DMin, Leadership and Global Perspectives: Crafting Ministry in an Interconnected World

Dynamics of Leadership Challenges

Written by: on October 28, 2019


It is very encouraging and enriching to read from such a person full of leadership knowledge and I wonder where to classify him, either under the one who is full of wisdom or knowledge. His vast knowledge and leadership influence and writer of great materials in leadership reflects his great experience in leadership. Kets de Vries speaks power to the leadership approach in his book – Down the Rabbit Hole of Leadership: leadership Pathology in Everyday Life. He reminds me of a leader we had in Uganda known as Idi Amini who was a terror and dictator during his reign from 1971 – 1979. It is believed that when he overthrew the elected government, people celebrated and was welcomed in Kampala city with songs and jubilations. He talked big to the Ugandans and that he would make Uganda a great nation in the region. He started by taking over all the businesses owned by the Indian community and killing them. He took all the disabled people in the streets on the lories and were all thrown in Lake Victoria. Anybody who opposed his government was killed outright. He tortured Uganda who had welcomed him with celebrations. Kets de Vries quote from Demosthenes, “every dictator is an enemy of freedom, an opponent of the law.” Reflects exactly what Amini Dada of Uganda did. He disregarded any law that existed and even persecuted judges who could not give rulings according to his wishes. He ordered printing of more paper money for the country when he was told the country had money. Dictators don’t come from nowhere. Their spawning grounds are social and economical disorder. They know that in stressful situations, people resort to a state of dependency, and will regress to looking for simplistic solutions to their problems, bond with their powerful leaders, and give them unquestioning loyalty and obedience in exchange for direction and protection.[1]

We are faced with many issues concerning leadership even in our churches. There is some kind of dictatorship that threatens followers who end up surrendering most of their resources to the leaders in the name of being blessed only to discover all was vanity. Kets de Vries has described Trump as a truly dangerous dictator and at one point I agree with him and on the other side, I do not agree with him. He has totally demonized Trump badly and I felt as if he had some serious issues with him. Reading his biography and understanding how widely he has read and done research on different leadership models all over the world. He is a highly respected professor of leadership. But I felt he was too harsh on Trump and the use of a crafted term “Trumpmania.” This description of Trump is wanting for sure.

Kets de Vries has continued to point out very important challenges we are facing as leaders of various levels. Most of us are seriously suffering from digital addiction disorder (D.A.D) and this has seriously denied us our face to face fellowship with our families and friends. It is another kind of dictatorship in life that is indirectly eating into our lives and destroying the fibers of relationships and physical connections. Recently I was having a youth leader symposium in Nairobi where we had more than 3000 young people serving in our Quaker churches in Kenya. It was very interesting to note how everybody was very busy during break time with their smartphones and nobody talking to each other, unlike our days when we were of the same age. It was also evident that a good number of them were frequently going out in between the session and as Vries has explained, there were many D.A.D people in the hall. Kets de Vries’ quote from Carl Jung who was a swiss psychiatrist and psychoanalyst and the founder of Analytical Psychology who said that “Everyone carries a shadow, and the less it is embodied in the individual’s conscious life, the blacker and denser it is. At all counts, it forms an unconscious snag, thwarting your most meant well intentions.[2] Therefore, good leadership needs God-given wisdom to discern their path wisely in their leadership practices. Bearing in mind that we all have our shadows in our lives.

[1] (Vries, 2019, p. Loc 436 Kindle edition)

[2] (Vries, 2019, p. Loc 2240 Kindle edition)

About the Author


John Muhanji

I am the Director Africa Ministries Office of Friends United Meeting. I coordinate all Quaker activities and programs in the Quaker churches and school mostly in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. The focus of my work is more on leadership development and church planting in the region especially in Tanzania.. Am married with three children all grown up now. I love playing golf as my exercise hobby. I also love reading.

2 responses to “Dynamics of Leadership Challenges”

  1. John, I like the way you relate the leadership of Idi Amin to De Vries description of a dictator and how dictators arise out of a need for people in emotional distress, of a leader who can show them direction. It is sad how people exploit the vulnerability of others for their own selfish interests and that’s why we cannot be save without God’s intervention in the affairs of men. The need for godly leaders that are lead of God cannot be overemphasized. thank you for this important reminder.

    • John Muhanji says:

      Thank you, Wallace, for your response on this, its sad how people take advantage of others vulnerability and exploit them badly.

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