Church Leadership and Sexual Harassment

This topic has been inspired by my observations, experiences and experiences of people I know. It is a leadership problem that does not seem to be going away anytime soon. Churches in Ghana have evolved over the past years tit huge congregations and the Holy Spirit’s dispensation. One would have thought that moral standards would have greatly improved (if not in the general Ghanaian societies), in the churches at least.

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Some of these churches are very large in terms of infrastructure, operations and membership base, and run as corporate organizations even though they are not-for-profit. They therefore need the same mechanisms to run their offices effectively and efficiently with all the departments needed for the smooth running of a corporate entity; including administration, operations, finance, logistics, protocol, public relations, unman resources etcetera.

It is therefore in that same way that the motivation, performance, efficiency and wellbeing of church office employees and active church members is not only essential for high job performance and the organization’s success but mentally healthy members of the society. It is therefore of grave concern that some church leaders and preachers of some of the renowned churches in Ghana have used their leadership positions in the church and church offices, to sexually harass church members and or church office workers.

This is by no means an attempt to tarnish the images of hurt leaders and pastors as the Lord admonishes in the Bible ‘touch not my anointed and do my prophets no harm” [ (KAVA) 1 Chronicles 16:22], but to voice out the frustration, disappointment and near despair of a believer of the gospel of Jesus Christ. From Christian Ethics Today: “For years congregants and the wider community have assumed ministers are persons of integrity, worthy of respect and trust.

Yet, from King Davit’s illicit affair with Bathes to Jim Baker’s liaison with Jessica Hahn, the reputation of spiritual leaders has been tainted by sexual scandal. Most preachers begin their ministries with good intentions. Yet as they face sexual temptation, some succumb” (Christian Ethics Today). INTRODUCTION For many years people have developed a trust for church leaders and ministers, knowing they are a people of integrity, yet when issues of sexual harassment or an illicit sexual affair happens between a church member or worker and a church leader, it breaches and damages this trust.

This paper attempts to look at some leadership behavior and its impact on followers’ wellbeing and performance to establish that when church leadership engage in sexual illicit affairs with their church members and/or church employees (sexual harassment), it is detrimental and devastating to the victims, the perpetrators, their families, church communities and even to the society in which they belong. Sexual harassment can be defined as unwelcome sexual advances or request for sexual favor (Miller & Jennet, 2000).

In many cases, and as in the case of church leaders, the harassment occurs because the harasser is in a position of leadership or authority, giving them the necessary power to make harassment easier. Power, as Prefer defines, is “the potential Page 2 of 15 VA. Cobra – EMBED 1120037 ability to influence behavior, to change the course of events, to overcome assistance, and to get people to do things they would not otherwise do” (Prefer, 1992).

Leaders are able to influence followers’ behavior and when done unethically, as in sexual harassment, can be detrimental and crumble individual or group core beliefs and values, be it done with their consent or not. Calculi, in her book, Ethics: The Heart of Leadership stated that, “leadership is not a person or a position. It is a complex moral relationship between people, based on trust, obligation, commitment, emotion, and a shared vision of the good. Ethics, then, lies at the very heart of leadership” (Calculi, 1998), (Doom, Green, Saliva, Fenton, Calvert, Fall 2003).

Some leaders, struggling with ethics and morality, tend to be self-centered, covetous and irresponsible in their behavior bringing about negative impact on follower/employee productivity and organizational growth. This paper seeks to outline leadership behavior and its importance, and the impact it can have on follower expectations, performance and wellbeing with main emphasis on illicit affairs in church organizations between church leaders and their followers.

In a bid to do this, some research findings of this leadership problem will be documented. Secondly, some theories on leadership behaviors ND their importance and relevance to followers’ performance will be touched on, to throw light on the relationship between leader behavior and follower expectations, wellbeing and performance and last but not the least, before concluding, a narration of real life cases will be included for the reader to get a glimpse of the nature of these relationship between Church leaders and their staff or their followers.

There are several definitions for leadership but for the purpose of this paper we will look up three that are relevant to this subject matter being discussed; leadership can be defined as ‘the ability to inspire confidence and support mongo the people who are needed to achieve organizational goals” (Kim & Membranous, July-August 1992); leadership can also be defined as ‘those who consistently make effective contributions to social order, and who are expected Page 3 of 15 V. A. Cobra – EMBED 1120037 and perceived to do so” (Hooking, 1998).

A preacher recently said in church that “the responsibility of a leader in church is to speak and act the whole council of God” (Rev. Seed, 2012). In an interview with Jim Souses, co-author of the ‘Leadership Challenge’ he said “leadership is embroiling others to get extraordinary things done in organizations… Running values into actions, visions into realities, obstacles into innovations, separateness into solidarity and risks into rewards” (Souses, A Leadership Challenge, 2011).

LITERATURE REVIEW Even though some research has proved otherwise in some formal cases, other research has shown that leaders affect organizational performance as Dublin documented in his “Principles of Leadership” (Dublin, 2010). Even though Dublin mainly discusses performance in terms of profitability or financial performance, other researches have also made a connection between leadership styles and employee performance.

The leadership styles a leader employs could have a positive or negative effect on the staff depending on what they use it for. They could be Transactional or Transformational and/ Charismatic Leadership which is also a leadership trait which will be relevant for this discussion. However, the most effective leader is the one who combines the transactional and transformational leadership styles. Transactional Leaders tend to adopt the traditional top-down form of leadership where rewards and punishments are used as a form of management.

Charismatic leaders, by their very personality ND behavior most of the time cause people to follow them or do what they want, whilst transformational leaders work with followers to get the desired results. By their very characteristics, church organizations tend to attract more of transformational and charismatic leaders than strictly transactional leaders. For the purpose of this discussion therefore, some research and studies made into Charismatic and Transformational Leadership will be examined; page 4 of 15 V. A. Baobab – EMBED 1120037 According to Dublin, charisma is a key component of a transformational leader; however, not all charismatic leaders are transformational. He goes on to say that charisma is a “positive and compelling quality of a person that makes many others want to be led by that person” (Dublin, 2010). Dublin also goes on to say that a charismatic leader should be perceived by group members as having a certain positive attribute to motivate them into being committed, put in high performance and self-sacrifice.

He talks about two effects of charisma; referent power and expert power. According to him, referent power is the ability to influence others as a result of one’s charisma, whilst expert power is the leader’s ability to influence others because of his/her specialized “knowledge, kill and abilities” (Dublin, 2010). He also talks about “the dark side of charismatic leadership”; on this he says that some charismatic leaders are unethical and lead their followers, employees, members or subordinates “towards illegal and immoral ends” (Dublin, 2010).

A transformational and/or charismatic leader type is what one will usually see in a church organization because of the very nature of the church’s mission which is to transform lives for Jesus Christ. A transformational leader, according to Dublin is a leader who, apart from being an achiever themselves, helps and guides their followers to become achievers too. This type of leader is, as the word implies, supposed to transform and develop their followers or people who look up to them. Dublin looks at several ways in which a transformational leader can effect this transformation, a few of which will be touched on here.

According to him, to be an effective transformational leader, a leader must raise “people’s awareness” by making followers and group members aware of the importance of hard work and dedication to the organizational goals and the effect and impact of successes towards achieving these goals. This will boost followers’ morale and enthusiasm towards achieving a common goal. Dublin also talks about a transformational leader “helping people to look beyond self interest” – this helps them to see the Page 5 of 15 V. A. Cobra – EMBALM 120037 big picture of why the group or team have certain objectives.

He also goes on to say that a transformational leader helps his/her followers to go beyond immediate and minor satisfaction to striving harder for self-fulfillment and then last but not the least a transformational leader can encourage followers to adopt the greatness attitude which will not only propel the organization forward but can “ennoble human nature and strengthen societies” leading to great ethical behavior (Dublin, 2010). The behavior and qualities of an effective leader is very essential because that goes a long way to determine the performance of their followers.

Leaders must be seen as credible enough to set goals that are measurable, realistic and worthy for followers to have enough confidence to follow. A leader will be able to gain the trust and respect of his/her followers as he/she is able to show objectivity, efficiency, initiative and autonomy when problems arise. In addition to this, knowing the personalities and capabilities of followers enables the leader to be able to delegate work intelligently and offer instructive criticism where needed; this keeps them (followers) challenged and boosts employee morale and performance.

An effective leader is also the one who is able to foster teamwork, shares successes with followers and is able to get followers to put in more effort and time into their work. To complement and add more insight to what Dubbing’s (and other writers of similar views) have alluded to, Souses and Poster in their book entitled ‘The Leadership Challenge’, also talk about the five principles of exemplary leadership; they are, Model the Way, Inspire a Shared Vision, Challenge, the Process, Enable Others to Act, ND Encourage the Heart.

After extensive research and speaking to and/or administering thousands of questionnaires to leaders and followers, they came to the conclusion that these are the most important principles a leader must emulate to become effective; “Modeling the way’ means more or less “practicing what you preach”; followers must see the leader emulating what he/she believes in; a leader’s behavior is what earns him/or her respect. The leader must be a role model: showing others that you “walk the talk”; you act Page 6 of 15 V. A.

Cobra – EMBED 1120037 according to the values that you believe in. This is how a leader is able to earn and sustain credibility. Every organization has a mission and a vision and it is the leader’s responsibility to inspire the followers into working toward a shared vision. Many churches for instance have visions which borders on raising leaders and shaping the future. It is therefore important for leaders to be trustworthy and credible enough to be able to “inspire a shared vision” and to be able to achieve this effectively and efficiently.

They will be able to do this by showing their followers that they understand their needs and have their interests at heart. In “challenge the process”, Souses and Poster found out that an effective leader must be able to challenge the status quo; he/she must be able to change the process of doing things by looking outside themselves and the organization at possible opportunities to be able to have successes; in doing this they will be able to build the confidence of followers in the leader.

Effective and exemplary leaders “enable others to act”; leadership cannot be effective without teamwork. A leader has to be able to build the trust and confidence of his/her followers by empowering them to bring out the best of their abilities and encourage high performance levels. The fifth principle they came up with is that effective leaders should be able to “encourage the heart” of their followers by urging them on when they feel discouraged or disenchanted.

The leader should recognize the efforts and accomplishment of the team; recognize contributions and compliment individual excellence. Employee awards for best employee of the month, for instance, could also be a way of acknowledging and encouraging hard work and dedication of followers. These five principles were culled out of what, (across many cultures was discovered) are expected, as being ‘must have’ ululates of an effective leader, to have people follow them willingly and these are, to be honest, forward looking, inspiring, and competent. Age 7 of 15 V. A. Cobra – EMBED 1120037 These four characteristics will be looked at into a little bit more detail because without being perceived as honest, a leader cannot Model the Way, one cannot Inspire a Shared Vision without being inspiring and forward looking, and then being competent allows a leader to Challenge the Process and Enable Others to Act; Honesty topped these four characteristics in the research as being the most important characteristic people look out for to follow a leader.

More than anything else, people want to see their leaders as having integrity, good ethics and morals, as well as being truthful and principled. More than 70% of the respondents had forward looking as the most important attribute they will like to see in their leader. For them, a leader should be able to know where he/she is going in directing the team towards overall organizational goals. People want to be led by leaders who are inspiring; effective leaders must therefore be seen to be full of life, energetic and enthusiastic about the future and that will translate to team enthusiasm and team performance.

An exemplary leader must be received by his followers as being competent; he must know his work and know what he is about. This boosts his followers’ confidence in him and therefore makes him more effective. (Souses & Poster, The Leadership Challenge 4th Edition, 2007) From the above literature review, it can be seen that, a leader’s behavior in most organizational settings and in this case in church organizations where leaders are very much looked up to is essential for their followers’ wellbeing, church organizational success and growth.

One author, Fry, defines spiritual leadership as “comprising the values, attitudes, and behaviors that are accessory to intrinsically motivate one’s self and others so that they have a sense of spiritual survival through calling and membership” (Fry, 2003). Page 8 of 15 V. A. Cobra – EMBED 1120037 Extensive research has been made on the subject of some Church/Spiritual Leaders and Sexual harassment or sexual relationships with some of their congregants. The following is a selection of the findings quoted directly from their SOUrces: Anne A.

Simpson in her article “Sexual Abuse by Spiritual Leaders Violates Trust, Devastates Lives, and Tears Communities Apart” cites several studies and provides statistics: “A nine-year-old survey of evangelical ministers conducted by the research department of Christianity Today magazine and published in the 1988 Leadership Journal found that:- 12% of clergy surveyed admitted to having sexual intercourse with someone other than a spouse -23% stated that they had been “sexually inappropriate” with someone other than their spouse. **** “A 1991 national survey of mainly Protestant pastors by a group at the Center for Ethics and Social Policy, Graduate Theological Union, in Berkeley, California uncovered similar findings: – About 10% of those surveyed had been sexually involved with a parishioner. ” “Another study published n the winter 1993 Journal of Pastoral Care found that: – 6. 1% of Southern Baptist pastor respondents admitted to having sexual contact with a person either currently or formerly affiliated with their church. – 70% of respondents said they knew of pastors who had had sexual contact with a congregant. **** “Reliable research over the past fifteen years concludes that about 10-12 percent of ministers have engaged in sexual intercourse with members of their congregation, and about 25-35 percent of clergymen have admitted to sexually inappropriate behavior with parishioners. ” (Christian Ethics Today) (Answers. Google. Com). CASES These are a selected few of real life personal experiences, and of narrations of colleagues and friends. All names used are fictitious to protect the identity of the victims; Page 9 of 15 V. A. Cobra EMBED 1 120037 Case 1: Mrs..

Rose Boating has just divorced her husband and followed her childhood friend now turned a Resident Pastor at a branch of a huge Ghanaian church in Geneva with its headquarters in Sacra, Ghana. Pastor Been encouraged her to divorce her husband when she expressed how unhappy she was in her marriage. Pastor Been is very dedicated and very knowledgeable of the things, ND word of God. He is a ‘high task’, ‘high people’ transformational leader and his congregation loves him. Pastor Been is married to a very beautiful woman with 3 children; he has everything going for him. Mrs..

Boating has however resigned her very good job in Ghana and gone to live in Switzerland, working as an Office Administrator of the church. Pastor Been has told her that he feels very unfulfilled in his marriage and now convinced he “senses strongly/’ in his spirit that he married the wrong woman and she (Rose) was the woman God chose for him. He said to Rose that just as the people of Israel (in the Bible) chose Saul to be their king he Pastor Been, chose his present wife whilst just as King David was God’s own choice for the people of Israel so has he chosen Rose for him.

They had a sexual relationship for a year and a half with Rose, (sometimes in the Church Offices), hanging on to Pastor Ben’s every word and doing his every bidding. Until one day she stumbled on a year old chat conversation that had been inadvertently left on an old laptop Pastor Been gave her to use in her church office duties; the conversation was between Pastor Been and another married female church member of the church’s headquarters in Ghana who had mom to Geneva at some point because Pastor Been arranged for her see medical doctors to help her conceive with her husband.

The chat conversations showed that they were romantically involved with each other and ‘very much in love’. Rose was devastated as whatever she’s ever believed and built her hopes on came crushing down! It dawned on her that she is just another victim of Pastor Been. She also realized that Pastor Been and his wife seemed to be very happily married and they were never going to get divorced. The painful realization that dawned on Rose was, she had been deceived… But she also realized that, it was o easy for her to have Page 10 of 15 V. A.

Cobra – EMBED 1120037 gotten deceived because she reverenced Pastor Been so much; he was a very respected leader who had great authority and seemed very disciplined and principled, so it never once occurred to her that Pastor Been could be lying; after all he was always fasting, always in a prayerful mood and preached a ‘powerful’ sermon each Sunday. Rose packed her bags and sorrowfully returned to Ghana. Her life was never the same again. Case 2: It was a bright and sunny day as Mrs.. Daniels walked gingerly up the flight of stairs to her office where she worked as n office receptionist to a group of Pastors.

Her Director and immediate boss, was a very renowned radio marriage counselor and pastor to a popular church in Sacra. As she got to her desk, she couldn’t help but think of the heated argument she and her husband had had before she left home. It was a wonder that her marriage was in such a terrible mess even though her boss, Reverend Teeth, a great marriage counselor had counseled both she and her husband several times. The office seemed unusually quiet this morning as she knocked softly on her boss’s door to pick up documents from his ‘out’ tray.

He was seated at his ask but rose up to greet her with a hug which was quite comforting considering how downhearted she felt that morning, but wait a minute, was she imagining it or did his arm brush her breast? Very soon she was beginning to notice equally disturbing advances; a lingering look, an unnecessary rubbing of her back, handshakes which lingered and so forth. Mrs.. Daniels was very disturbed; she had sleepless nights, wondering what could be happening; her boss was a Reverend Minister, married with children and a very popular and respected marriage counselor!

Mrs.. Daniels couldn’t bear it any longer and had to resign err job. Unfortunately she got separated from her husband very shortly after that. Well, Reverend Teeth, her ex-boss was privy to this as Mrs.. Daniels’ husband held him very much in confidence and confided in him with his marital issues, oblivious to the Reverend’s sexual advances to his wife – as such Reverend Teeth was the first to know Mrs. Daniels and her husband had separated. He started paying her visits with numerous gifts and food items.

Even though Mrs.. Daniels initially page 11 of 15 V. A. Cobra – EMBED 1120037 adamantly but respectfully refused his advances, Reverend Teeth was very entitle and kind to her and they began a sexual relationship which lasted until his wife got to know and it became a near huge scandal had it not been hushed by closely knit colleague church leaders. Reverend’s wife was very hostile to Mrs.. Daniels; she hurled insults at her (Mrs.. Daniels) loudly and publicly whenever she met her in church.

She sent insults and curses nonstop via text messages to Mrs.. Daniels’ phone; it was a harrowing experience for Mrs.. Daniels. This affair ended as abruptly as it started, and Mrs.. Daniels found herself alone again feeling very violated, harassed and depressed. Case 3 Miss Angela Coffee, rye old woman had just graduated from the University of Ghana with a first class degree in Sociology. She was part of the Campus Christian Ministry and a member of one of the very big churches in Ghana.

She was so excited because she had just received an offer letter to do her internship (National Service) at the church office. Angela was elated; there was no where she would like to offer her services more than the church office. She was thus very enthusiastic about her new role as the Communications and Public Relations Assistant. She reported to work each day with a renewed energy and gave of her best performance in the office. Mr.. Priori is also in the same office; the Audio and Video Production Manager, a young man, arrears of age. Angela respected and admired Mr..

Priori a lot because apart from the fact that he was one of her bosses, he was also “on fire for God” as they would usually say. Mr.. Priori was also the leader for the ‘First Timers and New Converts’ Ministry in the church and will therefore minister to, and pray for this group of people after most church services. When he laid hands on people to pray for them, they fell ‘under the power of the Holy Spirit’ Mr.. Priori was a very charismatic leader and therefore had a lot of the youth in hurt following him and hanging on to his every word and instruction.

Angela was in awe of him. Mr.. Priori however hardly spoke to Angela outside of official matters until one cloudy evening; he paid an unexpected visit to Angela in her parents’ home. Whilst they talked on the porch of Page 12 of 15 V. A. Cobra Angel’s home, the rain started to fall but instead of agreeing to go inside the house, Mr.. Priori insisted they leave the house in her (Angel’s) car so they can continue to talk whilst she dropped him at the nearest place to get a vehicle home. Right after they left Angel’s house, there was a down pour.

Mr.. Priori suddenly ordered Angela to stop the car on a quiet street, got into the back seat of the car, quietly ordered her to join him where he had sex with her. Angela felt as if she was in a trance; she just obediently did whatever Mr.. Priori wanted; dropped him off and went back home. She was never herself after that night. She felt that all the values she had ever been taught was non-existent. She went through the motions in the office; a shadow of her real self until she quietly resigned one day and never returned to the church. As for Mr..

Priori he did not ever mention that incident; as if it never happened. These cases narrated above are to mention just a few, and in all cases, the victims are led into a sexual contact or relationship because they trusted and respected their leader. This is therefore a breach of trust which will affect these women for the rest of their lives; when leaders do not behave ethically and morally they are ineffective and they destroy lives. Secondly, it is seen that these church leaders used their power position to have their way with the victims in these cases.

One might argue that the victims could have also played a part and as such these situations could have been based on mutual agreement. However, being a leader and as such in a position of power to your subordinate or follower, if the follower feels violated and harassed, then that is what it is. CONCLUSION After all that’s been said so far, for what the church, as an organization stands for, Church Leadership, essentially, must not compromise their integrity in sexual immorality, for the sake of their followers, the society and church communities, church organizational growth and success, and future generations.

Page 13 of 15 V. A. Cobra – EMBED 1120037 The impact of illicit affairs whether kept in secret or brought to light are ethical apses and scandalous, resulting in lost trust in church leaders of the very people they are purporting to lead and whose life they are supposed to be positively transforming. Whatever impact a leader has on their followers, be it positive or negative will cause a rippling effect to the core values of the society as a whole in both the long and the short run as relationships (friendships, family, work relations) are either positively or adversely affected.

It can be concluded from all that has been said and the cases looked at that, the kind of leadership behavior mostly transformational and charismatic) perceived in church leaders could be a major factor to the rampant nature in which church followers become victims of sexual harassment in church organizations; there is indeed more to this problem than the scope of this term paper can cover; this has just scratched the surface and more extensive research needs to be done to see where leaders could act or do things differently to ease this canker.

Being a church leader myself this had always been an area of grave concern to me and knowing what I know now from the Corporate Leadership course, I have been able to articulate n a meaningful and comprehensive manner; (making clear linkages between leadership behavior, attributes, and follower perceptions, effect on their (and organizations) performance and wellbeing), to my top management; that a leader fails to be effective and exemplary when their behavior undermines their integrity, is unethical and immoral.