Monday, August 29, 2016

Justin Buhr - Leadership Award Winner

The start to the Kaléo program is just around the corner and I'm sure you probably have a mix of nervousness and excitement, I know I did when I was getting ready to fly from Manitoba to the coast. I'm Justin Buhr and I was recipient of the leadership award. My time in Kaléo developed and changed me tremendously.  
Although I have a natural leadership personality, it was hindered by a lot of issues, mainly pride. I sometimes see myself as introverted but often the real issue is that I'm afraid to risk failure in front of people. My pride prevented me from leading well because it crippled my ability to discern when to speak up and when to stay silent. I discovered that effective leadership involves much more than having more success than failure when you're in charge. 
Throughout the year there will be many leadership opportunities, I was excited for the because I wanted to develop myself as a leader. However, the leadership I wanted was one where I got to control everything and take the success for myself. Early on, I discovered that this wasn't going to happen: I learned that leadership was not what I thought it was. Here are a few things I learned about leadership through Kaléo. 

Leadership is humbling. Through the Kaléo program I learned that sometimes I had to swallow my pride and face failure. Leadership doesn't mean always succeeding, it means doing the best you can and owning up to it when you don't do your best. It means being the first to apologize when you mess up and the first one to try and fix the wrong. God will definitely work on you to break down the pride you have as he pushes you past your comfort zone and allows you to fail sometimes.

Leadership is supporting others. Leading isn't always being the one to make decisions. I learned to sometimes choose not to say something when someone made a decision that I thought I could've made better. Leadership is supporting and encouraging those above you. It's also giving advice and correction in the proper context. If a task takes a few minutes longer because someone chose to do a task differently it's not a huge issue. If their decisions are more of a concern, the best way to support them is to talk to them one on one. 
Leadership is addressing conflict. Ignoring conflict does not solve the issue. Being a leader means recognizing conflict and resolving it. Now I don't mean it's your job to fix everything wrong, but if there is an issue you need to encourage those involved to figure it out and not ignore it. It can be tough to have to face someone and show them an error they've made but we are called to do this. Encouragement is not just say nice things, it is instilling courage into a person. Giving them the courage to own up to their mistakes and face conflict rather than pushing it under the rug. As a leader you will be directly involved in conflict as well. In this you should strive to be a person that no one is afraid of confronting. Having a gentle and understand heart will equip you to confront others and also be confronted.  
Leadership is stepping into the unknown. Taking risks is a huge aspect of the Kaléo program, you will be stretched in many ways. Being a leader is being willing to take those risks, whether it's the first to speak up in class or the first to get demolished by a huge wave surfing. We all have our strengths and weaknesses; in Kaléo you will be stretched in both areas. Your role may look different in the classroom versus on an out trip, but you will at some point have the opportunity to step into the unknown. We aren't called to live a safe life, God desires us to step out and have to trust Him. In those moments where you are scared or nervous or want to turn back, lean on Christ, the one who will support you. 
Leadership is anchored in Christ, this is the most crucial aspect of leadership. There are many leaders around the world that we may look up to, but at some point they will all fail. We need to look to Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith as a model for leadership. We all recognize our fallen world riddled with sin. We look back in the Old Testament and see many 'heroes' like Moses or Esther or David, these people still failed. The fact is Jesus is the true and perfect Moses: He came and lead the Jews out of the wilderness of their sin into the true promise land. Jesus is the true and perfect Esther: saving His people not from earthly torment and death but a spiritual torment and death. Jesus is the true and perfect David: standing up to satan and his armies and defeating them on the cross while we cowered like Saul's army. We are offered the Holy Spirit to guide and lead us. He is the one where true leadership comes from. When we are filled with Him we have the power the Jesus Christ Himself has. When we lead out of God's strength and power we recognize our weakness and rejoice in the fact that Christ can still use us. In the end, leadership is submitting to the supreme leader: Jesus Christ. 
I am so pumped for the adventure that God has for all of you Kaléo program students. It will be tough but also so rewarding, I will be praying for all of you, have an awesome year!

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