Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Leadership Lessons From Jesus - Part 4

Team Building
A mark of a great leader is how many people will join his or her team. You never lead by yourself. You always do it in the context of a team. All great leaders are great team builders. In fact, as Rick Warren says, “If you don’t have a team, you’re not a leader. You’re a loner.” The test of leadership is whether anyone is following you. In other words, if no one is following you, you’re not leading, you’re merely taking a walk.

Jesus modeled this kind of ministry. From a large group of disciples who were following Jesus, Jesus chose twelve who would become His inner circle. This was such a significant decision for Him that he stayed up all night praying. The next morning He called together all those who were following Him and chose from that group the twelve disciples. Jesus never did ministry alone. Mark 3:14 says, “He appointed twelve – designating them apostles – that they might be with him and that he might send them out to preach.”

Jesus enlisted other people to serve the cause with him. In Luke 10:1 we read “After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them on ahead of him, two by two, into every town and place where he himself was about to go.”

In his book The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership John Maxwell says “A leader’s potential is determined by those closest to him” Leaders understand that their best course of action for achieving their vision and reaching their destination is to build a team to take the journey with them. In a Team Everyone Achieves More.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Leadership Lessons From Jesus - Part 3

Motivation: Know who you’re trying to please.  

Leaders, you need to settle the issue of motivation.  You can’t please everybody.  Just about the time you get one person happy, you’ll tick someone else off.   Jesus lived for an audience of One.  His whole purpose was to please his heavenly Father.  Jesus says this in John 5 and 6; “I do not seek My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me” (John 5:30). “I have come down from heaven, not to do My will, but the will of Him who sent Me” (John 6:38).  In other words, Jesus said, “The only one I am trying to please is the One who sent Me.” 

Jesus wasn’t trying to win a popularity contest; he just wanted to please God. 

That’s a lesson we have to learn as leaders. You’ve got to learn not to care about the opinions of others. You’ve got to focus on God’s opinion of what you’re doing.  As a leader you should not pay attention to those who cheer you, for they will make you think you are better than you really are, or those who jeer you, for they will make you think you are not as good as you really are.  Either one will sidetrack you. 

A mentor of mine told me one time, “Don’t try to please every one, for the moment you do, you will please no one.”  Who are you trying to please?  Because I am a man of faith, I believe the first person we should try to please is God.  We were created to bring glory to Him.  I think secondly, we ought to try to please ourselves, not in a hedonistic way, but in a self-respecting way.  At the end of the day, do I respect myself?  Have I stood for and lived out the values that I hold true?  Have I held fast to the vision that I believe God has given me, though some are questioning?   

At the end of the day I am most satisfied when I can honestly say, “Today, I held fast to my faith, to my values, and to my vision.”

Monday, November 7, 2011

Leadership Lessons From Jesus #2

I’m continuing this series on leadership lessons from the greatest leader of all time, Jesus.  Jesus was the perfect leader.

Know Your Purpose. 

    I have found that the reason most people don’t have passion in life is because they don’t have purpose.  Purpose gives passion.  Leaders figure out what their purpose in life is.  They know why they are here.  They understand clearly what God has called them to do with their lives.  Leaders have, as Rick Warren states it, “purpose-driven lives.”  The direction of your life is your choice.  If you don’t like the direction your life is headed right now, change it.  

    Jesus knew exactly what His purpose on this earth was.  He knew why He came.  He was a straightforward leader who established clear-cut goals.  In John 8 Jesus says, “I know where I came from and I know where I’m going.” Jesus had a clear purpose.  Jesus made statements such as:  

“Let’s go on to the neighboring villages so that I may preach there too. This is why I have come.” 
“I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” 
“I have come down from heaven, not to do My will, but the will of Him who sent Me.” 
“I have come so that they may have life and have it in abundance.”
“I have come as a light into the world, so that everyone who believes in Me would not remain in    darkness.

    Jesus not only knew who he was, but what he was trying to do with his life.  He so effectively instilled His purpose into His followers that His purpose continues today through His followers.  He truly was a purpose-driven leader.   

    God has a purpose for your life.  Purpose gives meaning to your life.  Purpose gives passion.  If you don’t fulfill it, you have wasted your life.  A leader knows for what purpose he/she is here and pursues it with passion.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Leadership Lessons From Jesus

There are no perfect leaders.  I’m not a perfect leader. Neither are you.  But Jesus is.  There’s no better teacher on leadership than Jesus.  What made him such an effective leader?  Jesus understood leadership.  He taught leadership and He demonstrated leadership.

Jesus lived less than forty years on this earth.  He began a movement with a small inner-circle of twelve.  The leadership lessons Jesus lived and taught to His disciples enabled them to carry on His mission so that within just five generations, the number of His followers reached into the millions.  Today, His followers number more than one billion and the organization He founded – the church – has branches in every country on earth.

The leadership principles Jesus lived and taught are applicable in any area of life today, whether in an office, a school, a small business, a global corporation, or a volunteer organization.  In the next several articles I want to examine those leadership principles that made Jesus so incredibly effective.

Know Yourself
To be a leader you’ve got to know who you are.  Every leader has strengths and weaknesses and they know the areas of leadership in which they are strong and which areas of leadership they are not. Leaders do an honest self-evaluation. Good leaders don’t try to be something they are not. They are self-aware.  They understand their purpose in life.  Jesus had no doubt about his identity. He said:
  • I am the light of the world.
  • I am the Son of God.
  • I am the way.
  • I am the truth.
  • I am the life.
  • I am the bread of life.
Jesus defines himself 18 times by saying, “I am…” He didn’t let other people define him. He defined himself. If you’re going to be a leader, you must know who you are.  Answer the following questions:

Do you “know yourself”? *
1.   What are my character strengths?
2.   What are my character weaknesses?
3.   What are my strongest skills?
4.   What are my weakest skills?
5.   How well do I relate to others (1 to 10)?
6.   How well do I communicate with others (1 to 10)?
7.   How well do I listen to others (1 to 10)?
8.   How likable am I (1 to 10)?

Now ask three people who know you well to answer the same questions about you.  If their answers are different from yours, then you have a self-awareness issue that you need to work on.  Find a mentor, business or life coach, or counselor to help you become more self-aware.

*Adapted from The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership by John Maxwell