Doctor of Leadership in Global Perspectives: Crafting Ministry in an Interconnected World

The Master Leader

Written by: on September 13, 2023


I was born while my parents were going to Uganda as refugees after a Coup d’état in Rwanda in 1973. Habyarimana ruled Rwanda until his plane was blown to pieces in 1994, after which we saw the worst genocide. The genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda left a million innocent women, men, and children dead in a short period between April and July of 1994.

Africa 50 years later

Ali Bongo, Gabon’s president since 2009, was arrested in an army coup on August 15, 2023. A video message went viral the following day where the president pleaded for help. “I am calling to our friends all over the world, make noise, make noise, and I am arrested here in my house; I don’t know what is going on.” [1]

Ali Bongo took power after his father Omar Bongo’s death. The Nation of Gabon had known a single family in the presidency for over 50 years. The same thing happened on July 27, 2023, in Niger, following other coups in Burkina Faso, Chad, Guinea, Mali, and Sudan, all since 2020. [2]

As Military officers take over Africa, some celebrate freedom, others cry and run to exile.

As it is in other great resources covered over the last two years, I continue to ask questions on how these great concepts and principles will apply in a world like ours where Leadership seems to be doing the opposite. Am I becoming more pessimistic? As I shared the author’s great concept on Leadership, I can’t help but look at my surroundings today; I hope that Simon P. Walker and these other resourceful leaders will help us ignite a leadership revolution today.

Training in the Exercise of Power

In Leading with Nothing to Lose: Training in the Exercise of Power by Simon P. Walker, the author explores the concept of Leadership and power, challenging traditional notions and offering a fresh perspective on how to lead effectively.[3]

This concept of Leadership the author shares holds the solution for the issues we have in our society today, all due to so many that confuse their power hunger and struggle for Leadership. The book’s title speaks volumes. When leaders have nothing to lose, they will not work hard to cover their identity to gain respect or followers; they will instead work with authenticity and vulnerability.

Peter Northouse, John Maxwell, Simon Walker, and others seem to agree on the definition of Leadership as an influence. As I look at the Leadership concept as shared by Simon Walker, it is the reality, at least my reality.

Vulnerability and authenticity

Leadership involves power and influence over others, and it is incumbent upon a leader to use that power and influence benignly. However, each of us is trapped by a psychological imperative shaped during our childhood, which is at the root of our very ego, our sense of self. It is the source of our drives and fears.[4]

Walker argues that authentic Leadership comes from a place of vulnerability and authenticity rather than relying on traditional power dynamics. He emphasizes the importance of self-awareness and personal growth to become an effective leader. Here, the author reminds me of the same concept shared by Brown in her Daring Greatly. In Daring Greatly, Brene Brown explores the idea of vulnerability and its importance in our lives; she argues that embracing vulnerability is not a sign of weakness but rather a courageous act that allows us to live more fulfilling and authentic lives.[5]

The Master Leader

While looking at Servant Leadership, there is no doubt that Jesus is the author of Authentic Leadership. Learning, leading, and living from the feet of Jesus has the very remedy to the issues we face today, and the question remains: how to get this Jesus leadership revolution on this side of heaven.

[1] Gabon coup: Ali Bongo calls for help in video, says “I don’t know what is going on” – YouTube

[2] A Coup in Niger: What It Means for Africa, U.S. and Partners | United States Institute of Peace (usip.org)

[3] Simon P. Walker, Leading with Nothing to Lose: Training in the Exercise of Power (Carlisle: Piquant, 2007).

[4] Walker.

[5] Brown, C. Brené., Daring Greatly, How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent and Lead, 2012.

About the Author


Jean de Dieu Ndahiriwe

Jean de Dieu Ndahiriwe is a Clinical Correctional Chaplain and former Child Refugee from War-torn Rwanda. A member of the Maxwell Leadership Certified Team, Jean is passionate about Servant Leadership and looks forward to seeing more leaders that inspire Lasting Peace and Justice for all, especially "the least of these".

6 responses to “The Master Leader”

  1. mm David Beavis says:

    Hello Jean,

    You hooked me with your opening address of the numerous coups in Africa since 2020. In your opinion, what are the shortcomings of these leaders that have led to the coups? What would a healing leader look like in these countries? My guess is someone who leads with authenticity like you wrote about, but I want to hear your thoughts in addition to this.

  2. Hi David,
    Yes, an authentic servant leadership is needed. Somebody not hungry for power and resources but ready to elevate those he/leads to a better level. It is not easy with a history of violent and selfish leaders that have tarnished the political field but I trust with God’s guidance and the willingness of authentic leaders it can be done.

  3. Jean,
    Thank you for sharing and engaging in conversations with your past and being vulnerable. You have helped me understand the struggle that refugee’s face.

    Well done!

  4. Greg,
    Hope you had safe travels back home. Our conversation reveals your work and sacrificial giving have touched so many. You won’t know fully the extent of your impact on this side of heaven, but heaven knows, and your reward is evident.
    Thanks for all you do brother.

  5. Alana Hayes says:


    You are the king of Vulnerability and Authenticity! Do you think that is built within you as you were created or have you learned that from your John Maxwell training? Maybe its both!

    I enjoyed your post and everything that you teach us weekly!

  6. Thanks Alana,
    You got it; yes, the resources we read and the Maxwell leadership are equally helpful. I also learn greatly from all of you here as you share and help me continuously develop.

    Thanks again for your time and engagement with the blog.

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