Leadership is the capacity to influence others through inspiration motivated by a passion, generated by a vision, produced by a conviction, ignited by a purpose –Dr Myles Munroe
To understand this definition in depth, we must consider the key elements of leadership. The key elements of leadership according to Dr Myles Munroe are purpose, conviction, vision, passion, inspiration and influence.
As someone who has been schooled by several books and teachings from Dr Myles Munroe, the exposition I will be giving concerning this key aspects of leadership are not just my take on them, but what I have learned from him concerning each of these subjects, and experiences I have gotten from applying what I’ve learned from him.
The Place of Purpose in Leadership
Purpose is the reason why a thing was created. It is the intent the manufacturer of a particular product had in mind while creating the product.
Think of a laboratory test tube and a glass tumbler: although their makeup and shape are similar, what sets them apart is the purpose for which they were created.
In the same vein, every human being was created to be a leader, and as an individual you are expected to lead in a particular area of gifting or calling. To discover the area where you are to lead, you must discover your purpose (God’s purpose for creating you).
There is no leadership without a purpose. The individual leader must be committed to a particular purpose that others (the followers) are to join him or her in.
Leadership built on purpose is not limited to just personal leadership. For corporate leadership also, there should be a purpose to which the leader wants the people to join in fulfilling.
The first question every leader of any team or organization should ask themself is the question of purpose. What am I leading these people to achieve? Where is the destination we want to reach? Without a clear definition of purpose leadership is pointless.
The leaders of a nation are only truly leaders when there is a national goal or purpose they are leading the people towards.
For personal leadership, since God is the creator of the individual, He has the best picture of the purpose for which the individual was created. Going back to God to lay hold of personal purpose is the biggest step to find the purpose which the individual leader should lead the people in.
Corporate purpose on the other hand can be gotten from the overall purpose of the organization under which the leader is leading.
A leader of the sales team of a business knows that the aim of the business is to make profit, and his role as the leader of the sales team is to lead the team in closing more sales. That is the purpose of his leadership.
The Place of Conviction in Leadership
The next phase to effective leadership after clarity of purpose is having conviction about the purpose. The leader, either individual or corporate, must have a strong conviction about the purpose.
Conviction means having an unshakable belief in the necessity and possibility of that purpose. This means the leader must first be persuaded that the purpose is something worth pursuing.
Secondly, the leader must also be fully persuaded of the feasibility of the purpose: that it is something that after pursuing, can be achieved.
If the leader isn’t convicted about the purpose (it’s necessity and possibility), he will not have enough drive to keep at pursuing it, enough for others to join him.
Without conviction, discouragement and weariness with set in on the journey towards achieving the purpose.
Note that, the first stages of leadership up until the final stage all deals with the leader himself. There is not so much about the followers yet. It can be said that 80% of the success of leadership has to do with the individual leader. Once the leader plays the 80% of his part rightly, the remaining 20% that is dependent on the followers almost never lags.
So, followers cannot join a leader in going to a destination he isn’t sure of, or doesn’t show enough conviction about. Humans in general need assurance of destination before they can fully commit themselves to any journey.
It is the assignment of the leader to get assured of the destination and then transfer the same conviction or assurance to the followers so they can committedly follow his leadership towards the attainment of the said purpose.
Our sales leader must be convinced that the strategy he’s taking the team members through is an effective one that will bring their goals of more sales.
The Place of Vision in Leadership
Vision is having a clear purpose of the future. It is seeing, now, the possibility of what could be in the future that does not exist yet. Vision is the capturing of what could become in the future from what exists now.
For example, a seed has the possibility of becoming a tree; vision is looking at that dry seed placed on a table and seeing the potential to become a tree. Even greater than that, vision is looking at that seed and seeing a forest.
That is, the seed will become a tree, which will produce fruits, which will produce more seeds, which will all become more trees, and so on.
To be a true leader– and one who is effective, you must be able to see a forest beyond every seed you have with you. You must see the potential of what could become of the purpose you are convicted of.
Vision is necessary if you must make anything out of your purpose, because you cannot arrive at a future you have not seen. It is not enough to be convinced of your purpose, you must also have a picture of what could become of that purpose or where pursuing that purpose will take you to.
Purpose is the destination of your leadership while vision is a clear mental picture of that destination. For a leader to truly lead a people towards any destination, he must be able to transfer the picture of that destination from his mind to the mind of his followers– but he must first have the picture.
1. Vision gives focus to leadership: once a leader is directed by a clear vision, he is also clear about what to achieve
2. Vision gives direction to leadership: since the leader knows where he is going, he can easily determine what to do and what not to do
3. Vision helps the leader set his priorities right to attain the purpose: since the leader has identified what to be done to get to the destination, he can then set his priorities right and know what to give high amount of energy to and what to get done first
4. Vision chooses relationships for the leader: a leader who has a clear picture of the destination of his leadership will know who he needs to work with in order to get to that destination
The Place of Passion in Leadership
Passion is having strong enthusiasm towards a particular cause. It is a driving force that keeps an individual committed to, and energized by the pursuit of a cause. Passion may or may not give the individual excitement but it keeps the individual continually being interested in the cause.
The proof of passion is pursuit.
When you are passionate about a cause, you might agree that it is truly demanding and stressful, but unlike others who gets discouraged and leave, something keeps drawing you back to that cause. That something is passion.
A leader must be passionate about pursuing the vision he sees for his leadership for it to truly come to pass. Leading people to a destination is a demanding task that requires a lot of effort and commitment so the leader must be passionate about the destination he sees enough to keep at it through all the demands that comes with the vision.
As Myles Munroe always says, you should not only be willing to live for your vision you should be willing to die for it. That is passionate pursuit.
The leaders of all time we celebrate today are those who had so much passion for their dreams or vision for the people, and were willing to lay aside their freedom, reputation, family, pleasure, and literally themselves, to pursue the actualization of that vision.
Think of Martin Luther King Jr, Nelson Mandela or Mahatma Gandhi and you will appreciate the place of passion and passionate pursuit towards the success of leadership.
Now, your leadership may not require that you lay down your life or be jailed (a dead man doesn’t lead), but you must be willing to lay down your life for your vision.
Most of the leaders who were willing to lay down their lives didn’t die till their leadership was successful, but it was that willingness that pushed them to continue through the tough times. Passion keeps you motivated towards the success of your leadership even when you aren’t getting the desired results.
Passion will make you learn and study to see your leadership begins to bring the desired result.
That is not all that passion does to leadership. The most important effect passion brings the success of leadership is that is inspires orders to want to join you, and that sponsors the next key of leadership.
The Place of Inspiration in Leadership Influence
We have explored the 80% of the contribution the leader brings to the table of leadership: purpose, conviction, vision and passion. Now, inspiration is the other 20% that is on the part of the follower.
If the leader has been truly committed to playing his part, the natural response of the followers is that they get inspired and join him in the pursuit of that vision or in getting to the destination. So it is clear here that leadership is influence not rulership or control.
The leader is successful when he’s able to set up an environment that whoever comes under is influenced to join him in pursuing his vision by inspiration.
Inspiration here means the decision to follow was made by the follower and not the leader imposing it on him.
That being said, influence cannot happen without communication. There must be both verbal and nonverbal communication that lets the followers know what is expected of him.
The Place of Communication in Leadership Influence
1. The leader must communicate the purpose or destination to the followers and let it become their own purpose
2. The leader must communicate his convictions to the followers to get them convinced about the purpose too.
3. The leader must communicate his vision to the followers so they can have a clear picture of where they are going
4. The leader must communicate his passion to the followers to stir their passion towards the vision too.
5. The leader must continually communicate assignment and phases the leadership is going through to the followers
6. The leader must continually remind the followers of the vision and purpose of the leadership so they don’t lose track of the destination
7. The leader must continue to inspire the followers to continue in the pursuit of the vision.