Leaders are called to lead with a heart of love. I call that approach to leadership, leading from the core. True leaders can be said, therefore, to engage in feasts of love with their people. Through a heart of love, such leaders focus on replicating the same heart in their people. Feasts of love indeed! You can just imagine what the nature of the relationship between such leaders and their people will look like. That’s something that I keep striving to do, believing that there is no instrument in the leader’s arsenal more potent than ‘love,’ to mold followers into exemplary and dependable leaders.
Spots in your feasts of love
Leaders must, however, not be naive in the use of the instrument of love to transform and shape their people. The fact that a leader leads from a heart of love toward her team, and indeed toward each member, on a one-to-one basis, does not mean that every member will respond as desired or turn out to be a good leader. That expectation should be dumped. It is naive and it is not guaranteed.
These are spots in your love feasts, while they feast with you without fear, serving only themselves. They are clouds without water, carried about by the winds; late autumn trees without fruit, twice dead, pulled up by the roots;  raging waves of the sea, foaming up their own shame; wandering stars for whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever. – Jude 1:12-13 NKJV (Emphasis mine)
The point here is not to underplay or undermine the potency and power of love as an instrument for transforming followers into leaders. It is to draw attention to the fact that there are conditions under which that instrument will not produce the leaders desired.
When there are ‘spots’ in the feasts of the leader, the instrument of love will not produce expected. Spots in the leader’s feasts refer to members of the team who are not wired to respond to the leader’s gesture of love. They have a different agenda and aren’t sincere in their following. They have no intention of submitting to the leader’s ‘treatment’ through the instrument of love. This is the reason that love will not produce good leaders out of such people though they are bona fide members of the team.
‘Spots’ in the leader’s feasts refer to members of the team who are not wired to respond to the leader’s gesture of love.
What it means is that when leading with a heart of love, leaders must be on the lookout for team members who are ‘spots’ in the feasts being prepared for all. These ‘spots’ must be recognized and subjected to a different ‘treatment’ if the leader’s efforts are not to be sabotaged and frustrated. These ‘spots’ must be removed from the team because while they have made their minds up on going the opposite route to that intended by the leader, they have the effect of leading some or all their colleagues astray.
They will not embark on their own contrary journey alone but almost always will seek to take with them as many members of the team as they can. They become a real threat to the success of the leader.
Love works through faith
It is very difficult for any leader to succeed in her assignment without securing the following of the people. By following here, I refer to a clear and deep expression of conviction and commitment on the part of the people. I always argue that no leader can influence or affect the lives of a follower without the follower giving express permission to do so.
No leader can influence or affect the lives of a follower without the follower giving express permission to do so.
However powerful a leader may claim to be, the true following happens only when faith in the leader is in place. When the people have faith in the leader, she has received the license to influence their lives as she desires. Through that expression of faith, the leader will access the cooperation that is needed from the followers in the journey to becoming leaders also.
We can see that a leader with a heart of love must use that instrument to secure the faith of the followers in her. This is precisely a core point that the leader’s heart of love must be used to score with the followers. And yes, through acts that express love for the followers in the leader’s heart, faith in the heart of followers will rise. When the followers see that the leader has their interest at heart, though some tough situations may be encountered, they will increasingly yield to the demands of the leader. This is how love builds faith.
As potent as this gesture of love is for building the faith of followers in the leader, it must be noted that some members of the team may not respond in faith as expected. There are followers who will just not respond to the leader’s gesture of love for the simple reason that they have a different agenda. For such people, they will not just give love a chance! They have no intention of responding to the leader’s gesture. They are more interested in ‘soiling’ the good work being done on the team.
So we can see why these ‘spots’ are a hopeless case. They have no intention of changing and would give no room for the leader to get through to them. They just want to do their own thing while still remaining in the team for as long as they like. A good leader will identify them early and get rid of them before they become a big problem for her assignment.
The little leaven
These ‘spots’ must be seen as the ‘little leaven’ that creates a problem for the whole dough. Failure to remove them will mean that the leader exposes them continually to other members of the team. Just like the little leaven makes the whole dough rise in time, these ‘spots’ will adversely influence other members of the leader’s team. They will erode the faith that the leader has developed in other followers and obstruct the potency of love for building faith in team members.
Before long, the leader will lose control over the team and ultimately become a lame duck. The leader’s position will be taken by the ‘spots,’ albeit informally. The word of the leader will carry less weight in the ears of the majority of team members compared to the word of these ‘spots.’
A leader who fails to identify ‘spots’ in her team or fails to get rid of them promptly, will soon have the right to lead eroded, and ultimately, also lose the privilege to lead.
Losing the privilege and right to lead
The privilege to lead is conferred on a person either by appointment. When a person is appointed to a position of authority and given responsibility for a team to accomplish certain specific objectives, the privilege to lead is conferred. The privilege to lead paves the way for the leader to secure the right to lead.
With the privilege to lead, following is not guaranteed. To secure quality following, the lead has to do some work. The right to lead has to be earned. Many leaders have been conferred the privilege to lead but have never been able to earn the right to lead. Without earning the right to lead a leader cannot be effective.
The right to lead is the next step after a leader has been conferred with the privilege to lead. The right to lead is earned when the following express faith in the leader and commit to following as a result. With the right to lead, followers open their lives up to the leader to influence them as desired. To earn the right to lead is hard work.
Love is that instrument that helps the leader to move from just having the privilege to lead to earning the right to lead. The use of love is what secures faith in the heart of the people.
The spots in the leader’s feasts of love go after the right earned to lead. When they are not dealt with, the leader’s right to lead is eroded. Ultimately, when the leader is unable to demonstrate the right to lead, the privilege to lead will also be lost. The leader will most certainly lose the privilege when she cannot get any appreciable number of team members to commit to quality following.
How to identify the spots in the feats of love
Let us examine some of the behaviours to look out for in team members in your quest to spot the ‘spots’ in your feats of love.
- They are dreamers. The ‘spots’ dream of a colourful future that is devoid of the inputs and contributions of the leader. They believe that they can chart a course to a better future than the leader can do for them. They overrate themselves and choose to believe in their own abilities when nothing absolutely supports that. They try to win others to their side by actively sharing such pipe dreams.
- They reject authority. While they refuse to be influenced by the gestures of love of the leader, they also directly challenge the leader’s authority. They are always looking out for ways to push back against the instructions or directives issued by the leader, who leverage their authority to assert themselves in the face of such acts of insubordination. These fellows also look for other members of the team who can join them in their acts just so that they can further discredit the leader.
- They are rude and rebellious. They have little regard for the leader, choosing to show disrespect openly, and would go to the extent of making unsubstantiated claims against her just with the sole purpose of discrediting her. Again, they do this also in the hope that they can embolden other members of the team to adopt the same posture. They work on the premise that the greater the number of people that follow their behaviour within the team, the more they undermine the right of the leader to lead.
- They are puffed up in ignorance. These spots also exhibit their ignorance by speaking out against the leader on issues they know nothing about. They will not keep quiet because they are not interested in learning. They would rather antagonize the leader as they try to prove to vulnerable elements among the team that they are more knowledgeable than the leader. They are according to our opening scripture reference, “clouds without water, carried about by the winds; late autumn trees without fruit, twice dead, pulled up by the roots; raging waves of the sea.”
- They pursue self-interest only. These characters are self-centered and care only about their own agenda although they pretend to be seeking the interest of others. They are the proverbial wolf in sheep’s clothing. When the chips are down they care only about themselves. They do not mind using others in their bid to realize their own hidden objectives.
- They are divisive and have flattering mouths. They are skilled in the art of deceit. They understand how to use flattering words to confuse their colleagues and move them against the leader. They do so all to their own advantage. They are loud and skillful in the use of lies, focusing on creating a disconnect between team members and the leader.
- They murmur and complain always. The leader can do nothing to please them. They are fault finders, always having issues against whatever position the leader takes. They will also complain about responsibilities assigned to them and instructions that they are given. They just won’t find any common areas of agreement with their leader. Remaining at loggerheads with the leader is a core aspect of their mode of operation.
Leaders contend for the faith of the team
Spots in the leader’s feasts target erosion of the faith that the team has in her. Without faith in the leader shared by a predominant number within the team, the right to lead is lost. The leader is weak and grows weaker with time. Good leaders will not allow this to happen.
True leaders know that they must contend for the faith of their team. They have to build a protective shield around those who believe in them to secure that faith on an ongoing basis.
Three things become crucial for leaders to do when they are confronted with ‘spots’ in their feasts:
- Strengthen personal relationships with team members – The leader-follower relationship is a personal and unique one. At times like those described above, smart leaders will take steps to ensure that they not only stay close to those followers who believe in them but also take steps to deepen their relationships. That helps them to remain in firm control over those followers, thereby making it more difficult for the ‘spots’ to gain an in-road into them.
- Raise their voices – The ‘spots’ also understand the power of words in their quest to destroy the faith that others have in the leader. That’s why they are loud in their rebellion and flattery. In these situations, the smart leader cannot afford to be silent. Words that people hear remain the most potent way of building faith in the speaker. It is a time for the leader to speak up, continually, loudly, and purposefully in pursuit of the leadership mandate. A quiet leader is a loser in the making! The sheep will always hear the leader’s voice and will not hear that of the stranger, for as long as the leader does not go quiet on them!
- Isolate, Remove & Destroy the ‘spots’ – The last thing that the leader must do is to isolate the ‘spots’ and prevent them from interacting or intermingling with the remaining members of the team. Remember that the ‘spots’ are likened to yeast (or leaven) that puffs up the whole dough. When you isolate the part or portion where the yeast is concentrated fast enough you prevent its effect from spreading through the dough. That’s what must be done to the ‘spots’. Urgent steps must be taken to isolate them in order to safeguard other team members. Thereafter, steps must be taken to remove and destroy them. Spots must not be allowed to remain as members of the team or kept where they can still have a go at team members. They need to be taken away completely from the vicinity of the team.
The sheep will always hear the leader’s voice and will not hear that of the stranger, for as long as the leader does not go quiet on them!
Keep yourself in the love of the team
In conclusion, it is important to emphasize that the leader must take care not to allow herself to be discouraged and her commitment to operate with a heart of love to be derailed. The same heart of love built the faith in those who believe, and it will work on the hearts of those who do not come to the team with a decidedly disruptive agenda. Love remains a very potent instrument in the heart of a good leader and she must ensure that she keeps herself in it.
Keeping yourself committed to operating with a heart of love as a leader is keeping yourself in the love of the team.
Spots in your feasts are real and you will do well to look out for them at all times. When you spot them, do not hesitate to give the treatment prescribed above. Failure to do so will rubbish all the leader’s efforts and the fault will still be the leader’s.
[email protected] | +234 809 891 1826 (WhatsApp)