No matter what your religious/spiritual affiliation might be, you’ll have to agree: The historical Jesus of Nazareth was one of the greatest leaders the world has ever known. His legacy persists through the Christian religion, stronger than ever 2,000 years after its beginning, and with two billion followers all across the globe.
Needless to say, the average modern man can learn an enduring leadership principle or two (or eight) from the greatest leader who ever lived. Here are some of the most important ways to lead like Jesus did, and perhaps create your own legacy of greatness that will last long after you’re gone.
#1: Be Steadfast in Your Values. Jesus’s values were rooted in timeless truths, and he did not compromise on them just to please the crowd or make himself look good… even in the face of death. Likewise, your leadership should be founded on rock-solid principles that you will never budge on.
#2: Be Inspirational. The root word of “inspiration” is “spirit.” Jesus inspired crowds with his vision: God’s kingdom on Earth, where there would be no hunger, nakedness, injustice, or despair. What’s YOUR vision? Is it powerful enough to captivate others, or is its power evident only to you?
#3: Be Compassionate. While Jesus was intolerant of flawed, fleeting ideas, he was tolerant of people and their shortcomings. He loved the poor, sick, and sinful, but he loved them in a way that made them RISE from their poverty, sickness, and sin… not to STAY in them.
Wow. We need to learn that lesson over and over again.
#4: Be a Servant. Jesus led by putting others first – his audiences, followers, and confidants—and his own self, second. A truly effective leader knows that the needs of his customers, staff, and partners always come first—it’s never about him.
#5: Lead Yourself First. Jesus never failed to do what he needed to do – even when it came to dying on the cross and setting the ultimate example of love and leadership. Likewise, if we want to become effective leaders of other people, we’ll need to become the leader of ourselves first and stop being slaves to emotions, money, public opinion, and other distractions.
#6: Listen to Good Advice. As great as Jesus was, he didn’t do everything alone. He kept a close “inner circle”—his three favorite apostles Peter, James, and John—with whom he confided. (He also had his Heavenly Father—and so do you.)
Want to be a good leader? Don’t go it alone—cultivate relationships with a handful of trusted confidants to stay sane, focused, and driven.
#7: Train Your Leaders Well. Even Jesus had a team. He trained the apostles to basically become copies of himself and then sent them to spread his teachings throughout the world. We all know how their efforts were blessed with massive success.
Again, don’t go it alone. To truly leave a lasting mark on the world, train others to be a “second you,” and let them spread your vision to the world, one well-planned milestone at a time.
#8: Give Instructions Clearly. Jesus gave his 70+ disciples clear instructions – to go by pairs, to sleep only where they were offered shelter, and to spread his message. If he were in any way vague about his instructions – as so many modern leaders are prone to be – they wouldn’t have laid the foundations for an organization that would feed millions, shelter orphans, promote education, and more for the next 2,000 years.
Here’s the thing, though: You’d think that with such a great leader like Jesus Christ, two billion Christians today would be great leaders themselves. Sadly, it can be said that most Christians actually aren’t great leaders… simply because they’re too caught up with the religious aspects of Christianity, and end up forgetting to follow the example of love, service, and forgiveness that Jesus set.
I personally feel that way sometimes. Many days I see myself as more like a “follower of Christ” than I am a “Christian.” And I believe most other Christians see themselves the other way around, whether they know it or not—and that’s a sad thing.
Hopefully, that’s going to change in the future, as more generations of leaders discover the simple truth that leading by example is much more important than following rules and rituals. If enough leaders figure it out soon enough, we’d help billions of people.
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