by Lacey Meyerhoff, Senior Strategic Partnership Specialist, Colorado Christian University
Whether we work in the world of business, non-profit, ministry, government, or at home, God calls us each to “live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way” (Colossians 1:10). So, we must lead well and set a Godly example to others “that they may see our good deeds and glorify our father in Heaven” (Matthew 5:16).
How, then can we lead well and magnify Jesus in our work, in our homes, and our communities? Let us examine the 7 qualities that define a virtuous leader—one who leads like Jesus, striving to live with high ethical and moral standards, seeking to serve others and point them to the cross.
Jesus modeled humility by coming to earth, taking on human flesh, and fulfilling the will of God by going to the cross for our sins. He was sinless. He was all-knowing and all-powerful. Yet, he did not exert his authority as God’s only begotten son over others.
Similarly, great leaders are intelligent, powerful, and charismatic but they are also humble. They do not let ego or pride hinder their ability to learn from others or admit shortcomings. They do not use position or authority to control or coerce others, but rather they use their influence to inspire and move others to action.
Jesus showed the world the caring and compassionate nature of God through his miracles and the way he would see the lonely and forgotten people of the world. He saw Zaccheus and called to him by name, insisting that he would dine with him. He saw the Samaritan woman at the well and invited her into conversation. This would be shocking to many, but it mattered to Jesus that they knew they mattered to him.
Leaders are shepherds that greatly care for their flock. They invest in relationships by demonstrating that they genuinely care about the individuals in their organizations and their well-being. A great leader takes time to ask questions that go beyond work tasks. They show compassion and concern when they notice an employee or co-worker in need and show that they matter to them.
Followers respect leaders that will share the truth in love and ultimately help them to grow. They hold their teams accountable to do the best work possible. When possible, they provide transparency about the future of the organization.
Leaders work for a purpose greater than themselves and create a compelling vision for the future and are driven to achieve the goals set before them. They build team unity around this purpose and energize their team members to achieve more than they thought possible. Their drive and motivation is an inspiration to those under them.
Great leaders help others around them to perform better by providing ongoing coaching and development opportunities. They look for opportunities to teach and guide others by giving regular feedback and opportunities for growth. This requires that they observe others and collaborate with them to find ways to improve.
People honor those that honor and respect them. Leaders show honor to their team members through regular acts of service. They do not abuse authority and do not consider themselves as greater than their team members. Instead, they are quick to advocate on behalf of the needs of the team and to find ways to serve others.
A faithful leader knows that they are under the authority of Christ and that they are ultimately working for His glory. They lead their team in praying for direction for the organization, for the needs of their team members, and the constituents for whom they work. They are guided by God in pursuing their mission.
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