A Journey into Leadership

Author: Gary Sloan


I have held positions of responsibility from an early age. Joining the Cub Scouts aged 6 I became a “Sixer” responsible for six people in the “Pack”, followed by the Scouts where I became a “Patrol Leader” responsible for several people in the “Troop”. As a second year apprentice aged 17 I was given two apprentices to train. By 21 I was a Foreman and 23 a Site Manager responsible for people in multiple construction sites. During this time I also volunteered as a youth leader at the YMCA, before joining Operation Mobilisation aged 28.
During my first year with OM I was asked to lead our evangelism teams in Romania and Bulgaria with the Soviet Union added the following year, giving oversight to a team throughout the year and several hundred people during the summer. I moved to St. Petersburg to lead our full-time multi-cultural teams in Russia and The Ukraine. I moved to the UK becoming Head of Personnel for British people in OM followed by accepting the post as UK Office leader and in 2004 UK Director responsible for all our teams and partnerships in the UK.
I realise not all of these positions are leadership in nature; some were managerial with overlapping characteristics but different core outcomes. ‘Management seeks to avoid chaos by pursuing order and stability; leadership, however, seeks adaptive and constructive change’ (Knes, 2007). My first questions of reflection are; why have I continually found myself in positions of responsibility for people? Was I born a leader?

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