How to Become a Leader

How to Become a Leader


Leadership is not an exclusive club for those who are “born with it”. Although leadership relies on some inherited characteristics, it also depends on training and experience. Indeed, many of the traits and abilities that are the raw materials of leadership can be acquired. If you link those traits with an essential desire to achieve, nothing can keep you from becoming a leader. You may even become a great leader.

  1. Believe that you can become a leader

Leadership is a function; it is something that a person does, a set of skills – and any skill can be learned, strengthened and enhanced. Not all leaders are “born leaders”; and leadership is certainly not just a group of personality traits. The leader lives within each of us. So acknowledge that leadership begins with your own belief in yourself.

  1. Be sure you have a burning desire to lead

Are you ‘fired-up’ and enthusiastic enough to get something done? Leaders must have a desire to serve, to achieve a goal, and to leave things better than they were when they found them. Remember, leaders need causes and causes need leaders. So make sure you have a clear sense of mission, a focus, a band-wagon to leap on – and a passion to achieve.

  1. Study the qualities of recognized leaders

What distinguishes leaders from others in the group or organization? Interview, observe, read about and study leaders you admire. Buy or borrow biographies of leaders you respect; and explore what makes them exemplars of the art of leadership.

  1. Be clear about what leadership entails

Know what it means to lead.

  • Inspire a shared vision: envisage an uplifting and ennobling future, enlist others to share the vision by appealing to their values, interests, hopes and dreams.
  • Empower others to act: foster collaboration by promoting cooperative goals and building trust; strengthen people by giving power away, providing choice, developing competence, assigning critical tasks and offering visible support.
  • Model the way: set an example by behaving in ways consistent with shared values; achieve small wins that promote consistent progress; build commitment.
  • Encourage the heart: recognize individual contributions; celebrate team accomplishments regularly.
  1. Learn to lead by leading

The more opportunities you have to serve in leadership roles, the more likely it are that you’ll develop the skills to lead. Effective leaders learn by leading – and they learn from failures as well as from successes.

  1. Volunteer for leadership roles

Find ways to broaden your base of leadership experience by looking beyond the workplace. Remember that there are many opportunities to develop, practice and sharpen your leadership skills and talents, e.g.:

Volunteer for leadership roles in community groups and professional organizations. Such organizations always need good people and they provide broad avenues to learn leading skills.

Seek tougher assignments. They usually involve greater risk, but have a greater pay-off in terms of your leadership development.

  1. Learn from your experiences

Take time to reflect on what you’ve learned from life’s successes and failures. Think back over one of your leadership episodes; review the experience by asking:

Where and when did the episode take place? Who was involved? Who initiated it? Why did I get involved? How did I challenge myself and others?

What did I hope to achieve? How did I generate enthusiasm in others?

How did I involve others? How did I encourage collaboration? How did I foster trust and respect?

What principles and values guided me and others? How did I set an example? What strategies and structures did I apply? How did I progress from one milestone to the next?

How did I acknowledge the work of others? How did we celebrate success?

What lessons did I learn from that experience about myself and about leadership?

  1. Study yourself

What are your strong and weak points? What should you be doing to strengthen the former and eliminate the latter? Ask for feedback from people you know. Make your own list of developmental needs – in public speaking, understanding the change process, handling people, motivating others, and so on.

  1. Learn as much as you can about group action

Make sure you understand the dynamics of your group. We no longer motivate our teams with a whip; we give them a dream and help them reach it – that’s leadership!

  1. Develop a plan of learning

Effective leaders are constantly learning. Devise a plan to improve your leadership, including formal study, and work to your plan. Leadership is a capacity that doesn’t just happen for most people. It needs to be worked at.

A manager can make a good team work well. A good manager can make an average team work well. A true leader can change the whole attitude, philosophy and spirit of any group of people.


There is nothing elusive about leadership. Although great leaders may be as rare as great runners, great painters, or great actors, everyone has leadership potential – just as everyone has some ability at running, painting and acting. Unfortunately, there is no simple formula, no foolproof handbook that leads unavoidably to successful leadership. But don’t despair, for if you can draw on the following essential leadership qualities, you’ll be well on the way to displaying the features of a great leader:

  1. Make a commitment to work hard

Nothing of worth comes easily. Most great leaders thrived on hard work, their main motivator being their desire to meet their own high standards. You’ll find that a combination of self-discipline and a desire to make a difference will provide the necessary commitment to succeed.

  1. Show confidence

Overwhelming confidence in your own ability is essential. If you don’t believe in yourself, others can’t be expected to believe in you. Confidence can be acquired through experience, skill and positive affirmation. People will buy into the leader before they buy into his or her leadership.

  1. Display integrity

Integrity is a quality you must develop. It helps to build trust, allows you to influence others, sets and maintain high standards and builds your reputation as one who can be relied on. Followers are acutely aware of any difference between what you say and what you do.

  1. Demonstrate extraordinary persistence

Researchers have identified three major opportunities for learning to lead:

-Trial and Error

-Observation of others


All three requires ‘stick ability’ – seeing tasks through despite the setbacks and learning from your mistakes. Success is experienced only by those who are prepared to persist.

  1. Be responsive

Openness is giving customers or employees what they want – courteously, when they want it, at a price that matches their expectations. You will be remembered not for the number of tasks you take on but for those you complete successfully. Your level of responsiveness will be the quality you will be recognized for.

  1. Bring out the best in others

Leadership doesn’t occur in a vacuum. Invariably it involves working with others – selling them your dream, instilling in them a desire to achieve, motivating, cajoling, and even coercing them. Your ability to influence is a key leadership factor. Be tolerant of those less competent than yourself, providing they are willing to make the effort to perform to the best of their ability.

  1. Demonstrate a high degree of energy

Often actions speak louder than words. Be prepared to share the load; roll up your sleeves and mix it with others; apply yourself longer; and give that little bit extra. To that end, maintain a level of fitness that ensures you are physically capable of leading by example.

  1. Back your judgement

Boldness and courage are two key leadership qualities. You need to demonstrate a willingness to take chances, to experiment and to display a level of optimism that rejects any prospect of failure. Any failure is viewed as an opportunity to begin again, better prepared than before.

  1. Develop humility

Learn to recognize your place in the scheme of things. Demonstrate high ideals, a strong sense of personal morality and avoid the ‘sand-pit behaviour’ so reminiscent of child’s play.

  1. Get your timing right

Seizing the moment is the key to any successful endeavour, so make sure you get your timing right when taking action and making decisions. Timing is a combination of alertness, foresight and imagination.

  1. Develop a winning attitude

It’s not what happens to you; it’s what you do about it that counts – and your attitude will determine your response. John Maxwell writes: “The pessimist complains about the wind. The optimist expects it to change. The leader adjusts the sails.” Resolve now to start thinking and acting like a leader.

  1. And finally, focus on the 10 C’s of leadership …

You will need to be….

  • Charismatic
  • Caring
  • Committed
  • Crystal-clear
  • Communicative
  • Consistent
  • Creative
  • Competent
  • Courageous
  • Crazy (well, just a little) to think that you really can make a difference

“Beyond the horizon of time is a changed world, very different from today’s word. Some people see beyond that horizon and into the future. They believe that dreams can become reality. They open our eyes and lift our spirits. They build trust and strengthen our relationships. They stand firm against the winds of resistance and give us the courage to continue the quest. We call these people leaders!”




Per Synod

Officers (7)

4 x 5 Synods (20)

Mission Council (19)

The officers of Assembly and Executive are: President, General Secretary and Treasurer.

The officers of Synods and Regional Councils are: Chairperson, Secretary and Treasurer.

The General Secretary as chief executive officer of the denomination has to co-ordinate and facilitates the work and activities of the various standing committees and other organizations such as Finance, Ministerial, Mission Council, Investments, Theological Commission, Moderators, etc. The General Secretary is also the chief Moderator who has along with the President, the task of visiting all Synods and Regions to motivate and encourage them.


Structure of
Executive Committee / Synods /
Regional Councils / Local Churches


/ Finance
Committee / Mission
Training for Ministry Committee / Sub-Committee: Investments Committee / Ministries:
Women’s Ministries
Men’s Ministries
Youth Ministry
Children’s Ministry
HIV/AIDS Ministry
Choir and Music Development
Education to Mission
Justice and Social Responsibility
Resource Development and Training
Stewardship and Church Growth
Worship and Liturgy
The Ministerial Committee, Finance Committee and Mission Council form the Executive Committee of the UCCSA, which is the Assembly out of session. The Executive Committee meets twice a year, usually in March and September.

The Ministerial Committee, together with the Training for Ministry Committee (TMC) is overseeing the training of candidates for the Ministry. Theological Training is the responsibility of the Synods. Each Synod is training Ministerial Candidates at accredited Institutes of Learning. The following institutions are currently used:

i)Kgolagano College (Botswana)

ii)Ricatla Seminary (Mozambique)

iii)Lutheran Seminary (Namibia)

iv)University of Natal or Fort Hare (South Africa)

v)Evangelical Seminary of South Africa (South Africa)

vi)United Theological College in Harare (Zimbabwe)

Being a minister of the church requires particular knowledge, skills and experience that you will get by being a student for the Ministry. There are two elements to this:

a)Theological Education (at a Seminary or University)

b)Ministerial Formation (through Fellowship of Vocation).

The Mission Council is responsible for the training of laity through the different Units. The main focus of the Mission Council is leadership development and capacity building etc.:

To strengthen leadership capacity within organizations, and thereby to build local churches,

To build confidence and skills in lay people in order to organize for change and to develop their local churches;

To develop liturgical programmes in line with the church’s liturgical year and different styles of worship;

Todevelop and implement an HIV/AIDS programme to educate and train our members/ministers. To continue to be involved ecumenically in the local communities in the campaign against AIDS and assist people infected and affected by HIV/AIDS;

To strengthen the ministry to children, women, youth and the gender desk.

To monitor social issues and give as much a lead as possible whenever it is appropriate to do so.

To address the alleviation of poverty by developing self-support projects.




/ Financial
Committees / Mission


A local church is recognized by the Assembly as a fellowship of members of the Church gathered in a particular locality for worship, witness and service. A local church may consist of one or more congregations.

Local churches are formed at the request of existing local churches, on the recommendation of the appropriate Regional Council, or by a Regional Council, in terms of any one or any combination of the following:

The Church is constituted of those who have become members in terms of Clause 3 of the UCCSA Constitution. The Church is a constituent Church of the United Congregational Church of Southern Africa (UCCSA) and acknowledges itself bound by the constitution and the accepted Procedures of the UCCSA.

In all matters of administration, order and discipline the Church is essentially autonomous, subject to the Constitution of UCCSA and the limitations placed upon it by this Constitution.

The Church continues to exist notwithstanding changes made from time to time in the election of office bearers. The Trustees of the Church is:

  • The Minister
  • The Secretary
  • The Treasurer

The Minister: A Minister is called by the Church to minister to them. The Minister has pastoral oversight over the local church. He is the spiritual leader, but is overall the leader of the congregation. He is assisted by a Secretary and a Treasurer.

Church Secretary: The Church elects one of its members as Treasurers, if he is not a deacon, is a deacon ex-officio. The Church Secretary keeps adequate minutes of all Church – and Deacon’s Meetings in a suitable minute book and fulfils such other administrative duties as are normally expected of a Secretary.

Church Treasurer: The Church elects one of its members as Treasurers, who, if he is not a deacon, is a deacon ex-officio. The Treasurer receives contributions, pays salaries and accounts regularly and keeps proper account books, which are audited annually (where possible). The Treasurer prepares an annual financial statement for presentation of the Church Meeting.

The Church does not pay any emoluments to its officials and members.


In Church meetings, the minister is always the Chairperson of the meeting. The sub-committees are chaired by a member elected into that position.

In five words, a Chairperson should be:-

INFORMEDas to the meeting purpose and procedure;

OBJECTIVEso he can control without trying to dominate;

SUPPORTIVEof participants, to encourage contributions;

DIPLOMATICin his treatment of people;

FIRM / TIME CONTROLin keeping the meeting on course and to time.

The chairperson must understand the fundamentals of Parliamentary procedure plus a good knowledge of the constitution of the organization.

Responsibility of Chairperson

  • Have a purpose – plan, process, outcome
  • Stay alert – listen intently
  • Speaking protocol – Tact, time, respect
  • Integrity- be faithful, respect
  • The right attitude – fairness but firm

Keeping to the advertised times for the meeting, is very important. Nothing is as demoralising as a meeting, which starts late, or runs over the allotted time.

The other are to watch is time allocation in the agenda. If too much time is spent on early topics, the later topics are dealt with in unseemly haste, or must be reserved for decision at a later date.

Time control is also essential in respect of the contributions made by those attending the meeting. As everybody knows, there are always certain people who wish to dominate the discussion and it is the responsibility of the chairperson to control the time allocated to each agenda item while ensuring that each attendee has an opportunity to contribute.

The Chairperson, must after welcoming the attendees to the meeting, introduces the purpose of the meeting. While it is this introduction, which will set the tone for the meeting, the nature of the introduction will depend upon the reason for which the meeting has been called.

Leadership Models

  • Humility – Servanthood (Moses – Numbers 12: 3)
  • Integrity – trust, fairness (Daniel 6: 10)
  • Purpose – Nehemiah (Nehemiah 1: 6)
  • Continuous Learning
  • Prayerful – Discernment – Jesus (John 11: 41 – 42)


The function of the Chairperson is to assist a meeting to achieve its objectives, not necessarily to take the lead in discussions and to impose views and decisions. The extent, to which the Chairperson does this, will depend upon the extent to which the Chairperson is autocratic or democratic.

An autocratic Chairperson is often seen where he/she is the manager or person with ultimate responsibility for various decisions. One would expect a totally democratic Chairperson by contrast where he is in a truly representative capacity, rather than a controlling capacity.