I think that the notion that ‘leadership’ is a phenomenon should be accepted without question. I like this definition of phenomenon I picked from dictionary.com – ‘a fact or situation that is observed to exist or happen, especially one whose cause or explanation is in question’. It exists, no doubt. But what brings it about? The tangible effects of leadership are ever before us, but what are the strange mixes that produce effective leadership? What makes some people succeed at what they set out to do, and some fail?
In volunteering an answer, I would like to point to the rainbow, another symbol deeply cherished by the Bible. It was the token given to Noah that the earth would never again be destroyed by water. The mantle that distinguished Joseph was made of rainbow colors. The few people who saw God in the heavens and recounted it in the Bible – Ezekiel (Ezekiel 3) and John (Revelation 4) – said He was draped with rainbow.
I think the rainbow expresses the complexity, the process, and the effect of leadership. It takes many strands of values, attitudes and formulations of activities to lead oneself and any group successfully. While the strands may be different, they have to move in harmony. The diversities have to be carefully layered in order to lead to the desired effect of beauty and elegance and progress. And to get this effect, the one doing the layering must be careful, cautious, and cautioned to ensure that there is harmony in directions, of communication, and of appreciations.
I think this is the greatest test of human capacity. To live in a world where each person is unique, and yet manage to find the collection of strands that do not damage, but build up all persons in your sphere of influence is not at all a simple undertaking. Many give up and choose options that are discordant with the strands they are carrying, because harmonizing diversity is a tough game. Many do not care what hurts, and what jars. But for those who make the effort to bear the burden of carefully laying the different colors, strand after strand, strand with strand, a little here, a little there, they enjoy the awesome reward of lives of great harmony, elegance and celebration. Like the music of symphony. Like the drapery of kente. May the beauty of the rainbow take shape in your life as you arrange each strand of faith, career, lifestyle, family and finances in the direction of your dreams each day.