“A Call to Arms: Restoring Leadership by Self-Examination and Enigmatic Thinking” by Anique Ruiz

We have become a “pigeon-hole” society. If you don’t fit into a particular box or cannot be described or identified by a single attribute, characteristic, or way of doing things, we as a society don’t know what to do with you or how to interact with you. We have grown accustomed to and favor neatness in place of complexity, black and white versus color, and niceties instead of the truth. We have become closed-minded, hard-hearted, and self-centered. Our individual prosperity and achievements have taken center stage and the welfare of others has taken a back seat. We know how to strategize, but fail to produce long-lasting, widespread growth.

We are so well educated, yet lack the inner discipline to appropriately govern our own behavior. We have amassed wealth yet lack the integrity needed to effectively manage it. We think we are fooling others with our attire, our credentials, and our penthouse access. But what message are we really sending to our staff, to our community, our children and the public?! That it is alright to have the mere appearance of prosperity without the heart and the ethical compass necessary for TRUE leadership.

If we truly wish to prosper, as a nation, as a single society, or as corporate stewards, we must first abandon our pigeon-hole mentality and learn to accept and embrace the enigmatic. Our nation is diverse, and those that wish to lead this great nation or the next great wave of economic and social growth must be able to tap into the pulse of humanity and the commonalities that exist among us. Tunnel vision and exclusionary, strong arm tactics are no longer viable, fruitful political, economic, or social practices or mindsets.

We must lead with discernment and an awareness of the least of those among us. For our strength does not lie in those with the most money, the biggest houses, or the most educated. Our true wealth lies in investing in the least among us. For our country is only as wealthy as the health of our hearts, our pocketbooks, and our souls. Let us, those who have been richly blessed, examine ourselves and the real motivation that lies behind our desire to lead. Let us look closely at our behavior, our deficits, and our temptations so that others will not face disappointment at our eventual undoing. Too many in positions of power have fallen into the traps and snares that leadership so easily affords, destroying the confidence of others in our nation and our businesses’ greatest minds.

Let’s finally get this right. All of us. We all have closet issues, personal and professional, that must be uncovered and dealt with. God desires that we confront these challenges so the confidence of our followers can be restored and/or strengthened. This is not a nonprofit, for-profit, or public issue. This is a human issue.

I invite you to share your thoughts on this issue. Let us begin this dialogue and begin the process of restoring true integrity in our nation’s capacity to lead. God bless you.

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3 thoughts on ““A Call to Arms: Restoring Leadership by Self-Examination and Enigmatic Thinking” by Anique Ruiz

  1. Carol Bedford-Wright says:

    There are many prolific comments in this post. The Holy Spirit has used you to articulate them very well!

    Leadership is not a title, but a heart to serve. If a “leader” does not have a heart to serve, no matter what worldly prestige they may have, they are not a leader. Calling yourself something does not make you that thing. A person may have illusions of grandeur, and maybe even fool naive people; but God knows All! It is just a matter of time before the fall. I agree that those who have been assigned a leadership position must do as the Bible tells us; “Examine thyself.” No “leader” should desire (or set themselves up) to be a hypocrite.

    Lastly, followship is the mirror held up before leaders. Look into the eyes of the people and ask yourself what do you see?

    Kudos! ECBW

  2. Alberto R. says:

    Your article is busting at the seams with themes – big, relevant themes that can certainly merit their own detailed articles. So, in that sense it is inspiring and a overwhelming.

    That said, I am totally drawn to the idea of being who we are in our leadership roles. Over the years (more than 25 years in the nonprofit arena) I’ve adopted messages that I’ve received that are suppose to make me a more effective leader: don’t let them see you sweating, show confidence, demonstrate prosperity, don’t change your mind because you risk coming across as wishy-washy. I can go on. But these messages have, at times, created challenges for me.

    And what I keep going back to is that the best leader I can be is the one that is most aligned with who i am – flawed, sometimes messy, with a vision that doesn’t always have a clear road to it, to name but a few of my I have chosen the position I fill (executive director of a wonderful Southern California nonprofit organization) . Any leadership ability my have has been bestowed by the community in which I live my life. This, despite the fact that I live with depression that, on occasion, limits my capacity to function; despite the occasional feeling of insecurity; despite the occasional desire to not have the responsibilities that come with leadership … and I can go on with the list of realities.

    But I know that with all of that, or despite it, I have been able to influence my environment and affect positive change, and make an improved difference in people’s lives. It may sound arrogant, but I express it with gratitude because it tells me that if I can be an effective leader, then the capacity for leadership is much more prevalent in our communities than we may think. The capacity for leadership may even be universal if we consider that living within our truest selves is a leadership quality. (I hope this makes sense – fingers crossed)

    • Alberto,

      Thank you for responding to this post. We appreciate your feedback and your insight!

      What you are saying makes perfect sense to me. In fact, as I was reading your response I thought about the Apostle Paul in the Bible. If you know the story, Paul persecuted the Jews terribly before having an conversion experience with Christ that would eventually send him to Greece and other countries establishing churches and converting the Gentiles to Christianity.

      In many of Paul’s letters to the early churches (Corinth, Ephesus, Galatia), he often discussed the hardships he faced and the challenges that came with ministry. He used his suffering, trials, and perceived shortcomings to God’s glory to edify and teach others instead of hiding it for some impure motive or gain.

      We all have weaknesses, faults, insecurities, etc. Some leaders use these challenges as tools to teach and encourage their followers not only to confront their own issues (if they are matters that can be resolved by human ability) but to use them, where appropriate, as motivation for others with similar (and not so similar) challenges. So yes, while I believe that we must deal with “closet issues” (i.e. those issues that can hinder our organizations and that are of an impure, unethical, or immoral purpose, often purposely hidden to deceive), I also believe that some matters can, if used for the glory of God, help others to see Him and to see their own self-worth and value.

      I believe that the key question is “How do you use your weaknesses?” Do you use them to manipulate others? Are you being dishonest or lack genuineness or authenticity in your demonstration of these weaknesses to others? Are you purposely trying to deceive others in an attempt to gain an advantage over them?

      The Apostle Paul gloried in his shortcomings and his past life of persecuting the Jews for their belief in Christ, because He was made whole in Christ. “Wholeness” does not imply “perfection;” rather, it is an acknowledgment of one’s inability to solve their own problems and issues and a receipt of Christ’s strength and love to move forward in victory. We must first examine ourselves and allow the Holy Spirit to examine us to determine whether we are indeed struggling with something that God desires to remove (see 1 Corinthians 11:27-32; Lamentations 3:40), or if, like Paul, our challenges (see 2 Corinthians 12: 7-10) are designed to bring about God’s glory and serve as a testimony of His grace to build those around us.

      God is all about honesty, humility, and growth. If an organization is being blessed and growing as a result of your integrity and authenticity in the face of challenges, then your experiences (good or bad) can serve as a model of Christ’s grace and His glory in your organization. It can encourage others not to hide their shortcomings in shame, but to examine themselves, rid themselves of the issues that discourage or inhibit growth, and to allow God to use them to teach and encourage others in their walk with God.

      It sounds like you have not only used your challenges to build your nonprofit, but it also appears that a large part of your strength and the motivation for your work is found in overcoming or facing those challenges. What a beautiful testimony of God’s grace! You have done the hard work of examining yourself and are walking in true integrity and purpose. I do not believe that God calls us to be “perfect leaders.” However, I do believe that, like you, He calls us to be living examples of His grace to others.

      Again, thank you Alberto for sharing your thoughts with us. I pray that you will continue to follow us at thejourneyforwomen.wordpress.com, on Twitter @thejourneyforwomen and on Facebook. We also have an email address, thejourneyforwomen@outlook.com to submit confidential prayer requests. Feel free to pass this information along to others, as I desire this blog to have a global reach.

      Blessings to you and your organization, Anique

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