One definition for leadership is the art of influence, moving a person, team or organization toward the fullness of its identity, purpose, vision and mission. I was recently asked to list for a secular organization what I consider the top three attributes for leadership. Of course, I began thinking about Jesus and the way in which the attributes of His leadership were manifest. How did Jesus influence others toward fullness of their purpose, vision and mission? The more I thought about it, the more I realized how the leadership principles of Jesus are so vital and practical to any and every situation. Adopted and applied, the wisdom from above that is Christ is wisdom that is faithful and true.
Here is where I landed in observing the distinctive ways that Jesus led, voiced in ways accessible to those without respect or familiarity with a “church-y” way of stating these things:
Humility is the quiet confidence to be fully oneself, without string to prove anything. Good leaders are self-aware and understand that conceit and selfish ambition keep themselves and the teams they lead small in identity, fulfillment and function. Humility dictates that the honor of others goes before the honor of self, and the leader’s greatest successes are when those they lead achieve beyond their presupposed potential.
Courage is the strength of heart and mind to move toward that which is a cause of fear or intimidation. Good leaders are not fearless, they just do not let fear control their emotional state or dictate their choices. As well, leaders will stoke within themselves not only courage to overcome their own obstacles, but they will develop a reservoir of courage upon which those they lead can borrow courage when they need it.
Stemming from the concept of integrated or integral, healthy leaders are not compartmentalized or confused about their identity, therefore they do not need to compromise their character. The same person a leader is at work is who they should be at home, church, school, the gym, the playground, etc. Strong leaders know their core values and their own identity, purpose, vision and mission, living in wholeness from a foundation of clarity around those things.