their capacity as team leaders rather an interactive approach. The organization also failed to develop since one of the leader died and he had not,” enabled others to act” under his capacity. Although the leaders believed and had faith in God, they failed to enable other people act and inspire the vision with others while facing their leadership challenges.
By reading this book, there is one major point that comes in mind. It is about how the writers analyzed the challenges of leadership. In regard to leadership challenges facing Christian organizations, there are more challenges facing the organizations than those just discussed by the book.
By reading this book one may ask the question, “Are these real problems that are facing leaders today?” Actually are the other problems of leadership that should be analyzed and discussed in much greater details, but they certainly exceed the contents of the book "The Leadership Challenge”. It is important for one to know the current challenges facing leaders in organizations. There are emerging issues relating to leadership and one must be aware of the best way to challenge them.
One should be able to understand how to handle every risk and handle the subordinates. One should know how the opportunities he or she is searching will impact on the organization and the people they are leading. One should set an illustration that everybody is able to follow in this real life situation. While the author has created some insight setting good examples, there should have been some compelling recent research that would have helped in delivering a very clear pathway of achieving this goal. A team will thus be effective, if service is not directly towards the wish of one person, but in pursuit of the common will of God. This creates a deeper understanding that, to be effective in ministry, we must not seek to gratify ourselves, but to do the will of the owner of the ministry.
Every leader today wants to come up with better and quality actions to counter the challenges facing their organizations. Whether it is church, hospital or school leaders want to establish the best way to approach their subordinates. This does not come up easily since it requires the best combination of factors and dedication. It is important to know, that a team must employ a perfect approach for which they hold themselves communally responsible in their activities. However, one should know how to best encourage others without overstretching and without interfering other people’s affairs. In challenging the process, leaders should be able to face the difficulties and must be aware of them before impacting on the challenging the problems. The book, however, fails to take note of this common area. The book fails to come up with the best solution to a Christian approach in challenging the problems. In addition, the book failed to realize the modern problems facing the Christian leaders in solving their challenges.
A leader must be able to study a situation in relation to time and the environment, analyze the findings with conscience, and conceive a strategic course of action, utilize the resources to implement the counter-problems. The leaders should be able to make adjustments as they occur. Maintaining trust and faith in God should come in first for any leader expecting to excel in leadership and managing the affairs of the organizations.
Secondly, with the insight I got from the book, my first step of action as I serve in my local youth empowerment committee will be to ensure that members help in the process of decision making and build consensus from time to time with two-way communication between members and the leader. We must and think of the situation that if Jesus Christ was on earth today, what best way would he have handled the situation? We understand the current problems facing the youth and come out with the perfect solutions.
We must follow the example of Jesus in working as a perfect leader. Jesus says that whatever someone does him or she has done what God wants. We should work as a team even though the Father reigns. The calling of the twelve disciples by Christ is a perfect example. These people took over leadership after he ascended to heaven. Thus, this is the point of action. Team leadership must seek to mentor other people so that the ministry can still stand in their absence. A very common thread amongst these outstanding leaders is the recognition of a God –given directives.
Thirdly, I must work with utmost intelligence as a leader in discerning the vision of God for the youth committee by showing an understanding of personal abilities and gifts. This can only be accomplished through a study of the community within which we serve. We must also give a chance the people we serve a chance to have a say of what they feel is fit for them. Leadership does not stop on the leaders and subordinates alone but on whom they also work for. We must ensure that every person is working in an area which best fits him. The people with various passions or talent should be given a chance to exploit them. People should be encouraged to come up with different styles in developing their work in Gods’ perfect way.