Good leadership creates strong groups. Photo: Geoff Crawford/Tearfund
Good leadership creates strong groups. Photo: Geoff Crawford/Tearfund

By Helen Gaw  

We remember and value leaders who have used their position to empower us and help us. But leaders can use their position to abuse us. It can be difficult to admit that this has happened because it is easy to assume that a leader is always right. So we need to consider what the qualities of a good leader are.

Good leaders do not promote themselves at the expense of others. Instead, they promote the interests of others. They consider this better than privilege or prestige. Jesus is the perfect example of a leader. He challenged the common view of a leader as someone who can expect to be treated like royalty. He said 'For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who is at the table? But I am among you as one who serves.' (Luke 22:27).

Leaders can be women or men, young or old, from any ethnic group or tribe. The character of a leader has a longer lasting impact than his or her qualifications. Current leaders have a responsibility to identify and train the next generation of leaders. This is the focus of our front page article.

A number of the other articles share advice about working with people, working in teams and building effective organisations. We cannot consider the questions 'What is a leader?' and 'What is good leadership?' in a practical way unless we also think about the people and the work the leader is leading.

Good relationships with others are so important. The Bible study on p15 is a reflection on relationships that helps us examine our hearts before doing anything else - whether we are leaders now or might be leaders in the future.

The next two issues will be on the subjects of trees and stigma. 

Please find below articles from Footsteps issue 84 in html.

To download a pdf version of Footsteps issue 84, please click here (549KB).

  • Bible study: Preparing ourselves to lead

    Preparing ourselves to lead By Ábia Saldanha Figueiredo. Jesus Christ has been present through the course of history and remains unchanged through time and generations. He formed a group of apostles. He chose 12 people.

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  • Bringing out the best in people

    compiled by Helen Gaw. Different styles of leadership are needed at different times for different people. When leading, it is important to adapt to the needs of each individual. This is true whether the relationship is one of employer and employee in the workplace, or team leader and volunteer in a community project. 

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  • Developing future leaders

    by Henrietta Blyth. Leadership makes or breaks groups of any size - from small community groups through to large organisations. An effective leader can turn a disorganised group into a great one, while a poor leader can destroy a group which may have been effective for many years beforehand. All groups thrive with good leadership and become ineffective or fall apart with poor leadership.

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  • 'I didn't want to be a leader'

    by Lynsey Pollard. The earthquake in Haiti on 12 January 2010 caused widespread devastation. Families and communities were torn apart. As people wandered around the streets, homeless, starving and terrified, natural leaders emerged among the survivors. These new leaders mobilised people to concentrate on their families and immediate needs rather than everything they had lost.  

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  • Leadership and team work

    by Andrew Gwaivangmin. If community organisations are to grow sustainably then more leaders will be needed who are trained and mentored. African communities, like communities elsewhere, often have individuals who may not be formally recognised as leaders yet who can and do exercise leadership. One common challenge is taking people who are strong in certain technical skills and putting them in leadership positions. It is good to do this, but without any leadership training or support through ...

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  • Leadership styles - a game

    by Tulo Raistrick and Helen Gaw. This is a good way for a group of people to learn about the effects of three different leadership styles on how a group works together. 

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  • Letters

    An idea for helping people to keep vaccination appointments I would like to share a little of our experience in the context of our expanded programme on immunization. During the sessions I give my mobile phone number to the mothers, and I suggest that they put my number on their mobile phones under: 'Vaccination' and not under my own name. Each time a woman misses an appointment I send a text message, and that comes up as 'Vaccination' on her mobile phone. Today this system is reducing ...

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  • Non-formal training for leaders

    Our beliefs shape what we think leadership should be like and how we lead. For this reason leadership principles are often taught from the perspective of a particular faith. In this article Dr Sam Thomas shares his experience of training Christian leaders. 

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  • Pedal-powered washing machines

    compiled by Helen Gaw. An innovator comes up with new ideas and puts them into practice to test them. Sometimes innovators are ridiculed because their new ideas seem crazy to other people, but most of us benefit every day from the discoveries made by innovators. Innovators are leaders in the field of ideas. Young people sometimes come up with the best innovations - perhaps because they have not become used to the already tried-and-tested ways of doing things.

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  • Running an organisation effectively

    compiled by Helen Gaw. One important area of leadership is governance. Organisational governance is the process of overseeing an organisation. It involves making sure the organisation's work is done effectively and well. Often, it is a legal requirement for a registered organisation to have some kind of governing body.  

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  • Shared leadership

    by Dr Colleen Beebe Purisaca. Peace and Hope International developed from a Peruvian initiative and works with organisations from around the world. So it is important that our leadership reflects our roots in Latin America and our goal of working across cultures.

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  • Sharing the vision

    by Rick James. Joyce Banda attributes her empowering leadership style to some difficult and humbling experiences in the early years of leading the National Association of Business Women (NABW) in Malawi.

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  • Three skills for effective leadership

    The day-to-day challenges of leadership can be as great as the challenges of vision, strategy and big decisions. However, often these challenges are less obvious. Here we share some advice on working effectively and motivating others in your day-to-day work.

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