We are currently undergoing one of the greatest global economic challenges in several decades, and there is a lot of uncertainty everywhere you bother to look. There is no sector that is spared, and desperation has become the response of many people to the economic situation. All over the world, people are looking to positional leaders for direction through and out of the global economic and related social challenges.
With these challenging socio-economic conditions have come the desperate calls and continued demand for strong and capable leadership. For instance, in the United States of America’ presidential election of 2008, Barak Obama the first African American President was elected largely on the platform of his supposed better economic policies and understanding, as well as the passion that his message of change, believe and hope evoked.
Remarkably, after some years in the White House, he was still struggling, moving ahead against the odds, trying to assure the American people that they did not make a wrong choice. His case and that of other leaders like him underscore the high expectations that leaders have to contend with in tough times, even though they may not be directly responsible for a lot of went wrong. Nevertheless they have to take responsibility for the wins and losses.
That is the price of top leadership at tough times – you must be both tough and nice! The point being made is that a leader must be ready to take the responsibility for leadership. And, as it is the case with the likes of President Obama and other leaders of governments, so it is with business owners and organisational leaders.
This brings to mind the experience of David, when the Amalekites raided his base in Ziklag, burned the city and took captive his wives and children as well as those of his warriors. Even though David also experienced the temporary loss of his own family members in the raid, the same people that David had been leading with obvious personal inspiration and commitment thought of stoning David to death. Why? Well, someone must take the blame and the leader (David) was fingered. That is leadership!
Thank God that the David had learnt to trust God and not depend or rely entirely on the commitment, understanding and loyalty of his fickle-minded men. The bible records that “David encouraged himself in the Lord His God” (1 Samuel 30:6). He therefore refused to join issues with the people that blamed him for their personal losses, which he was not responsible for and couldn’t have even prevented. He simply looked to God for courage, grace and direction, and carried on with his leadership assignments.
If you are an organisational leader today, you will likely face situations like these when the full responsibility of creating a balance between productivity and resource maximisation would rest largely on you. At times like these your people will look up to you, as if you are a god, magician or warrior. And, although you may not be any of these, you will be expected to produce results to assuage their feelings and fears.