Leader: A Mobilizer


Leader: A Mobilizer

In this article, I share with you a few leadership lessons on a leader as a mobilizer. I have taken Nehemiah in the Bible, the leader who mobilized people to build the wall of Jerusalem in a record time of 52 days as the example.  Mobilizing people for the great good was the greatest strength of Nehemiah. This strpict 1ength is anchored on the character of Nehemiah, a person deeply grieved by the appalling condition his people, courageous and a man of resolve.

A leader is first and foremost a mobilizer. A mobilizer’s primary aim is to influence people to join him in an endeavour he desires to pursue for the common good. The critical question to ask is, “How did Nehemiah go about mobilizing people?”


The first thing Nehemiah did was to inspect the wall to determine the extent and nature of the damage; thoroughly know the problem. The most important lesson we learn from Nehemiah is, inspect the problem first to understand its condition before talking to the people. Inspect the situation thoroughly without telling people wpict 2hat you are about; have a few people with you, even those ones do not confine to them at this stage what is in your heart; let them not know the business you are about, keep it to yourself, that is, protect it until such at time that you are thoroughly informed and you have answers to the questions people may ask you. Do it covertly, let not people know what you are investigating. Have crystal clear information about the situation you want to change before you talk to people whose input you may need. The information you gather helps you properly frame the problem in a way that it is easy for people to understand.


Contrast Nehemiah’s approach with the approach of the young man Joseph, a popular story. Joseph had a dream, which he told his brothers and they hated him, because of the dream. He dreamed a second time, and again, he told his brothers and also his parents. His brothers hated him even the most and plotted to get rid of him. A chance was presented to his brothers when Joseph was sent by his father to enquire about the welfare of his brothers; when they saw him, they were of one mind to finish their brother. There is a lesson we learn from this incident, which we see it in Nehemiah, keep the business you about to do to yourself until you are thoroughly informed and have properly considered how best you are going to approach it before you tell people about it.


Communication – framing the problem in a language that people understand is key to the success of the project; people cannot rally behind a project if they cannot buy into it and the only way for the people to buy inpict 3to the project is if they understand the problem from their perspective especially if the problem talks about the situation they are facing and if the solution suggested is indeed going to solve their problem.  This is how Nehemiah framed the problem; he framed it as a collective issue, “You see the distress we are in, how Jerusalem lies in waste, and its gates are burned down with fire. Come and let us build the wall of Jerusalem, that we may no longer be a reproach,” Nehemiah 3:17, NKJV). The first thing Nehemiah does when he first talks to people is he speaks directly to them (you) about their condition, he speaks to their imagination (see the distress) and cleverly includes himself as one also affected (we are in). He identifies with the people and the problem.  Then he calls on them, let us (including himself) build; why, that we may no longer be a reproach.  Nehemiah invites people into project, he gives them ownership. The response of the people was resounding, so they said, “Let us rise up and build.” Then they set their hands to this good work.


I end with this quotation, “A leader is best when people barely know he exists, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: we did it ourselves. —Lao Tzu


Kennedy Barasa Wanyonyi                                      September 22, 2016


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