On Leadership

Dear friends,

I am realising that the older I get, the less I know about visionary leadership. Therefore, the older I get, the more I must listen and learn.  The dimensions of my task are huge and multifaceted, full of complexity and contradiction. But then being in turmoil seems to be a part of visionary leadership.  There is no smooth and easy terrain to walk on.

I am learning that talent and skill are important, but more important than that is authenticity, solidity, character and personal substance; the way we love, and how we serve.

I have a remarkable team, the members of which are marked out by their compassion, resolution and courage. I realise more than ever that I must be attentive to their nature and gifting. I must understand their needs, individual aspirations, weaknesses, vulnerabilities and motivations. Their values and perceptions will be shaped by the true intention behind my words, by the soundness of my heart and the accurate centering of my soul, and not through management techniques. They are precious people, and I long to see them grow in all the best dimensions of their lives.

ASHA team photo

My belief and my experience is that leaders are in great need of friends and mentors, people who will be able to show us how to cope with the many complex realities we face. Some one has said that one good and able mentor is worth more than a hundred consultants and a thousand motivational seminars. 

I am particularly vulnerable because of the turmoil of my own upbringing. I often experience loneliness and fear right in the middle of such a vibrant and meaningful mission. I need friends and mentors who will renew me and be with me in times of pressure, change, shifting alliances and intensive tasks.

I have also learnt that disappointment and betrayal are part of the leadership reality, and I must embrace this with all the attending pain. So is resolved and unresolved conflict. But I must still go on doing what I know I must do.

Gifts for CHV 03 May 2013 062

Also, moving forward does not necessarily mean moving fast, as most leaders feel compelled to do. Often the way forward is to stand still. Effective progress is not always related to rapid pace.

Most importantly, my times of retreat and reflection to gain strength and wisdom from God, and to be renewed and refreshed by Him, help me to receive boundless energy for my task.

My prayer is that I will always have the loyalty of your friendship as I seek to nourish the land I touch, the land of the poor living in Delhi’s slums.

Yours most sincerely,

Kiran Martin

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