Is leadership inherited, learned or taught? Growing up during the time that is locally referred to as the “Red Terror” in the capital city of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, I learned many valuable lessons about the importance of the sixth sense in true servant leadership.
In the 1980s, during a period of political upheaval against the new communist dictator, there were many bloody nights. And each morning, as my mother drove us to school, she’d sternly tell my sister and me not to look out of the window, but I did anyway. I would not only see dead bodies along the roadside, but government trucks collecting them in masse.
On the night we called the “Red Terror,” repetitive gunshots filled the air. We heard explosions and screams, and even our dogs scratched to come inside. Like most people in our community, we had to employ security guards to secure our house. That evening, my parents were out, and no one knew when or even if my parents would return home. The landline phones did not work, and we had no cell phones, so there was no way to contact them for their estimated time of arrival. Also, no one dared honk to draw any attention to themselves, so my parents could not even signal when they were approaching.
However, as if being able to identify my parents’ headlights out of a dozen other cars, the guards acted instinctively and immediately opened the gate for my parents before any harm from the chaos could come to them. The attentiveness and prompt action of the guards revealed a layer of leadership that I took careful note of. Their ability to intuitively perceive that which was not clearly expressed saved my parents’ lives that night, and I’ve never forgotten it.
I learned a similar lesson from those who had not acted with the same level of care. A few years ago, my husband and I were invited to an event in which my husband was the guest speaker. We received timely transportation to the event and our driver not only communicated to event organizers that we were in route, but as we got closer, he also called to inform them that we were just minutes away. Upon arrival, we approached a garage door, but no one was there to let us in. The driver frantically made calls to find someone to let us in. After waiting for what felt like an hour, the garage door opened, and we were allowed to enter the facility.
Luke 12:35-38 encourages us to be watchful and ready to act, and in my first example, no one had to ask the guards to open the gate. They took initiative and promptly responded to the situation. However, in my second example, the team seemed to be focused on other things, not realizing the delay of the speaker could impact the whole service. We have no problem waiting for a door to open. My whole point here is that whether inherited, learned or taught, sixth-sense leadership enables things to move more smoothly and makes those who possess it invaluable servant leaders.
This article was extracted from Issue 4 (Winter 2021) of the AVAIL Journal. Claim your free annual subscription here.
Yeromitou Grier was born and raised in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Biblical Studies from Koinonia Bible College and was ordained by Dr. Myles Munroe in 2008. Yeromitou serves as a Pastor at Grace Church, under the senior leadership of her husband, Bishop Derek Grier.
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