Sunday, February 20, 2011

5 Practices of Exemplary Leadership: An Example

I was very intrigued when I saw Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership by Chris L. Atkinson. As a young leader, I am always looking to internalize concepts that can help me develop a as person and administrator. The reason it caught my eyes is because I instantly recognized these practices in the greatest Leader:

1. Model the way – Jesus modeled the life we should live. The best example of this is the words of those who admittedly were against him (of course his friends/followers would say he was perfect). Pontius Pilate, the man who sentenced him to death, admitted he couldn’t find anything against Jesus (John 19:4-6). In fact, Pilate’s wife even told him the man was innocent (Matthew 27:19). One of Jesus’ executioners admitted his perfection after all was done (Luke 23:47). Even Judas, the man who betrayed Jesus, tried to undo what he did because he felt guilty for accusing an innocent Jesus (Matthew 27:4). The foundation of the Christian faith rests on the example of perfection set by Jesus.

2. Inspire a shared vision – Jesus did a good deal of teaching through parables. These parables were heard not only by his followers, but by the general public and even those who opposed him. The parables can be found in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, with a majority in the Gospel of Luke. The purpose of the parables was to provide analogies of the coming Kingdom through the means of nature and other colloquial situations. Many of Jesus’ parables are well known even outside of the Christian church (i.e. The Good Samaritan, Prodigal Son, etc.) Parables made up about one-third of all of Jesus’ teachings.

3. Challenge the process – It would be an understatement to say that Jesus challenge the status quo of religion (particularly Judaism). Using words like “hypocrites”, “brood of vipers”, “blind”, and others, he stood strong against individuals and groups who were self-serving and missing the point. Jesus reminded everyone that life is not about a set of rules to follow; it is about relationships (hmm…sound like education at all?). In fact, he summed up everything in two commands: Love God and Love others. This was radical compared to the laws, rules, and expectations in his day.

4. Enable others to act – While Jesus taught many thousands sometimes, his main focus was on 12 men. He spent 3 years preparing these men to become the leaders of the movement that would truly change the world. More than anything else, for those who believe in Him, the Spirit of God actually lives in us and guides and directs us. Is there a better piece of empowerment than God himself living in you?

5. Encourage the heart – Unfortunately the Gospel of Christ is often seen is discouraging and condemning. But to those who experience God, his presence is the greatest encouragement you could have. One of Jesus’ final words was words of comfort as he sent his disciples out to do their job. He concluded The Great Commission (Matthew 28:16-20) with, “I am with you…” That is what they needed to hear. Of course, he proved that later when tongues of fire dropped down on his disciples and they started speaking languages they never before knew how to speak.

I find it encouraging to study and to emulate the methods and practices of Jesus as a leader. Not that doing so gets me into heaven, but he lived to set an example. I might as well follow it…

Photo by meandmybadself [CC-BY-SA-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

No comments:

Post a Comment