Posted by: everynation | March 11, 2011

Leadership Lessons from Egypt

By Kevin York

The first hurdle on the way to cultivating an influence-based leadership style is self-awareness. The events that took place in Egypt are a good example of this. Egyptian President-Hosni Mubarak woke up one morning to discover that his influence with the people of Egypt was almost totally gone.

Leaders must have a sense of what their leadership looks like through followers╒ eyes. Leaders are encouraging on one day and correcting on the next. They model the vision as an example to follow but then turn around to challenge others to catch up. In this ongoing process, leaders are continually making deposits into and withdrawals from these relationship accounts.

Relational intelligence is – in part – understanding how others view those account balances. Leaders get into trouble when they look at themselves, think about how hard they are working, evaluate themselves by their intentions (rather than their actions), and listen only to a small group of supporters. As a result, those leaders greatly over-estimate how much relational capital they have accumulated with their church, organization, or family.

Thinking they have built up so much equity, they carelessly make more and more withdrawals until one day they are made painfully aware of the deficit when their followers, in one way or another, give notice that the relationship account is over-drawn. Often that notice is delivered in dramatic ways.

The recent events in Egypt remind me of a half dozen other leaders who have in recent history been forced to step down and sometimes flee their countries. They all seem shocked that the people do not appreciate all that they have done for their nation. They see themselves as sacrificial servants of the nation, while most of the people see them as devils. Clearly, there is a relational disconnect. Those soon-to-be-deposed leaders always conclude that there must be a small element poisoning everyone against them. They make concessions trying to make up for the overdrafts, but it’s too late. The account is closed; turned over to collection.

The principles of leadership are the same at every level. Sole proprietors, presidents, and pastors stumble and fall in much the same way or they prosper and grow because they have a keen sense of relational awareness.

Kevin York is the Executive Director to Every Nation Ministries and Every Nation Churches. Kevin and his team trains future church planters and provides consultation to churches on how they can nurture healthy, thriving churches. He is husband to Renée and is father to two daughters, a son, a son-in-law, and two grandchildren. He is a pastor of Bethel Franklin church in Tennessee.

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