Over the last few days, we've been talking about a biblical philosophy of business. Today, let's talk about learning to lead like Jesus.
If you are a business leader, you want to learn and grow so that you can become the very best you can be. There is a plethora of business gurus (e.g. Bill Gates, Jack Welch, and Peter Drucker) and materials available to help today. Simply walk into your local bookshop and look in the business/management section. There are dozens of experts sharing their latest ideas (e.g. TQM, 360 degrees, and Balanced Scorecard) on how to see your business break through to new heights of productivity and success.
We can glean much wisdom and common sense from the corporate and business world for building organisations. We can also learn from other Christians in business, especially from those who are more experienced than ourselves. However, I believe that our ultimate business model and leadership example is Jesus Christ.
Isn’t it funny that we often look to everyone BUT the greatest leader who has ever lived – Jesus Christ! Sure he didn’t have an office, a mobile phone, a web site, or a business card, but his enterprise, the church, has had unparalleled success. From humble beginnings, it embarked on a 2000-year history of growth and expansion. That’s what I call “built to last”! It has a strong international presence and yet is as local as the neighbourhood street corner. Its capital resources are beyond measure and its membership beyond counting. And what a membership! Many have given their lives to show their loyalty. Yes, Jesus was a carpenter. Yes, he was a preacher. But his life and his works also just happen to offer some of the most insightful business advice a manager could ever find.
We’re all looking for relevant and competent role models for effective leadership. Jesus is the greatest management-entrepreneur ever. He is the perfect practitioner and teacher of effective leadership. He had the right heart, the right methods, and the right behaviour. He was more than a good man and a great teacher. He is the most relevant leadership model and teacher for our daily lives that there is.
I can hear you thinking, “What does Jesus know about my business?” (e.g. computers, marketing, graphics, property, wholesale, retail, accounting, etc). That’s just what a man named Simon Peter thought! In Luke 5, we have the story of Jesus giving him some advice for his fishing business. Jesus said, “Put out into deep water and let down your nets for a catch.” Imagine what Peter was thinking right then. “Look Jesus, you seem to be a great teacher, but now you’re talking about MY area of expertise. Fishing is my business. What you’re asking us to do isn’t practical. Besides, it’s going to be a lot of hard work and we’ll probably have to pay overtime!” Anyway, Peter says, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But, because you say so, I will let down the nets.” He quickly learned that Jesus knew a lot about fishing too! What a catch – a net breaking, boat-sinking, record-setting catch (see Luke 5:1-11)!
Jesus knows your business too and he can help you. He is the best leadership model that there is. All of us need to learn to ‘lead like Jesus’.
Business management expect Ken Blanchard (author of the best selling book The One Minute Manager) is a committed Christian who is now focusing his life on helping people learn to Lead Like Jesus (this is the title of his latest book and he also has a web site dedicated to this task.
The world is in desperate need of a different leadership role model. We live in a world where the pursuit of money, recognition, and power dominate the leadership landscape. Leadership has become all about self-promotion (pride) and self-protection (fear) in an “It’s all about me” world. The good news is that there is a better way. Jesus is the one leadership model you can trust. He can teach you how to lead in a way that honours God and restores health and effectiveness to organisations and relationships.
Jesus calls us to "servant leadership". It’s not an option for Christ-followers. It’s a mandate. Ken Blanchard describes "leading like Jesus" as a process of transformation that requires the alignment of four leadership domains: the heart, the head, the hands and the habits.
The first two are internal domains – the motivations of your heart and the leadership perspective of your head– that are things you keep inside of you. The external domains – your public leadership behaviour, or hands, and your habits as experienced by others – will determine whether people will follow you. When these four domains are aligned, extraordinary levels of loyalty, trust and productivity will result.
Learning to lead like Jesus … think about it.
God is interested in your business. It is sacred, not secular. There are four purposes of your business – to glorify God, to serve people, to provide opportunity for meaningful contribution and to generate wealth. Learn to lead like Jesus – with your heart, your head, your hands and your habits. Make this your life pursuit!