BY: SIMONE JENNIFER SMITH
“Wherever you are sent you must kindle a fire but, of course, I do not mean a physical fire lit by matches and fuel. Rather, the fire you must kindle is within your heart and this means you should conduct your duties with passion, zeal, and devotion.” His Holiness Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmed
Leadership; how does leadership look to you? We all have our ideas on what great leadership is, and I believe that different leaders are needed for different projects, organizations, and communities. My trip to England and my visit with the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community has inspired me to research what makes a great leader. I was fascinated by the way the community had such reverence for their leader and the way they are willing to follow his lead without question. Well, I don’t know if it is without question; there are always questions. I had questions, and this week I am going to address some questions that I had and provide you with quotes from a man who seems to have the right answers.
One thing that a leader must do is lead by example. His Holiness Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmed speaks about conducting your duties with passion, zeal, and devotion. How does one do that? Well, first of all, you have to have a passion for what it is that you do. This passion is seen in how you conduct yourself when you are carrying out your work. Your zeal for what you do has to be authentic, and believe me; people can tell when you are just acting. As a leader, your devotion must be to your community; they must know that they can turn to you when times get hard. It is a big responsibility and one that cannot be taken lightly. Devotion is key!
“A missionary’s work should not be hindered because of hardships; rather missionaries should have the potential and strength to bear adversity.” His Holiness Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmed
How does one gain the strength to bear adversity? I have always been curious to know if a leader realizes their abilities, and when they know that they are fit to be leaders. One ideology that I believe has done some damage in the Caribbean community is that many of us truly believe we are leaders but do not possess qualities that truly make a leader. Leaders in our past like Malcom X, Martin Luther King, and Marcus Garvey had to deal with their fair share of adversity. Many of our leaders have lost their lives standing up for what they believe in. Not everyone is equipped, but long to feel something. That something could be power, respect, an ego stroke, who knows? A leader attains power and respect, but this only comes after they have worked hard for it. They have shown their commitment to their passions, their community, and their ideals. The strength comes from going through life, dealing with the knocks and learning enough to teach others how to deal with adversity when it appears in their individual lives.
“Instead of wielding their influence with wisdom and truth, such clerics abuse their authority and the trust people have in them in the worst possible ways.” His Holiness Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmed
This quote stuck out to me; abuse of power; one of the leading descriptions of bad leadership. It is very easy to get caught up in the power that comes with being a leader. You have people willing to do what you say; people who are at your beck and call. You have access to materials, tools, and information that others do not. It is very easy to start smelling yourself and to start seeing what you can get away with. So how does a person with all this power not abuse it? Well, it takes a certain type of discipline and for some a spiritual foundation that keeps them rooted in their convictions and helps with the temptation of greed and selfishness.
There is still so much to be learned about leadership, and it is a feat that I am willing to take up. I would love the community’s feedback on this article; who do you feel is a good leader, and what makes them a good leader to you? Looking forward to hearing from you.