According to the Global Agenda 2014 survey, 86 percent of people worldwide agree we have a leadership crisis around the world. Today this crisis continues to deepen. Even our own President Joe Biden is hampered by old age and an approval rating of just 38%. Why is the quality of global leadership plummeting?
I love reading books written by old people because they are packed with the wisdom of a lifetime. When I heard the 99-year-old Henry Kissinger published a new book, “Leadership: Six Studies in World Strategy,” I immediately grabbed it and started reading it. If you think you are too old to contribute to the world, consider Kissinger writing his 20th book at 99. He will be 100 years old in May.
Whether you like him or not, his achievement is undeniable. A laureate of the Nobel Peace Prize, he has advised John F. Kennedy and every president after that except Joe Biden. Biden has not yet invited him to the White House. Kissinger is concerned about how our leaders have been handling the Ukraine war.
The book is not just relevant to global leadership. The wisdom can apply to everyone. Whether you are a parent or president, you are called to lead your children, company, community, or country. Your leadership is seriously needed, especially at times like this.
Kissinger describes how the leaders led the world through times of transition. We are going through a similar transition today, not only in politics but also in more innovative machines with artificial intelligence. But we see no leaders today equal to those mentioned in Kissinger’s book.
In an interview, Kissinger was asked whether great leaders are born or made. To my surprise, his answer was, “They made themselves.” That means institutions cannot produce great leaders. Most of the great leaders are from ordinary families, so they are not born with a leadership silver spoon. “They made themselves” implies a personal spiritual formation that needs to develop from within.
I have discovered that leaders today lack the spiritual component that made great leaders like those in human history. We have lost the art of leadership spirituality that made us highly effective. Today we will learn from the greatest of all who led the world through a crisis.
First-century Israel and the world was going through a similar leadership crisis. King Herod was corrupt, and the religious leaders kowtow to the Roman occupation. A carpenter’s son named Jesus of Nazareth led the change and launched a tidal wave of leadership reflection and reformation not only in Israel and the Roman Empire but also all over the world for over 2000 years.
If you say, “Of course, Jesus could do it because he is the Son of God,” then you are wrong. He is also fully human, and most importantly, he came on earth not only to lead change but also to train leaders. When he left the earth, he had only 11 disciples and about 500 followers that continued his mission to lead the world through leadership evolution. But it seems to have stopped today. It’s time for us to reflect and renew what he has taught us.
Last week, we talked about Jesus calling us to change—metamorphosis. He also calls you to lead others to change and reconcile the world. I believe you can lead change by applying what Jesus taught us, whether you are a parent, president, or parish.
Today is the First Sunday in Lent, and we are given a scripture lesson that lays the spiritual foundation of great leadership. Let’s begin!
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