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