Two weeks ago I did a Facebook Live post where I talked about leadership. I made reference to the tendency of certain kinds of leaders to try to control their followers by exerting unnecessary force, threatening them or being verbally abusive or intimidating. My position was that a leader need not try to prove that he is a leader for his “followers” to respect him. He needs not prove that he is superior to his follower if he really is. And in my opinion a leader is not necessarily chosen because he is better than all his followers in all aspects of life. A leader needs to know that and take advantage of the reasources he has within his team to make the betst of his organization. He must be humble enought to enquire (sounds like Edgar Schein’s book).
After I shared this video on my Facebook page, my boss drew my attention to another video where Malcom Gladwell, the writer of the book, Outliers gave a talk in a church about Power Distance. It was an intriguing discussion because he started the discussion with a particular plane crash and went step by step through a series of events that led up to the plan crash. He then settled on the conversation that ensued during the last moments of the plane being airborne as was captured by the black box. That conversation revealed the real reason the simple problems could not be solved quickly enough: communication.
The Asst. Pilot was not communicating clearly that there was an emergency and that lives were at stake. In talking to the control tower, he was using mitigation in his speech and the control tower perceived it as if he was saying things were fine. He didn’t want to sound demanding or commanding and this ended up ending people’s lives. Gladwell alluded to the fact that this Power Distance problem also showed up as an issue of culture. In some cultures, people are more likely to defer to authority than in others. What struck me really was the dire consequences of something so trivial.
I think any leader who wants to hear the truth from his “followers”, really inspire people and be remembered not regretted needs to reduce that so called Power Distance between himself and the people. I believe the onus lies largely on the leader to change the culture and create the enabling environment for authentic followership. As we have seen, the effects are significant. What do you think?
“Then Joshua spoke to the Lord in the day when the Lord delivered up the Amorites before the children of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel:
“Sun, stand still over Gibeon; And Moon, in the Valley of Aijalon.” So the sun stood still, And the moon stopped, Till the people had revenge Upon their enemies.
Is this not written in the Book of Jasher? So the sun stood still in the midst of heaven, and did not hasten to go down for about a whole day. And there has been no day like that, before it or after it, that the Lord heeded the voice of a man; for the Lord fought for Israel.”
A few days ago at church Rev. Alex Botchway made reference to the above scripture in his sermon. He describes a little how in Physics the force required to stop a moving vehicle is expected to be the equivalent of the force moving the car forward but is applied in the opposite direction. In his analysis, he further posited that the earth is a moving body, revolving around the Sun and also rotating on its on axis. I would add here that the earth is revolving around the Sun at the rate of about 107,000 km/h and rotating around its own axis at about 1,674.4 km/h.
Rev. Botchway highlighted that Joshua’s declaration on both the earth and the moon implied that the earth should stop moving! The church erupted at the realization of the magnitude of force required to stop the earth for the period of time Joshua needed to finish the battle. The Reverend Minister pointed out that this is why the writer of the Book of Joshua considered this day a unique day compared to all other miracles that had been recorded such as even the parting of the red sea. Joshua achieved this with twelve words prayer! Twelve words.
The part of twelve words is what amazes me. It took Joshua twelve words to stop the earth on it 107,000 km/h revolution around the sun. I dare say the moon must have stopped as well! All in twelve words. It is astounding to me because we typically try to get things done spiritually these days with tremendous amount of effort such as a hundred days’ fasting or thirty days of all night vigils. When we were young we used to compare and be amazed at people who could pray for six hours, eighteen hours, twenty-six hours non-stop. But Joshua stopped the earth with twelve words.
Breath-taking. In fact I just took a breath as I entered this paragraph. The whole episode raises a big question in my mind as to how the supernatural really works. Did Joshua get such an amazing response because God already wanted to stop the earth’s movement and needed a man to declare it? Did it happen because Joshua was in God’s perfect will regarding the cleansing of Canaan? How does it really work? In twelve words, Joshua stopped the earth…. I am still contemplating.
My two-year-old son has the habit of putting his left thumb in his mouth. Often when he does this, he also reaches out to me or his Mom with his right hand and fondles any part of our body that he can reach. It often has a great feeling experiencing him do this. It could happen while one of us is carrying him and rocking him to sleep or when he is lying in bed and trying to sleep off.
A few days ago he woke up about 4:00 AM and began doing this to me. I really wanted to catch a little more sleep so it was a bit of a disturbance to at that time of the morning. Once in a while I would push his hand away and try to sleep but he wouldn’t budge. I did this over and over until I gave up and left him on the bed to go and sleep for the last thirty minutes of my night on the carpet. Less than five minutes later he came down from the bed and lay on my back! it was almost funny but for the time of day.
Some people have a similar experience with their spouses. They get a call every hour or two from their spouse while they are “busy” at work and it seems to be a bother. On the other hand some people never hear from their spouses till they get home. Go figure. Others always hear their spouses yelling at them to come home earlier or pay more attention to them.
The whole point of these two stories can be summarized in two ideas. One is the fact that while your family may express their love for you in diverse ways, it is important to realise that what is being expressed is actually LOVE. Love is something that many people in this world do not experience so we must value it when someone finds us important enough to them to pinch us or yell at us to come home. The comedian Kasime Anne joked that singleness may seem like great freedom but you realize you may have to get home and shout “Hello” only to have the walls of your huge house echo back to you “Hiii”! Or maybe you have to buy two mobile phones so you can call yourself!
Paul Kofi Mante said in a recent presentation that work is like a rubber ball while family is like an egg. If you drop the ball, it will bounce back to you but if you drop the egg, it is likely to crack. Value the love you receive from your family even when it seems to be a bother. Respond to the love in your own way and make them feel valued too.
sat down, half-sliming and taking a sip of a cup of smoothie she had just
picked up from the counter. From the corner of his eyes Kevin noticed the
attendant at the counter staring at them. He must have thought to himself, “Are
they married? Are they ‘committing sin’?” Just then Mr. Koku walked in,
staggering. The way he walked one feared for him that he would suddenly fall
apart. “He must be ill or something …” Amanda thought to herself. Kevin didn’t
see him until he turned around from the counter. He was both shocked and upset.
How could he intrude so rudely? Did he need money all the time? Kevin received
money in six digits every month so he had no way on understanding that Ten
Cedis every week was very difficult to live on particularly when someone was on
may we help you, Sir?” he snapped, giving Mr. Kokou a very hostile stare,
straight in the eye. The old man was not a bit perturbed. He let out a little
forced cough and softly responded in a cracked voice:
am so sorry to disturb you Sir…” He dipped his right hand in his breast pocket
and out came a doctor’s prescription for some lung infection. “…I have to by
some medicine… you see I used to smoke a lot before so it affected my lungs and
created all sort of diseases in my tracheal system. I don’t have anyone to help
me… please just Twenty Cedis to buy my medicine…”
first instinct was to ask what had happened to his extended family. How was it
possible that he did not have anyone at all to help him? On second thoughts, he
felt there was no need inciting another long story about the old man’s life. He
needed to spend time with Amanda who was just smiling at the old man. He handed
him a Fifty Cedi note and Mr. Kokou thanked him profusely.
must be the second time this week you are giving someone something to dismiss
them rather than out of Christian compassion!” Amanda said, sipping her smoothie
“Unless of course you have other beneficiaries…”
Kevin stared at her. She always seemed to get him thinking more seriously about his spirituality.
do know he still smokes, right? Probably Indian Hemp!”
laughed aloud. She could not believe the depth of his naivety.
dark lips, bloodshot eyes, desperately agitating for small amounts of cash… he
is what you call a junky. Does that make you regret giving him money?”
course!” Kevin snapped, visibly upset.
laughed again, practically reeling. “You don’t want your money used for unholy
purposes? Anyway, I think you just weren’t paying attention the last two
encounters you’ve had with him. You might have noticed if not for a certain
tall dark lady you were thinking about”
you! And I suppose you know the name of that lady, huh?”
rolled her eyes and pursed her lips. Kevin watched her, strongly attracted to
her sassiness. Her boldness in saying her mind. Her brain that matched her
“On a more serious note, Kevin, I think most people in our churches these days are simply too much into their own selves. I am avoiding using the word selfish but that is just what it is. When I was young, we were Catholics and a lot of emphasis was placed on helping the poor and less privileged. Why should the fact that a junky comes to church to beg for money bother you? Who did Jesus die for?”
When I wrote on marriage in the book Till Death I learnt a few new things about cars, medicine, writing itself and of course relationships. Back then, my Senior Partner and I came up with a few tips that could help married men resonate constantly in their wife’s minds.
After going through these tips, I would be glad if you provide feedback on the results of practising just two out of the ten tips over a period of time. Also, you could add tips from your own experience as comments. So here we go:
1. Send a very special SMS or IM everyday whenever you are away. Sample:
‘Someone got me really upset today then he wondered why I just smiled. I smiled ‘cos at that very moment, I thought about u’
2. Spend thirty minutes every day talking to her exclusively. Turn off the TV, your phones, your computer and just talk with her.
3. Have her pose and take pictures of her every weekend. Take pictures of her when she is asleep and surprise her with them.
4. Do the cooking, house chores or take care of the baby all by yourself and let her do whatever she wants every two weeks.
5. Take her out to dinner, a park, the beach, the movies or wherever at least once a month.
6. Buy her a small gift every month. On special occasions – birthdays, anniversaries, Christmas – buy her a big gift.
7. Visit her at her office once in a while unannounced. Let her colleagues know you.
8. Take her on a trip out of town at least once a year. Depending on where you are going, vary the modes of transport.
9. Describe a part of her body in detail to her once in a while. You can recite it like a poem, write it and send it in the mail or capture it on a camcorder.
10. Confess your commitment to her in a spiritual atmosphere and let her reciprocate. Sample:
‘You belong to me and I belong to you. You are pleasing to me and sufficient for me. I will never desire another. Our souls are bound by a blood covenant in God the Father. Till Death do us part’.