Torch, Fall 1988

An interview with Joanna Stevens. Mrs . Stevens and her husband own Opex Corporation in Cherry Hill, New Jersey. She serves as secre– tary-treasurer of the company. Q• Why do people and organizations need leaders? A. Without leaders, utter chaos would result. The Bible speaks often about leadership-the pastor as leader of the church, the husband as leader of his wife and family. Trite sayings about too many cooks spoiling the broth, and confusion from too many chiefs and not enough Indians, speak to this truth. Q• What do people look for in their leaders? A. It is imperative that a leader is doing what God wants him to do and is embodying Biblical principles. Leaders must be decisive, have a clear view of where they are going, and take the initiative. And when success follows , leaders must have the humility to credit God for His enablement. Also, people who lead must earn the respect of their followers. I don't think I could follow anyone I didn ' t respect. Respect is earned in a variety of ways, but I especially look for a leader who first earned respect as a good follower. Q• What traits do you think most leaders exhibited when they were followers? A. Being loyal to superiors, doing a good job in all tasks, not complaining, being decisive and confidently proceeding with the chosen course, and being ready and eager to receive assignments. Q• Are some leaders easier to follow than others? A. Yes, definitely. The person who has earned respect and knows where he is going is easy to follow because we can readily determine if we want to follow that course with him. It must be exasperating to follow a leader who is indecisive and whose course is zig-zagging. Some leaders forfeit their leadership by abusive relationships with followers . They do not indicate respect for their follow– ers' ideas, skills, feelings , or sense of ownership of their portion of the enterprise. When one thinks more highly of himself than he ought to think, he will become difficult to follow . Leadership usually involves advantages such as a private office, travel , and so forth. Those advantages must not be used to create a vacuum to insulate the leader from others or their work. A leader out of touch with his followers is insensitive and underinformed about the workplace. "Masters, give unto your servants that which is just and equal; knowing that ye also have a Master in heaven." Colossians 4:1 5