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Discipline and sanctions: two delicate tools in the hand of a leader

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Discipline and sanctions, when well-handled can be effective tools for the leader to get things moving in the right direction and with the right perspective.

But the abuse or misuse of these tools could have very negative consequences.

As a leader you should ask yourself these questions when faced with the possibility of meting out discipline or sanctions:

Why is it necessary at this point in time?

What is the expected outcome of this?

Who is the beneficiary in this?

Wrong motives for meting out discipline and sanctions

To earn the respect of others and gain influence

To establish one’s authority, “I’m the one in charge here…”

As a means to revenge or get back at someone who hurt you in the past

To degrade and humiliate a rival

To silence opposition and dissenting voices

As an attempt to hide your weaknesses and failures

When discipline and sanctions become tools that benefit more the leader rather than those who are led and the organization, they become dangerous tools.

  • There is always a better way to establish your authority as a leader and earn respect from those you lead.
  • Avoid dishing out sanctions when you are still in that mood that provoked the decision to sanction the individual in question.
  • Postpone the sanction; reexamine the motive to see if you still feel the same the next day.

As a leader what are your motives for meting out discipline and sanctions in your home, organization, church, classroom…? Share.







I still remember the time I was chosen to pastor a church for a few months in the absence of our senior pastor. He had a sudden transfer to work in another city and there was need for someone to take care of the flock. At That time I was the intercessors’ leader. I was still trying to get a foot hold on service, especially in God’s vineyard. When I look back on those days I tell God, “Lord, your ways are really beyond my understanding. How could you have chosen to use a young woman suffering from low self-esteem, lack of self-confidence …? How could you ever choose such a person to carry out such great a task? You are really awesome.”

But this experience let me to know that God does not work with those who are fully qualified. What He requires first and foremost is a willing heart and an open mind, then He will perfect us along the journey.

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As a preacher, writer, speaker, no matter what you are called to do, it should not come to you as a surprise if some of your messages hit you on the head or slap you back in the face. God is not using you because you are perfect. NO!

You are doing that thing you are doing right now first and foremost because you are available to do it. You are just the ordained instrument in God’s hand. You need that message just like your audience because you face the same challenges they face on a daily basis. You might be more mature in your way of handling them, but you do face them too.

This awareness will keep us humble and submissive to God. You will realize that it is only by His grace that you are where you are. This will help us to receive correction and suggestions knowing that it is not extra-qualification that got us there. We are not there because there is none to do a better job.

When I was chosen to pastor that church, there were people I sincerely considered more qualified than me; people I met already serving in that ministry; people who prayed for me when I needed healing and deliverance. But one day I was chosen to be “their” pastor. Wow! I was intimidated …It took God’s grace for me to stand behind that pulpit week after week, month after month with a microphone in hand.

…And God was faithful. He gave me such inspired messages that got people on their knees weeping, repenting and surrendering to God. But you know what? Those messages hit me more; I was just as broken, wounded and sore as they. I wasn’t any better than they. God surely has a sense of humor.

This experience has helped me to receive criticism and correction more easily because I know I am not doing what I’m doing because I’m the most qualified for the job. I’m simply a benefactor of God’s sovereign Grace. I am where I am because I carry God’s sovereign seal of spiritual authority.

When I come across a challenging situation in the process of fulfilling my assignment, I just look up to God and remind my self that I am in need of more of His Grace. I also remind myself that I have to keep learning…studying. I have not yet arrived.

Perhaps my God talk is a bit of a bore to you. Perhaps you do not believe so much in God given assignments and abilities etc. Let me put it this way.

Those who accomplish great things in life are not those who qualify from the start; it is those who allow themselves to be qualified in the process. Take that first step, that very small step, and then you will see yourself soaring on eagles’ wings some day.

My writing career started with me keeping a journal. Then it got to a level where I found myself scribbling things all over and everywhere. Then I started putting my scribbled lines into articles. Then one day I found myself writing books. That was my process to become a writer. How I laughed at myself the day I received a prophecy pointing to my writing career. I wondered to myself who will ever want to read a book written my “me.” I didn’t look like a Joyce Meyer or a John Maxwell… you get my point.

Don’t wait to be perfect before you start that thing God has laid in your heart to do. Just start something and then He will surprise you.

When people tell you that you aren’t qualified, remind them that God qualifies His own servants in the process.

For a start, you do not need a PhD and five years of experience for it. You will get the degrees in the process, and then people will heap some honorary ones on top when they see the fruit and the impact.

I have learnt not to question people’s qualification in relation to their job or assignment. I am tolerant to people who make mistakes in the course of their assignment (I made many myself). The only problem is when we refuse to be qualified in the process.

  • When we are resistant to change.
  • When we are too lazy to study and fill up the gaps in our knowledge.
  • When we are content with garbage in, garbage out standards.

It will be wrong for you to be content to render mediocre services to your audience, church or students year after year with the excuse that “when God called me I wasn’t qualified.” Whatever you are called to do, your education is your responsibility.

This not withstanding, every employer, God included, expects a basic level of qualification from the start. This will serve as a foundation on which future knowledge will be built. You might be called to preach, teach or in any other area where literacy is a real necessity. But you are stark illiterate. You could be destined to be a business executive but you never had a degree in business administration. But if you possess the following qualities, you could end up beating the top professionals.

  • A deep desire to know more
  • Inquisitiveness
  • Never giving up spirit
  • Good self-esteem

The greatest qualification for a start is the assurance that you are really called to do that thing; that you have the basic talent for it and are willing to get processed in the process.


Leadership: the home scenario

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How do I strike a balance between my role as a parent and a leader in my home?

The home is a place where we expect the highest level of love, acceptance and understanding. We see it as a duty the other party is supposed to do; it’s not a favor we are demanding. So giving and receiving love, acceptance and understanding is almost synonymous to home life.

However, parents at the same time are expected to place themselves in a leadership role with all it entails. This could become really tricky if not well-handled. This can actually get out of hand if both parties misunderstand the role they are supposed to play. This could have very unpredictable consequences.

Based on my own experiences as a child growing up in a home, and as now a parent entrusted with the responsibility of leading my home, I will share some of the things I have learned so far.

  • Love with discipline
  • Discipline with love
  • Talk less and do more
  • Explain less, demonstrate more
  • Preach less, practice more
  • Don’t cry too often before your kids
  • Go for a walk when you feel like raising a fist
  • Don’t let your bleeding heart be seen on your face
  • Be real without being too vulnerable
  • Plan for pleasant surprises; don’t let the unpleasant ones become the order.

I wish a happy home to you all. Home sweet home!


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He that has no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down without walls (Proverbs 25:28).

He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that rules his spirit than he that takes a city (Proverbs 16:32).

If we consider leadership to be the ability to show the way, give direction and rally forces to achieve a specific goal, then the above passages are simply telling us that we must be able to give ourselves direction, be able to identify and positions ourselves on the right path before ever attempt help others achieve the same goal.

The first passage suggests that the inability to rules one’s spirit, that is, to lead oneself leads to disorder and chaos.

  • Lack of self-control or restrain
  • In ability to defend oneself from intruders
  • Vulnerability to invasions of all kinds

This is the image of a city that is broken down and without walls. There is no telling what could happen to it at any given time.

The second passage talks about the importance of developing self-discipline and self-rule; then we can steer others in the same direction.

How can I possibly rule the city I just conquered if I can’t rule my own spirit? Do I have control over my…

  • Emotions?
  • Temperament?
  • Appetite and desires?
  • Attitude and responses?

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  • How do I react in the face of opposition?
  • How do I act or react when I’m angry?
  • What is my attitude when I realize I made a mistake?
  • How do I handle my desire and appetite, especially when they seem to get out of control?
  • Can I say ‘yes’ even when everything in me is saying ‘no’?

Every human being is called to lead in one way or the other.

We lead in the home, in the classroom, in church or at the job. Sometimes we spontaneously find ourselves in a leadership position we hardly anticipated a few minutes back; for instance helping children across a buy street or supervising a rescue mission we run into.

The way we handle ourselves will determine how well we lead those we are responsible for.