Leadership is more than just being on top of the ladder; it is sacrifice. Jesus Christ is one great leader who gave us timeless lessons of sacrificial leadership. Jesus is one great leader, who from the few 12 disciples, changed the world. But, what made Jesus unique and outstanding? In this article, I glean into lessons that I have built from an acronym of the word sacrifice.
Jesus said, if anyone among you is to become great he must serve (Matthew 20: 26). A leadership position is not for the leader to harvest from the advantages he has, but to add value to humanity and society. However, what we see in the world generally is that most leaders want to be served. Personal gravitas and gratification becomes the center stage and the leader becomes someone to be feared because they own “the power” to control.
Great leaders are responsible for the people they lead, their organizations, the church, and the future. The future is as good as the quality of the leaders we have today. Accountable leaders walk in the principles of God’s word.
Jesus was moved but the pains of people and the bible said “He wept” (John 11: 35). In one instance Jesus is heard saying; let the Children come to me (Matthew 19: 14), which showed that he cared for the powerless. John C. Maxwell once said, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” Give people your heart before you ask them for their hand.
Hard times are part of leadership. At times the very thing you want to do will be questioned not only by your enemies but the ones close to you. The seasons can be so harsh, but it is the leader that must encourage others, despite being in pain. It is said the true strength of a great leader is proved when there is a storm. It is in hard times when great leaders emerge.
Influence goes beyond endearing as a leader but making a positive difference. Influence is not about control. True influence is seen when people want to buy into your vision in order to live a life that is bigger than them. The word influence is interlinked with the word influenza. Influenza is viral, in the sense that it is infectious. So is influence from a positive point of view, affect people that they want to become part of your dream.
Focus means sticking to the vision or commission. Additionally, it means, staying on the vision despite the pain. Jesus knew that he was to face the cross, and he kept focused on that mission of seeking and saving the lost. Someone could have said, but why would I need to face such a tempestuous and torturous time? Jesus endured every pain that a human being could imagine. Leaders go through changes in life, but they need to remain focused.
Albert Einstein once said, "Imagination is everything. It is the preview to life's coming attraction." The role of a leader is to think, visualize and imagine a better future. He might not know exactly the results of his thoughts but through faith, he pushes on. Hebrews 11: 1 (Amplified) says, “Now faith is the assurance (title deed, confirmation) of things hoped for (divinely guaranteed), and the evidence of things not seen [the conviction of their reality—faith comprehends as fact what cannot be experienced by the physical senses]. A leader that is imaginatively ignited and who has fervent faith spurs followers to do more.
A leader must lead by example. He must be capable, agile, effective, efficient, and skilled in leadership. His capacity and wisdom come from God and an internal hunger to learn more. In this generation, technology has taught us that things change fast and that requires a leader with learning agility. Arie de Gues in his book, The Living Company said, “Your ability to learn faster than your competition is your only sustainable competitive advantage.”
Great leaders flee from being engorging to being engaging. Leaders usually have easy access, and that can make them lose meekness to being mean. They lose humility to become haughty. Position at times makes them lose touch with people. Great leaders know how to work with people. They know how to pick the best human capital that will help them excel. That can only happen when the leader is in touch with people.
Parting point: Jesus Christ was indubitably a great leader. He sacrificed more to save humanity. As we celebrate Easter, rethink your leadership skill and pray that God gives you the strength and sagacity to lead his people.
Jonah Nyoni is an author and speaker.