Let’s face it; we live in an unusual time and generation. The majority of individuals I know have adopted a cynicism toward where our values and standards as a society are headed. Yet, as the Church and as believers, we have a tremendous opportunity to change the course of history and impact our world for good. It begins with strong leadership.
I have always been passionate about the importance of leadership personally and within organizations, businesses, churches and countries. Leadership not only determines how far we go, but also how fast we get there. It’s important for those in the Church to study the traits of great leaders so that we can develop successful leadership skills ourselves.
Jesus is one of the greatest leaders in the history of mankind. This carpenter came from a small town of no acclaim and partnered with 12 people to spread a movement that would ultimately shape the rest of the world. Thousands of people followed His teaching when He was alive, and even after His death over 2,000 years ago; Christianity is still spreading across the globe.
Jesus was a remarkable leader during His time on earth and can teach us a thing or two about being a leader of significance. Here are seven things to keep in mind as you tackle the week ahead:
Love people. Actually love them.
Jesus loved people of all ethnic and economic backgrounds. Seeing people’s lives improve and transform for the better fueled Jesus in everything He did. As leaders, if we want to be significant, our mission on earth must be fueled by our desire to see people thrive.
Our mission, whether it is in business, churches, organizations or personal projects, must in some way be ignited by our love for people. True significant leaders want to see other people flourish in their gifts, confidence, talents and personal growth.
Keep a servant heart.
Jesus understood that His leadership position wasn’t a place of superiority but a place of servanthood. His focus was always on serving the needs of His disciples and followers. He never had an attitude of entitlement but always operated in humility serving those around Him. Jesus was never an “untouchable” leader. He was always in the midst of those He served.
As leaders, we must realize that we are servants. Having an attitude of humility and serving those around us isn’t optional. It is vital that we realize that leadership does not place us higher than others, but lower than others because we are called to serve them. John Maxwell states: “In order to go up, we must give up.” Leaders must realize the higher in leadership or accountability we are, the more rights we lose to ourselves because our job is to serve the needs of those around us.
Build a solid team.
Jesus understood that He couldn’t do anything without a team of people around Him. So, He recruited 12 disciples who partnered with Him spreading Christianity. As leaders, we must realize the value of having a team of people around us to challenge us, mold us and partner with us. We were not meant to live alone or work alone. If we ever want to accomplish anything significant, it’s going to take a combination of minds and efforts to bring vision to life. Without a solid team of people we can rely and depend on, our best attempts at building something meaningful will be fruitless.
Empower others to use their gifts.
In the same respect, Jesus understood that as leaders, we cannot do it all or be everywhere at once. He empowered people around Him to go out and fulfill His mission. As leaders, we must realize that our mission will never be accomplished to our fullest potential until we learn to empower those around us.
We must realize that empowering those around us to operate in their personal strengths, to fulfill the ultimate mission, will give us the greatest impact and long-term success. Without speaking to or building the strengths of those around us, we are missing out on seeing them take hold of their purpose.
Meet the needs of others.
Jesus understood that true leaders meet the needs of those around them. He knew that meeting the needs of the people around Him was vital to His leadership success. In Scripture, we find story after story pointing to Jesus’ ability to meet the needs of those around Him.
As leaders, we must understand the power of perceiving and meeting the needs of the people around us. It is our job to meet the needs of those around us whether they are our family, friends, team, followers, customers or even mentors. The saying is true: “People don’t care how much we know until they know how much we care.” We must understand that as leaders we will never reach people or gain influence until we meet their needs.
Jesus was intentional about how His time was spent. He knew the power of balancing time alone and with others. Jesus knew the importance of spending time alone to regroup and recharge. He was aware of how important it was to schedule time to rest and unwind. Jesus also knew when it was time to be around others to grow, fellowship and serve. He was never reactive with His time; He was always intentional with it, whether it was spent alone or with others.
As leaders, we must learn to be intentional with our time. It is vital that we recognize the importance of our time and be intentional to balance it between others and ourselves. If we fail to balance and take time to recharge, we will burn out and become ineffective as leaders. When we are intentional about our time we become proactive in our lives.
Jesus was forgiving.
Jesus understood the power of forgiveness. Nowhere is that more evidently seen than when Jesus meets with Peter privately after His resurrection and Peter’s denial of Him to others as He was on the Cross. Jesus shows Peter grace, forgiveness and His great love despite Peter’s mistakes. He realized that forgiveness is an attitude and at the end of the day everyone makes mistakes.
Jesus knew that being quick to forgive allowed Him to live a happier life and be closer with those around Him. He understood that people are human and gave them grace. Jesus was always quick to forgive His followers.
As leaders, we must understand the power of forgiveness. We must have an attitude of understanding toward others. People are human and make mistakes. We all do. It is our job as leaders to have an attitude of forgiveness and a quickness to offer grace toward others.