They say when a parent wants to assess the quality of a school, the first question he or she asks is: Who is the headmaster?
This is because the character of the person in charge is generally understood to influence the character of the organisation. The headmaster in a school is the equivalent of a king in a kingdom, or a chief executive officer in an organisation, or a father in a home.
The question is in essence the same as the more cynical saying: “The fish rots from the head down,” which means when an organisation or State fails, the leadership is the root cause. In reality of course, it is the stomach contents of the fish which rot first!
Perhaps the real leadership lesson here is the leader should be careful what he imbibes, as this no doubt determines the rate at which rot settles.
Steve Covey says as a leader, every time you open your mouth you create culture, and the Bible tells us that the mouth speaks from the abundance of the heart (Luke 6:4).
It follows then the leader should ensure his heart and mind are full of productive and meaningful material, that the abundance in his heart should be the result of careful selection of worthwhile content, so when he does open his mouth, the culture he creates is a positive one.
But we all know all too often the king isn’t in fact the guy in charge. In a home the father may well be the figurehead, but it could be his sister who really determines what goes on, or more palatably I suppose, his wife.
While the title and position of the leader suggests power and influence, the real power lies with someone else or some other group — the kingmakers.
What in fact is a kingmaker? Well the short answer is that this is a person who has control over appointments to positions of authority or has significant influence over the one in authority. Often this person is not himself a viable candidate, but has some interest in the leadership conversation and is able to use his political, monetary, religious or family influence to determine what happens at the top.
Kingmakers can be anyone from personal advisors, parents, personal assistants and executive assistants. In some churches the pastor has a set of armour-bearers that carry his bags, Bible and teaching material. Their role often extends to an advisory capacity and while the church elders are there to act as the “advisory board” the armour-bearers are the day to day people in charge, and they determine who will or wont have access to the leader.
Sometimes the kingmaker is an organisation or an institution; the church for example or a political party. We all know of examples of leaders such as Strive Masiyiwa, who says his company came into existence through the sheer grace of God.(www.entrepreneurshipafrica.com)
The lesson here would seem to be the leader should also choose carefully who his advisors are as they ultimately determine the destiny of his rule or term in office. It is the circle you surround yourself with that ultimately influences how you will be remembered.
Some years ago while working for a church organisation I learnt the saying: Anything that has more than one head is a monster. What the brethren meant by this was there should only be one person ultimately accountable for a project; in other words, one king per kingdom — a noble idea indeed, which is why I have always supported the gospel of submission in relationships.
Someone has to lead, and someone has to follow. That’s why the concept of joint heads of State or co-ministers seldom works.
Where the king and the kingmaker jostle for position there is likely to be a “monstrous” outcome. The king should have the position, while the kingmaker keeps the power.
So when planning the path to power, it is very important to decide which you want to be — the king or the guy who is really in charge?