March 21 was the start of the Afghanistan New Year and was also when we started the Institute for Leadership Development classes. Each year the number of applications increase, which gives us a bigger pool from which we can select the best and most open minded men and women in Afghanistan to train in Servant Leadership. One of the key parts of leadership development is for each student to tell his or her story. It is fairly rare that an Afghan professional be given the chance to safely tell their story publically. We train these men and women more effecively when we know their backgrounds, families, dreams, pain and suffering. As we get to know them personally, we help them to see that there is a reason for their lives, a purpose that is uniquely connected to who they are.
These stories make an impact on our instructors too. Our classes are lead mainly by American professionals who come for 1-3 weeks at a time, to teach one of the 27 modules. When they hear these stories, their hearts are never the same. Here are just a couple snippets that show these stories are often laced with brokenness and desperation:
Healing comes first from understanding pain.
Leadership development is much more than telling a set of principles from a book. It is about mentoring, eating together, and living life with these men and women who are hungry for truth and change.