Leadership and Religion: A way of life


Everything in the world and beyond revolve leadership. When leadership is great, success is sure but there must be moral leadership to meet the needs of humanity and test of time. Leadership without moral (religion) is fake.

John C Maxwell said: “Everything rises and falls on leadership” and I say religion is the bone that supports whatever falls on the shoulder of leadership.

Among the specialities of acceptable religion is that it does not leave any stone untouched neither does it turn its face away from questions begging for answer time to time. Leadership at its peak is the concept rooting from relating with the human being and their nature and identification of individual’s latent.

Therefore, one must accept that everyone is a leader within himself through the injunction of our lord — everybody is a vicegerent of God on earth.

Indiscriminately, our religious scholars must at every point in time find an effective way of treating threading leadership issues not even now that is needed ever than before. This is meritorious than discussing the way forward of any organization, for success lies in understanding leadership skill from religious footwear.

For any leadership to succeed, the skill use in serving others must be critically examined using the divine message as our bases. However, if any society lacks this ingredient then discussing the success of such society is as good as not discussing it – it will yield no successor if the foundation is spoilt.

The good and bad, the fortune and misfortune, death and life of any organization depends on the quality of its leader. If you study critically any successful country, you will see that their strong leadership orchestrated their success.

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Leadership and religion are like tyres and car which complement each other. Or I should say that leadership is an integral part of any religion. It is the natural phenomenon since the creation of Adam and Eve.

Therefore, to understand leadership, one must view leadership as a natural occurring principle of leading others. No wonder Aristotle said: ‘all men by nature are a political animal’.

However, there lies a critical issue in leading others which is ‘crises management and conflict and resolution’. This problem must be solved once and for all by religious leaders.  The supreme being as explains how to live with others with peace.

In our contemporary world, one of the major challenges facing leadership and religion is a fruitless effort made by some theorists to eliminate religion from leadership. The youth lack proper orientation of leadership and the adult, on the other hand, see it as a means to an end – a way of acquiring wealth.

Many wonder why every political leader finds it difficult to establish and stand firm on his or her manifestoes after the election. The answer is not far fetched, they have no religion as a yardstick for leading others. After all, the usurpers tend to separate moral from politics.

Morality in leadership is a key aspect of leadership that every religion must come to play to ensure its actualisation. It is the religion that will teach a leader to be altruistic, be determined, help others and warn him against the materialistic lifestyle. It also through religion that he will be taught justice, equity, accountability and any other desirable traits possess by leaders of the world before now.

Yet as our world has become more global than local, more artificial than natural, besides advancement of technology has taken control over our lives even social life is not more at the moral scale. Due to this, there is a high need for leadership than ever.

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There is one funny thing about leadership; everybody is a leader and simultaneously a follower. Thus if you are not a good follower, you can’t be a good leader.

Humanity has always seen many leadership theories that couldn’t withstand the test of time. The reason being that most of these theories devoid of religious concept which is the major bedrock of formulating any leadership theories.

Obviously, for any theory to stay, it must revolve the study of traits, situational interaction, issues on power tussle, vision and mission, charisma intelligence, etc.

Sun Tzu captured this by saying: ‘leadership is a matter of intelligence, trustworthiness, humaneness, courage and discipline. Reliance on intelligence alone results in rebelliousness.

The exercise of humanness alone results in weakness. Fixation on trust results in violence. Excessive discipline and sternness in command result in cruelty. When one has all five virtues together, each appropriate to its function, then one can be a leader.

Scholars and coaches have made numerous effort to distinguish between secular and religious leadership. For instance, it is believed that Christian thinking on leadership has often emphasized stewardship of divinely.

However, critical look at the present leadership issues shows that effort to differentiate them usually result in harm than good. Otherwise, we are saying that theory for religious leadership cannot hold for political leadership. If at all we are differentiating them, then religion must be the bases to do so.

Religious leadership style should form the foundation on which all leaders pick and build their skills upon. This is necessary because of the peculiarity of religion – divinity.

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“ Leadership begins since the creation of heaven and earth. It is an erroneous view that men sometimes exist without a leader. We can only accept modern leadership as modification now and not as a new concept’ – Abideen Muhammed.

Leadership from its inception is a title given by the supreme being and not something earned by the man. It will be given after sailing through some tests. That is why if you read the story of messengers from the beginning to the end, you will agree that they assume leadership post after passing some tests. The case of Abraham is certain here. Q21:73.

One more thing about leadership is that it is far from criticism and the major work of every leader is to promote virtues and prevent evil.

Every leader must understand that the most herculean task is managing human being probably because of what Oladejo (2003) describes as the ‘human factor’ phenomenon.

In conclusion, it is imperative for everyone to obey who ever hold the mantle of leadership. It is the difficult task so far. No short cut to it success and no long road to its failure. The supreme being appoints whom He will.

He says: “And we made them leaders, guiding by our command; and we inspired them to do good works, and to observe the prayer, and to give out charity. They were devoted servants to us”.

By Abideen Muhammed Ayomide, Adeniran Ogunsanya College of Education

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