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The Life of Leaders Analysis and Application
Part 1: Priorities & Balance
The major priority of the leader is to be a servant for the followers instead of demanding others to serve him (Mark 10: 43-45 New International Version). Leaders are the slaves by themselves. In other words, he/she has to be like the Christ, who came to serve people and gave his life for the sake of human souls. Nevertheless, this rule could be applied to all spheres of one's life including the workplace, church, or family. In all the sectors of life, the individual should try to put the interests of others before his/her own needs. Hence, such serving helps to demonstrate the love to humankind in practice. It is easy to say that one loves all people on the Earth. However, it is much more difficult to serve those who surround the leader because they frequently have their weaknesses and can infuriate or simply do something bad to their principal.
On the other hand, constant serving and ignoring personal needs might make people feel like victims. Therefore, it is necessary to find a balance between being of service to society and satisfying one's requirements. The possible criterion is to do something for others if there is an inner impulse. In such a case, one would be able to provide help with gladness and love. As a result, the leader would not expect anything in return. Even if the public does not say thanks, there will be no sense of disappointment. In addition, Christ also encouraged his followers to act with love. When the leader's performance fulfills his egoistic purposes, the adherers feel this. Thus, such a sacrifice will not bring happiness and satisfaction to anybody. The leader should be aware of his own capabilities and serve until he appears to be happy about this.
As for spiritual/vocational calling, leading a family, and pursuing holiness, it can be concluded that these concepts are interrelated. Christ teaches humans to live a life worthy of the calling, which means that they have to be patient, gentle, and humble with others as well as love people (Ephesians 4). It is necessary to maintain the unity of the Spirit using peace. Furthermore, Christ says that there is one body and one Spirit (Ephesians 4). Leading a family also requires following the same guidelines. A wife and a husband compose one body. They should achieve peace, be tolerant, benign, and non-judgmental. Humans should love others, the way they love their soul mate. In family life, it is essential to avoid ignorance and hardening of hearts. Instead, everyone should leave the old self and acquire the new self to resemble Christ in holiness. Moreover, marriage makes people forget about their old selves and attachments and contributes to their holiness. It means that humans should be kind, sympathetic, and forgiving. Therefore, recommendations for leading a family and receiving a spiritual life are identical because family is one of the domains where one can pursue holiness.
At the same time, leading a family has some specific features comparing to leading other people after receiving a spiritual calling. Particularly, the wife is expected to submit herself to her own husband, as she does it to Christ (Ephesians 5:21-27). The husband is the head of the wife like Christ is the head of the church. Hence, the wife should her husband like the church follows the Lord. Nevertheless, the husband should love his wife and do everything possible to make her holy (Ephesians 5:21-27). The last point distinguishes spiritual calling and treating others from leading a family. When leading others, the individual is not required to wash them and make them holy. The priority is to serve and love the followers. Although the husband needs to serve and love his spouse, he is also expected to help her deal with the sins. In other words, he should assist her in pursuing holiness. In this case, the husband acts like Christ with His church.
Overall, it is possible to say that leading a family is another example of spiritual calling, which demands from the leader to become the savior not only of himself but also of his wife. The person has all the life to learn how to love a partner as Christ loves humankind. In addition, it is essential to spend much time with the wife/husband to face the real challenge of staying kind, patient, and gentle over the years. Unlike friends, the spouse cannot disappear for some time. Therefore, leading a family is one of the hardest life tasks.
Another important point is that Christ encourages humans to leave their families, their old selves and follow Him. Although this claim sounds slightly strange, it does not contradicts the guidelines on leading the family. Leaving does not mean that one has to disappear physically from home and terminate all the relationships with family members. It presupposes that the faithful have to listen to the Christ in their hearts and live accordingly to his Commandments. In addition, the husband is ahead of the family. Consequently, the balance between leadership in family and calling is achieved through submission to the man and executing all of his orders. In other words, the man listens to the Lord's calling and uses this information to lead the family, whereas the wife submits to the man. Hence, this structure resembles the hierarchy where the higher classes serve the lower ones, whereas the latter executes the orders of the former.
Therefore, the relationship between priorities and balance is based only on one criterion. Particularly, serving others should be the priority until it brings personal satisfaction and joy. When serving people is considered as an obligation, the balance starts to destroy and the individual behaves like a victim. Leading and calls are common concepts. As a leader, one is expected to love the admirers and be of service to them. Furthermore, calling presupposes treating others with love and kindness. Leading a family is an example of spiritual calling because it requires helping a partner to pursue holiness. Besides, the person has to leave parents alone with a partner. Finally, calling involves leaving the old self to be able to follow Christ.
Part 2: SWOT Analysis
As a family leader, I have three major strengths. Firstly, I am good at serving others. It is not a problem for me to put family needs before my own. Moreover, serving is a pleasure for me and a great opportunity to demonstrate love and respect to the family members. Secondly, I am an attentive listener. Thus, this advantage is useful in determining the demands of others and offering them recommendations. Thirdly, I can persuade others. Since my family members do not abide by the rule about submission to the leader, I have to explain to them the reasons for my decisions. A few minutes of discussion are enough to make relatives change their opinions. Overall, the ability to serve and convince others as well as remarkable listening skills help to convey love to the family members. The relatives say that they feel my kind heart and enjoy spending time with me.
On the other hand, there are certain weaknesses, which prevent me from becoming a really powerful leader. Firstly, I am susceptible to manipulations, which means that people can easily achieve what they want. Moreover, close relatives are aware of my weak points and tend to use them in their own interests. For example, they know how to make me get angry or nervous. Family members can also make me do something that I do not want to. For instance, I may give them some money even if I was not going to do that. Secondly, I sometimes lack confidence in the rightness of my words and actions. However, such a shortcoming hurts the team spirit because everyone expects the leader to be strong and brave. Specifically, I frequently have doubts about purchasing decisions. Thirdly, I cannot select exact words for conveying my thoughts. Although this weakness does not prevent me from persuading others, it creates additional obstacles for transmitting spiritual knowledge. For example, I have problems with explaining to my partners why a particular behavior is not appropriate for Christians; especially, I face the issue of proving the negative role of alcohol.
The greatest opportunity is the courses in the area where I could practice my speaking skills. For instance, there are gatherings of toastmasters close to my home. Toastmasters International is a nonprofit organization, which has clubs across the world. It aims to help people to enhance their communication, public speaking, and leadership skills (Toastmasters International, 2017). The program includes making speeches, providing feedback to various speakers, leading groups, and assisting others in reaching their objectives. As a family leader, I have difficulties with all these skills so the Toastmasters International program is a perfect chance for me. The second opportunity is the involvement in some challenging experiences, which would address my confidence matters. For example, the pilgrims walking routes from Santiago to Compostela (Spain) pose one of the possible challenges. Depending on their goals, travelers can either book some private tours or make it on their own (Hill, n. d). Thus, such kinds of routes allow checking personal capabilities, contribute to raising one's confidence, and learning to accept others. On the way, pilgrims meet individuals with various backgrounds and they have to sleep in rooms with 20 or even more people. Hence, it is good therapy. The third opportunity is training sessions for developing strength and resistance to manipulations. Today, there are numerous online sessions, which broaden these skills. Finally, local sports clubs present another great opportunity because they increase not only psychical strength but also self-confidence. Besides, engaging other family members in these opportunities will unite the family and enhance its team spirit. In addition, an active position in satisfying the individual needs of all family members would improve my image as a leader. The family would be more motivated to work on their spiritual development and helping others.
In the external environment, there also exist a few threats. Firstly, the family might have financial issues due to constant economic crises in the world or simply because of bankruptcy of the companies where the relatives are employed. Lack of money is significant stress for any team and a leader because it would be impossible to take advantage of all existed opportunities. Besides, financial problems might reduce the trust and confidence of the group. For example, the family may think that I am not an efficient leader if I cannot find finances or predict potential risks. Secondly, conflicts may arise due to the death of the grandmother. The demise of close relatives is always stressful, and our family is not an exception. In addition, everybody was very attached to our grandmother so they would need much time to accept her departure from life. As a family leader, I would have to support everybody, which might be hard because I do not know how to behave in such situations. Thirdly, new members might appear in the family. My brother is going to marry soon so that the family would have to welcome his wife. It is not easy since his girlfriend has other values. She is not Christian and sometimes the woman demonstrates risky conduct. For instance, she likes smoking marijuana and going to nightclubs with her friends. The girl refuses to listen to the danger of drugs and alcohol. Instead, she claims that the lifestyle of our family is too conservative and boring. The fourth threat is the shutdown of the church near our home. The problem is that it is an old building and it has to be rebuilt. Consequently, soon it might be closed for renovation. Although there are other Christian churches in the community, they lack a specific atmosphere so my family might refuse to attend the service regularly. The loss of the church is a threat for me as a leader because religious events on Sundays greatly unite the family and help everybody to appreciate Christian values and mission. For example, remembering the need to love others encourages people to stay patient, kind, and compassionate. Hence, the family faces more threats than opportunities.
Part 3: Leadership Plan
In the next calendar year, I am going to employ the disciplines, which would develop my communication skills and abilities to teach others. Therefore, I would take such courses as Gender & Development, Human Resources Development, Educational Leadership, and Learning in a Digital Age. The first three units would expand my knowledge and provide me with the tools for influencing others. Although I am good at persuading, I still have to upgrade my skills to motivate others to pursue their holiness. Particularly, I need to raise my awareness of special features of the development for both genders. As for the last discipline, I believe that it increases my knowledge of current learning opportunities.
The leadership plan also includes reading two books. The first one is Head & Heart: Becoming a spiritual leader for your family. The author Katie Wamer discusses the characteristics of strong spiritual leaders in her own example so that the book is very practical and can be applied in family life. For instance, it contains recommendations on selecting a mission and becoming a worthwhile leader created by God. Spiritual leadership is life-long learning, and it requires patience along with motivation (Wamer, 2015). The publication offers techniques for making this journey smoother. The second book is Spiritual leadership: Principles of excellence for every believer by J. O. Sanders. it is helpful because it provides the guidelines for leading different kinds of believers. Besides, Sanders (2017) claims that the true spiritual leader should develop his talents given by God to be able to serve people most effectively. Hence, this approach agrees with my own vision so that the book could be easily applied in practice.
I am going to cultivate my strengths through spending more time with my family and attending to their problems as well as encouraging them to continue their spiritual development. I will reduce the weaknesses by improving my confidence and assets using the available opportunities. Particularly, I am going to take advantage of visiting the club of toastmasters, taking the pilgrims walking route in Europe, and enrolling in online courses for enhancing self-esteem and strength. I will guard myself against threats through finding alternative ways of earning money, raising awareness of proper behavior while enduring the death of relatives, learning about influencing people of various backgrounds, and searching for new comfortable churches in the neighborhood.