Issues and Answers

Distinguishing Yourself As An Outstanding Leader

Three Angels Broadcasting Network

Program transcript

Participants: Karen Thomas, Delbert Baker


Series Code: IAA

Program Code: IAA000079

00:01 ¤ ¤
00:32 Welcome to Issues and Answers. Today we're going to talk about
00:35 Being a Distinguished Individual and not just being a
00:39 a distinguished individual, but being a distinguished Christian.
00:42 And not only being a distinguished Christian
00:44 but being a distinguished Christian leader, an outstanding
00:49 one at that. Here to talk about this topic is Dr. Delbert Baker.
00:53 He is the president of Oakwood College and he has served on
00:56 many different boards and organizations. He's a pastor,
01:00 an editor, an author, an administrator, a professor, a
01:04 counselor and the list goes on and on. With a rich background
01:08 of professional experience, Dr. Baker has served on numerous
01:11 committees and boards including one of the many boards that he
01:15 has served on just to mention a few here: The counsel of
01:18 independent colleges, the national association for equal
01:21 opportunity in higher education, Loma Linda University board,
01:26 Kettering Medical Center board of trustees. Among his many
01:30 awards are Who's Who Among African Americans,
01:34 The Associated Press Award of Excellence. He has also traveled
01:38 to five continents and visited 26 nations in Africa on which
01:42 by the way he has written a book on an outstanding Christian
01:46 leader, the late Sampson Casaca and the book was entitled
01:50 From Exile to Prime Minister. Dr. Baker will be here to talk
01:54 about distinguishing yourself as an outstanding leader.
01:56 Welcome to the Program Dr. Baker Thank you, Thank you.
01:59 Thanks for coming again. So tell us, I'm really interested in
02:03 knowing more about your book From Exile to Prime Minister.
02:08 Did this begin your interest in Christian leadership?
02:13 Well my interested preceded that but this book really helped me
02:17 to focus in and really to give a different perspective on what
02:21 makes a Christian leader Sampson Casaca played an outstanding
02:25 role in the history of the nation of Uganda.
02:27 I met him a few times in the
02:29 the United States. He was a Seventh-day Adventist and
02:33 I was drawn with his humility, his approachability, his
02:37 knowledge and skill of dealing with politics from a Christian
02:40 perspective. The Biblical example that motivated me
02:45 was that of Daniel, how Daniel played such a pivotal role
02:49 himself in several nations because of his skill as a leader
02:53 That was the point. And the more we focused on this... Neil
02:58 Wilson the former president, one of our former presidents in the
03:00 General Conference of Seventh- day Adventists, also was
03:03 interested in the life of Sampson Casaca. And we got
03:05 together, we talked about it and we decided that a book needed
03:09 to be written about his life. So that became my task, my job.
03:12 I made several trips to Uganda. I had the privilege of going to
03:16 his home, to the palace there and I watched him in action.
03:19 I had a chance to drive around the city with him. It was a real
03:22 lot of fun because where we went we had his entourage and we
03:25 speeded through the city. No lights, nothing. Everybody moved
03:29 out of the way. We had guards in the front and all around us. It
03:32 was quite impressive. But in spite of all the pomp and
03:35 ceremony, this man had culled down Christian leadership to a
03:39 few principles, what he called mature Christian leadership.
03:44 What he did, Karen, he was able to take these principles,
03:48 complex leadership principles, make them into something very
03:52 palatable and usable, not simple for the erudite and the
03:56 academician but for common people and he talked about the
03:59 role of maturity, the fact that when a person is entrusted with
04:03 power and they have influence over the lives of others, that
04:06 is a responsibility that works best for the person who doesn't
04:10 become egotistical or self- centered or big-headed with it
04:13 but they are able to use it for the good of the people they're
04:16 working with. So maturity, that was one part of it. Christian
04:19 was the other part of his concept. He argued that you
04:23 can't be a true leader except you use Christian principles and
04:27 he really dealt with it in a very interesting way. In his own
04:32 life he had vast holdings in terms of land and money and
04:37 influence and yet he was able to take that and use it for the
04:40 people that he served. So he said that the Christian part of
04:44 it really informed the maturity part and both of those really
04:47 worked with the idea of leadership and his idea was
04:51 everyone can be a leader no matter who you are and you can
04:54 develop those concepts. He died a few years ago but his legacy
04:58 lives on. In fact, we have a special archival collection
05:01 at Oakwood in
05:02 memory of Sampson Casaca because of what he means not
05:07 simple to Adventists but to African leadership; an
05:12 incredible life. I think he's a good example of what leadership
05:14 is about and he speaks to us today.
05:17 Now what are some qualities and characteristics beyond the
05:22 personal example? I guess I'm asking what makes a greatly
05:26 successful leader?
05:29 Like so many wise leadership teachers today, I think that
05:34 probably the most important element is the idea of service
05:39 or servanthood, a servant leader Greenleaf popularized this in a
05:43 musical but actually the concept didn't start with him but it
05:47 was really with Jesus. He was the quintessential leader. I mean
05:51 the one who summarized the best of leadership. I would say the
05:55 word that speaks to it more than anything else is the word
05:58 leadership, Christian leadership is the word service. The fact
06:02 that a person is able to work for others versus having them
06:06 work for them. It's not about power, it's not about prestige,
06:10 or possessions and position, but it's about piety. It's about the
06:13 idea that I am here to be a steward and to serve other
06:17 people that have been entrusted to my care. So I think service,
06:21 the whole servant idea is so important to a leader. Beyond
06:26 that, I think the P word is key. I think in many cases it's
06:30 misused but the idea that leadership should have passion
06:33 or desire or this enthusiasm, this God-breathed sense of I've
06:37 got something I have to do and I've got to be about doing it.
06:40 There's got to be a vitality and a vibrancy with it. And if it's
06:44 not there you have an insipid weak no account person who's
06:49 in the position but he's really not making a difference. So you
06:52 have to have this passion, you have to have this sense of
06:54 excitement about what you're doing. If you don't have that
06:58 something vital is missing. So you have the servant concept,
07:03 you have the passion, but then I have to say that you must have
07:08 knowledge, the basic knowledge of the area that you're dealing
07:12 with. If you don't know what you're dealing with then you
07:16 can be ever so enthusiastic, you can be a zealot for that matter,
07:19 but you can just be beating down the wrong path or going in the
07:23 wrong direction. So the idea of knowledge, mastering the thing
07:26 you're dealing with and learning how to pick up a book and read
07:29 it and stay current with literature is so vital. If you
07:32 don't do that you'll be living off of old steam and old
07:35 information that has been outdated. Of course, in this
07:39 technological age knowledge is changing so fast and we're
07:43 getting this overwhelming amount of information knowledge that a
07:46 leader must keep current with key areas. Then I would say to
07:51 the issue of the word, the action word. I had a friend of
07:57 mine who took a rather crass quotation, I hope we understand
08:02 the context. He said that leaders should stop treating
08:05 ideas like prostitutes. They should go ahead and marry one
08:09 and have children. Now aside from the analogy, the point is
08:13 that many people out there have great concepts and these
08:17 wonderful things that they want to do. They even have another
08:21 word for leadership, vision. They have a sense of vision,
08:24 they have this great concept of what needs to be done. They see
08:27 the needs of humanity or in a particular organization and they
08:30 see what needs to be done but they don't act. They never have
08:33 the ability to make it happen. They never put that thought or
08:36 that dream or that idea into something where they can make
08:40 it happen and act on it. That is a key point and probably it's
08:44 a distinguishing mark of leaders this ability to implement, to
08:47 execute, to act. So those are a few principles.
08:52 Well I like what you said about make it happen as opposed to not
08:56 happening. It's the difference between a pipe dream as people
09:00 used to say years ago, or just and idea and then actually doing
09:04 it. I want to come back to that one later.
09:07 Yeah, and that key. People often say well where do you get
09:12 your ideas from or how do you create ideas? I think you train
09:16 your mind. You have to literally train your mind on how to
09:20 respect your own thoughts. Many people have great thoughts. They
09:24 never write them down, they never share them with others
09:28 and they never put them into action. So I encourage the
09:31 students at Oakwood and I know in my personal life, I carry a
09:35 little computer with me all the time. I write down all my
09:39 thoughts. If I have a dream in the middle of the night about a
09:42 good idea, I wake up and there's a pad next to my bed and I write
09:46 that thing down. And you can't believe this; I've had more than
09:49 ideas from waking up in the middle of the night, jotting it
09:52 down and finding the occasion later on to put it into practice
09:56 than I think people would care to know. So it's the idea of
10:01 convincing yourself that I am a person of value, I have great
10:05 thoughts, they're worth implementing. God gives me good
10:07 ideas and I'm not simple going to think about them and just say
10:11 I feel good because I had the idea, but I'm actually going to
10:14 put them into practice. So that's one way that a person can
10:18 take themselves to the next level, by convincing themselves
10:21 that I do have something worth giving and I will act on it.
10:25 If you do that enough, the brain gets into the sync and says I am
10:29 valued and it will produce more and more ideas that you'll ever
10:33 have time to deal with. That is very true.
10:37 You know years ago I used to write down, like you said in the
10:41 middle of the night when I was up with my children, I would
10:45 write down ideas, different things, and I got into song
10:48 writing by doing that. And the more I would sit and take the
10:52 time to do it, and it's something I never thought about
10:55 doing or had any idea. And that is so true. Just writing down an
10:59 idea and saying OK God is the creator, he gives you creativity
11:03 Why not write it down.
11:05 What it does, it creates confidence in yourself and it
11:08 really does lot of good for the person. You can always refer
11:15 back to those notes. I say the faintest ink lasts longer than
11:21 the longest memory. And so if you write it down it's a good
11:27 thing. I'll tell you a great Bible character that I think
11:32 speaks to the issue of leadership and that is Caleb in
11:37 Joshua 14. You know the famous story there when the children
11:41 of Israel were outlined there and were dividing the land up
11:44 the land of Canaan and every one was trying to decide who's
11:47 going to get what part of the land and nobody wants the most
11:50 difficult task but the Bible brings out in the midst of this
11:53 situation, in the midst of this setting, when everyone is
11:57 wanting to have the easier way and they were dividing the land
12:00 up by lots in Joshua 14 and verse 6 it says then the
12:05 children of Judah came unto Joshua in Gilgal. And Caleb the
12:09 son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite said unto him, Thou knowest the
12:12 thing that the Lord said unto Moses the man of God concerning
12:16 me and this in Kadesh Barnea. Forty years old was I when Moses
12:19 the servant of the Lord sent me from Kadesh Barnea to spy out
12:22 the land and brought his word again as was in my heart.
12:24 Nevertheless my brethren that went up with me made the heart
12:27 of the people melt, but I wholly followed the Lord my
12:30 God. And Moses swear on that day saying surely the land
12:33 whereon thy feet have trodden shall be thine inheritance and
12:36 thy children's forever because thou has wholly followed the
12:40 Lord my God. Now this is Caleb coming before Joshua. He's ready
12:43 to make this request and I think it speaks well to leadership.
12:46 Verse 10: And now behold the Lord has kept me alive as he
12:49 said these forty and five years even since the Lord spake this
12:53 word unto Moses while the children of Israel wandered in
12:58 the wilderness and now lo I am this day fourscore and five
13:02 years old, eighty-five, and yet I am as strong this day as I was
13:06 in the day that Moses sent me. As my strength was then even so
13:10 is my strength now. Now for war, both to go out and to come in.
13:14 Now therefore give me this mountain.
13:16 I think it's an incredible,
13:17 incredible passage that says here's a person whose leadership
13:21 is not confined to age. It's not about how old you are, how
13:25 young you are. Caleb was 85 and all these years he'd remembered
13:28 this land that God promised that he would take. At that time, it
13:32 was occupied by giants. But because he had this vision, this
13:36 passion, this idea, he remembered what it was, he comes
13:40 forward and says I want to take that land and he says I can do
13:42 this thing. And even though the years have passed I can do it
13:46 because he had convinced himself that with God's help he could
13:50 accomplish virtually anything. You know, Ellen White's
13:53 statement about the human and divine when united together
13:57 become omnipotent. That's what Caleb put into practice. And I
14:01 think that a person, if they could find their focus, it could
14:05 be the church, a school, a company, a home, a community,
14:09 wherever, if they say what is my purpose, what does God want
14:13 me to do like Caleb did then they link up with God and they
14:16 work toward that. I mean, there is no end to what they can do,
14:20 Karen. I mean they can do some wonderful things. But we've got
14:23 to get out of that passive state We have to get into action. We
14:26 have to be willing to take a risk and say I want to do
14:29 something bold for God. I want to reach up and do something.
14:32 I think 3ABN is a good example of this. Someone with a vision
14:35 an idea of how this thing could happen and they go for it. So
14:38 that's the key. Leadership is about making something happen
14:41 in your world, making a difference.
14:43 How do you prioritize? Let's say that you wake up on the
14:46 middle of the night and you come up with three ideas on how
14:49 to do something, three different projects. I have a tendency to
14:52 have a lot of different projects going on at the same time. How
14:55 do you prioritize which ones to address, which ones do you
14:58 develop and pursue further?
15:00 Well that's the tough question isn't it because you know based
15:04 upon what you develop it determines where you go.
15:06 I mean if you have three great ideas and let's say maybe the
15:09 third one is the most important and you do the second and the
15:12 second and the first one, maybe you've missed it. But I don't
15:15 think it's quite that elementary I think it's a little more
15:17 straight forward than that. There's different ways of
15:22 looking at the Lord's will. There is the speck concept and
15:25 then there's the circle concept. The speck concept says that
15:28 there is one thing that God wants me to do, one place he
15:31 wants to work, one woman he wants me to marry, one job he
15:35 wants me to have and if I miss that I missed everything. I mean
15:38 I'm just out of it, I can't do it, I didn't find that speck.
15:42 That's one approach. But the circle is one that seems a
15:46 little more consistent with the word, at least in general
15:50 circumstances that says that within God's circle as long as
15:54 you follow his principles and as long as you have the word
15:58 of God in mind and you're keeping the decency of whatever
16:01 organization or group you're dealing with in mind there are
16:04 number of things you could do with it. I mean, there's not
16:07 only one thing. There could be three or four things. So then
16:11 it's like what you want to do, what makes you feel good, what
16:15 is an idea or a thought that makes you excited. Where do you
16:18 think you can make the greatest difference, where can you make
16:21 the greatest contribution. Those are things that can help you
16:25 decide which of those three ideas you should do knowing that
16:28 hey if you miss one this time, it doesn't work out well, go
16:31 back and do another one, you have a chance to do another one
16:34 and another one. But I think besides that, beside your own gut
16:38 and your urge, talking to people and sharing ideas with the folks
16:41 and letting them see your dream and hear your passion and what
16:45 you want to do. But be careful about that though because a lot
16:49 of people can kind of rain on your parade and you can have the
16:52 best ideas and they'll tell you it's impossible to do, don't
16:55 even try to do it. So you have to be careful. But at least
16:59 people can help you to nurture your dream. But I think perhaps
17:04 the most important is a life that is bathed with prayer and
17:08 meditation and you're talking to God about it. You're asking
17:12 him to nurture that idea and bring it to life and that in
17:16 itself is just a wonderful thing.
17:19 OK now that we have developed ourselves to become
17:22 distinguished, outstanding, we are able to implement these
17:26 fine, fine, principles, how do you get people to follow you?
17:29 That's part of leadership.
17:31 It is part of leadership and that is where many people rise
17:35 or fall. That's the learning curve. That's the difficult
17:39 part. I think that any leader knows that it's a lifelong
17:42 activity. It's like sanctification.
17:44 You don't get it in a day or a week or a year. I'm at Oakwood.
17:48 We have 110 faculty, 250 staff members and close to 1800
17:52 students and all the leaders on our campus run into the same
17:56 thing; how to make that idea real and bring it to life and
18:00 make it happen, get people behind it. I think it's a lot of
18:03 things, consultation, takes vying with people, it takes
18:06 accessibility, it takes making sure that I listen and hear what
18:10 people are saying, trial and error. It takes the ability to
18:14 maybe you may have this wonderful idea and you want to
18:17 go forward with it, but if the climate's not right, it the
18:19 people aren't ready for it and it seems like it's not the
18:21 moment to do it. One leader said we should gracefully retreat,
18:27 maybe put that idea away for a while and come back to it
18:30 another time. But at the same time conventional wisdom says
18:33 that sometimes people may not have a vision and God may be
18:36 impressing to go ahead with it anyway and you got to make this
18:39 thing happen in spite of what the circumstances may seem to
18:43 indicate. So it's one of those things that it's kind of
18:47 intuitive, it's the intuition, it's the idea of praying and
18:51 listening and moving forward cautiously with your hand in the
18:54 hand of God and I believe that he will lead you and give you
18:57 insight on that.
18:59 OK. Now as far as a professional and a secular environment or
19:04 just how can you maintain your Christianity and still be an
19:08 outstanding leader? To make that tough negotiation. You do a lot
19:13 of flying and you see that Alex Caracas, tough negotiator,
19:18 and you have these principles. How are you supposed to do that?
19:21 I mean there's a way that the world does it. How does the
19:24 Christian? Well I think as 1 Corinthians 13
19:26 bears out the whole principle there of the love factor, the
19:30 fact that Christians should factor in the issues of thinking
19:33 about the other person, coming back to servant leadership again
19:37 it's not about just money and power and controlling people and
19:41 manipulating people, but it's about the greater good, the
19:44 mission of that organization or institution that you're dealing
19:47 with. These are determining principles. I think another
19:50 thing, Ephesians 4 talks about speaking the truth in love and
19:54 the fact that when we're dealing with people and leading
19:57 we're to do it in a loving way not simply in our actions but
20:00 in our communications when we're dealing with folks. So these are
20:03 ways that can help to condition our approach. But I want to
20:07 share something with you that I think is helpful. There's an
20:10 author by the name of Robert Kelley who wrote a book called
20:14 How to Be A Star at Work and what he did was he studied the
20:18 top companies in the U.S. in 1998 and before and tried to
20:21 determine what makes a person outstanding. I mean in other
20:25 words if you're in these outstanding companies what makes
20:28 a person outstanding in an outstanding company? What are
20:31 qualities, how to be a star? And he came up with a list and I
20:34 wanted to share these real quickly. One is perspective, the
20:37 ability to see the big picture, vision. The other is
20:40 organizational savvy, the fact that you've got to have a sense
20:44 or the culture of the organization you're dealing
20:45 with, knowing where they're coming from, their history.
20:48 A networking ability to deal with people, to get along with
20:52 people, to not use them but to collaborate with them and to
20:55 be a colleague with them. Team work, the ability to accomplish
20:58 the mission together, not individually, not a maverick or
21:00 solo leader but a leader who's working in sync with others.
21:04 And then there's the idea of followership, that a good leader
21:07 is a good follower. So this person, he or she, can follow
21:11 as well as lead. Then there's leadership. Show and tell, the
21:14 ability to effectively communicate what you're doing
21:18 and to sell your ideas to others So you may think it's wonderful
21:22 and your husband may think it's wonderful and your kids but it
21:26 has to go beyond that. You've got to take it out of there and
21:29 take it further and then there's self-management. There's a
21:32 wonderful concept of being able to manage yourself in an
21:35 effective way so that you don't fall apart in the process of
21:39 being a leader. And finally, the one that I think is most
21:43 important and one that I spoke about earlier is the word
21:48 initiative. To me that is the most distinguishing
21:50 characteristic of a leader, of a good leader, or a star leader.
21:53 That was number one on Kelley's list.
21:55 Can you tell me the name of that book again, please?
21:57 How to Be a Star at Work by Robert Kelley. Carnegie-Mellon
22:03 University. It was published in 1998. But his number one
22:07 characteristic, the most important characteristic of
22:11 an outstanding star or leader is initiative or what he calls
22:16 moving in a white space. Or the ability to do something we don't
22:20 have to do. You see a task, you see something that needs to be
22:24 done. You don't wait for the boss to tell you to do it, you
22:27 don't have to wait for them to come around and pat you on the
22:30 back and give you an incentive for more money or a better
22:32 position. But you see it and because you have passion and
22:35 you have this moral sense of right and you want to accomplish
22:38 something, you take the initiative, you self-motivate
22:41 and you get that job done. I'm telling you, if people do that
22:45 any of our viewers or wherever you are, if you just implement
22:49 initiative, that alone will make a person outstanding, they can
22:53 be a star and in the Christian context they don't do it for
22:56 self-glorification, this is how to be a Christian, it's not
23:00 self or what I want and more money, but it's really about
23:03 promoting the good of that organization and promoting the
23:06 good of the movement or the mission of which they are a
23:09 part. And if you do that with the spirit of Christ and you
23:12 have the right goals in mind, God is going to bless your work.
23:15 We're told in the Spirit of Prophecy and the writings of
23:18 Ellen G. White that God will bless a company, he will bless
23:22 an office, an organization, because of the Christian
23:25 leadership qualities of the person who works there.
23:28 So that's a powerful concept. And if you just are a good
23:32 person and you live right and be right, God can bless the
23:36 organization because of you and that's quite a promise.
23:40 Well are there specific temptations, trials and
23:43 pitfalls for Christian leaders.
23:44 Oh absolutely, absolutely. We see the carnage all around us
23:48 don't we, of people who have great leadership ability, great
23:52 skills but who didn't manage it right. They didn't manage their
23:55 home life properly. They didn't manage their moral life properly
23:58 They didn't manage their financial life properly. They
24:02 didn't manage the trust of leadership properly or even they
24:06 didn't manage their health properly. In these areas if it's
24:09 not handled properly then what happens is that very strength
24:14 the very talent, the very gift that God has given that woman or
24:18 that man can back up on them. That strength can become their
24:22 debilitating weakness. And I think that a person can avoid
24:26 that best by keeping close to Christ, by keeping balance in
24:29 their life and equilibrium, by not becoming too caught up with
24:33 who they are and who they think they are and what they think
24:35 they want to become and how important and great they are.
24:39 But keeping that humble, teachable, workable attitude
24:43 that God can bless. That makes all the difference in the world.
24:48 Well we talked about a lot of different components, general
24:52 characteristics of successful leaders: Service, passion,
24:56 knowledge, action, creativity, wanting to make things happen
25:00 confidence, prayer and meditation. Then we talked about
25:04 keys to implementing this even in the work environment with
25:09 having the big picture in mind and teamwork; I'm just naming
25:14 a few of these here. I'm taking notes here, OK. Fellowship, show
25:19 and tell, being able to spread to other people what your vision
25:24 is and self-management, being able to govern yourself. And
25:29 then the trials and temptations and the pitfalls. How about in
25:34 light of where we live? What could you say? I want you to
25:37 take a few minutes and talk to this camera here. Talk to the
25:41 viewers. What could you tell them?
25:42 Well, I think Karen that's a powerful question and I say to
25:48 all of our viewers that there is a concept that I believe can
25:54 capture the essence of leadership. I have, it's got to
25:57 be 300 and 350 valuable leadership and management and
26:00 organizational works but I think it can all be boiled down to one
26:04 essential principle and that is the fact that I want to be used
26:08 by God for the good of others. If a person keeps that in mind,
26:12 if they keep in view that fact that God has given them whatever
26:17 talents, whatever abilities, whatever skills, not that you
26:19 can gratify self and be about who you are and what you want
26:23 but if you can be used for the service of others and really
26:26 for the up building of the cause of God. That is the most
26:29 important thing. If we do that God will
26:31 take us to heights that we can't even dream. He will do wonderful
26:35 marvelous things with our lives. That's what I think is the core
26:39 essence of Christian leadership.
26:40 Thank you so much for coming to our program today Dr. Baker.
26:45 Will you offer prayer for us now
26:46 Gladly. Father, we thank you for this opportunity to be a
26:50 Christian leader. The world has a need of leaders today like
26:54 never before. We pray you might inspire each viewer that they
26:57 might look in their own life and say Lord how can I be the leader
27:00 you want me to be. Bless us, Lord, that we might have the
27:04 insight, the strength, the vision and the initiative to
27:08 give glory to you and to our fellow persons. In your name
27:13 we pray Amen.
27:14 Well this is your chance. We've heard how to become a
27:18 distinguished Christian leader, how to be outstanding, how to
27:22 develop skills, how to hone in on goals and make them a reality
27:26 by the grace of God. If you would like to have more
27:28 information on the books that we talked about in today's program
27:31 please visit our website
27:37 or you can write to us at P.O. Box 220, W. Frankfurt, IL 62896
27:46 Or you can call the 800 number 1-800-752-3226.
27:52 And until next time, step out in faith and be that great
27:55 outstanding, distinguished Christian leader.


Revised 2015-02-12