I would love to share with you my testimony in experiencing the Leadership courses by NextGen Global Leaders. May I introduce myself firstly; my name is Ravuth Ma, I am 40 years old and married to Ms. Sokmean Ouk. We have one 8 year old daughter and an 8 month old son.
I have been working with the Evangelical Fellowship of Cambodia (EFC) for more than 15 years. Starting in November of 2000, I worked as a volunteer. I ran a small bookstore for four years with little financial support; 2000 Riels/50 cents USD per day. It was a challenging time for me in my life but, it was a remarkable experience spiritually in “Waiting for His answer.”
I remember, one day a young lady who was a staff member of EFC Youth Commission, now the director of a Christian radio station, asked, “How do you live with this situation for many years, brother?” “I am satisfied in what God has given me”, I answered. Suddenly, her tears fell without intention. Later, this phrase gave me a deep and clear understanding of “The Calling”. I was physically poor, but my spiritual life was getting growth. He gave me time to experience challenging situations.
Now, I hold the responsibility of a Deputy Director responsible for WHYCARES Program of EFC.
Working from smaller responsibilities larger ones has brought me many challenges. I did well in some situations and made mistakes in others as I progressed through new stages. I have learned from others and myself, along the way, to develop my learning cycle.
I had the opportunity to attend the four leadership courses; Strategic Leadership, Adaptive Leadership, Transformational Leadership, and The Servant leadership, with the NextGen Global Leaders Program by The Kerusso Institute for Global Leaders. Many questions that I had previously were answered during the courses and my leadership style was improved.
One important lesson that I keep remembering from the strategic leadership course, was about giving followers a clear picture and direction when an organization wants to change or move to new stages. Many leaders today will only meet with the few members of their management teams when making a decision to change. They do not give a clear explanation to their full team or get involved with feedback, suggestions, or recommendations at all levels. This issue reflects a poor internal communication. I always keep in mind a phrase; “Where communication flow brakes, conflict will be happened at that point.”
When internal communication runs effectively, all levels receive it. It will build respect, trust, relationships and support. This leads to a good working environment by making people feel they are valued and important. When value is created in a team, it will result in full contribution from staff and fruitful productivity in the organization. By this experience, communication flow has become a crucial item in the organization.
I learned about organizational change through the Adaptive Leadership section. It showed me how to review the lifecycle of my organization in four stages: Planning Stage, Growing Stage, Harvesting Stage, and Low Productive Stage. I am able to use this information to take action steps to improve or move what we are doing. There were some projects in my organization that we changed, removed, or improved upon based on organizational and community needs.
Moving from transactional to transformational Leadership was a key leadership style that I learned about. I was able to hear about the experiences of the young Cambodian leaders who attended the Transformational Leadership course. It gave me a clear understanding of important roles that are required of a transformational leader. I was posed an interesting question, “As a leader, are you creating a culture of fear (failure, loss, and conflict) or a culture of success (encouragement, inspiration, and fulfillment). This inspired me to consider how I encourage and inspire staff to do their work effectively. I experienced that transformational leadership truly produces a good working environment of trust, respect, and relationships. Transactional leadership does not do this.
When my organization recruits a new leadership role and I didn’t know who will apply and be selected, I used to suggest the following to the Chairman board: “Please find a servant leader to help the organization, not a boss.” I knew that I needed a servant leader but I was not sure how to determine what a good servant looked like. Attending the Servant Leadership course really helped me to understand the model and responsibilities of a servant leader. The Eight Practices of Servant Leaders really helped me with this.
I discovered the acronym of “JL vs JD” — Jesus’ love versus Job Description. This discovery happened while I was driving on a motorbike with my subordinate, from one province to another, one rainy night. He asked me, “Why should we do this work at night, under the rain. Do you know if our leaders know what we are doing in the field?” Sometimes, our staff may work more than their Job Description dictates. This because of the Calling that they have.
I am always reminded of the 3Ls model that I apply while working with the Christian community. To Live with them, to Learn from them, and to Lead with them (not to lead them). It is important that I first build relationships that will bring trust, respect, and cooperation.
During the training course running, I discussed with my senior leader, that if we have these four kinds of leadership courses, it would much help us to avoid some key problems in our organization.
Finally, I would like to thank NexGen Global Leaders and The Kerusso Institue for Global Leaders. A special “Thank You” to Dr. Jay Clark and Mr. Tim Amstutz for bringing these useful leadership courses to help build upon the capacity of the young Cambodian leaders. This will improve and shape their leadership styles to respond to this challenging world.
May God bless you all!
Evangelical Fellow of Cambodia
Chairman Board of Continuing Learning Organization