Matthew was a graduate teacher. He taught in a private school in the city of Nairobi. It was his first year in employment and he was in a serious relationship with a beautiful young lady by the name of Mercy. Mercy was pursuing a degree at private university in the city and she was in her final year. Life was good.
Mercy and Matthew got married the year she graduated from the university. She landed a job soon after graduation, as a personal assistant to the owner of a private security firm.
Cracks started to show in the marriage within months. Mercy believed in planning meticulously while Matthew often operated in crisis mode. He brought his younger brother who was in college to live with them, without discussing the issue with Mercy.
Matthew was also supporting several projects back home which included farming for his parents, financing his mother’s medical treatment and other responsibilities.
His wife did not know about all these responsibilities while they were dating. She would wonder why he was struggling financially yet he earned much more than she did.
Matthew and his wife never discussed any plans or budgeted for the family. Mercy would sometimes take emergency loans during times of crisis.
The couple’s bouncing baby girl was born just before they celebrated their second wedding anniversary. By that time, their relationship was as good as dead.
The quarrels got worse and Matthew would always silence Mercy telling her that she disrespected him instead of knowing her place in the home by being submissive.
Mercy and Matthew separated before celebrating 3 years of marriage. She moved out with their baby, leaving Matthew and his brother in the house.
Attributes of Good Leadership
Good leadership is critical for the success of any institution, marriage included. What is good leadership?
A good leader:
1. Provides direction and influences those he leads to carry out his wishes and recognize his guidance and advice. Good leadership begins with clear objectives and a sense of direction for the institution.
2. Draws on all the skills and expertise within the institution for overall success. He is a team player. Mercy possessed skills that could benefit the marriage yet they were not being tapped into.
3. Shows enthusiasm and gives assurance to those he leads. He is focused and knows where the institution is headed.
4. Has a strong sense of justice and fairness. A person who is rejected and disrespected by those he leads is unlikely to succeed. The no. 1 reason why one gets rejected as a leader is a failure to safeguard the interests of the institution.
To lead people effectively, one must understand those he leads; their opinions, what is important to them, their value systems, problems, etc.
A good leader considers the situation of those he leads and puts himself in their shoes. He frequently asks; ‘If I were in his/her shoes, would I like to carry out orders if they were given to me in that way? How would I feel about those orders?’
How could Matthew have built a strong foundation for his family and secured their future?
i. Teamwork. He could have taken his wife as his partner in life, involved her in planning, budgeting and decision making. If the two had worked together as one team, they could have sought solutions to the challenges they were facing, such as the needs of Matthew’s side of the family.
ii. Nurturing his leadership qualities and accepting his wife’s support when possible, rather than claiming to be the leader when he could not handle the responsibility.
Leaders are not born; they are developed. Leadership is nurtured; it takes deliberate effort to develop leadership qualities. A man is a natural leader in the family but leadership qualities take time and effort to develop.
In traditional society, training in leadership took place from a very young age and usually culminated in the rite of passage to manhood.
All is not lost. With awareness, even a man who was not trained in leadership as he was growing up can make deliberate effort to invest in himself and develop the attributes of a leader.
This article is written by Susan Catherine Keter, life coach, personal development mentor, freelancer and blogger.