The final phase of the Bible’s leadership story took place during the life of Jesus. Up to that time leadership tended to have three major flaws. It was self-serving with leaders placing their interests ahead of those they were leading. It was unbalanced underemphasizing directional and moral leadership in favor of visible leadership. It was unsustainable, unsuccessfully managing leadership transitions. Jesus modeled a powerful alternative approach to leadership that responded to each of these weaknesses. In his example there are antidotes for the three flaws of conventional leadership.
Antidote #1: Be a Servant
When Jesus’ disciples were quarreling over leadership roles, he told them that they were going to take a fresh approach to leadership. Their leadership was not to be characterized by ruling over other people. Instead they were to serve them. Referring to himself Jesus said, “The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve.” Conventional wisdom would say this approach is too weak to be effective, but through serving Jesus became the most influential leader in the history of the world.
Antidote #2: Be a Visible, Directional, and Moral Leader
Jesus went to great lengths to be accessible to people constantly moving from place to place in order to meet them. He was a visible. He also consistently pursued his mission, and provided direction to those he was leading. Through his teaching, Jesus offered strong moral leadership establishing a solid set of values for his followers. This balanced approach to leadership resulted in growing influence, meaningful results, and multiplied leaders.
Antidote #3: Be a People Developer
Jesus invested heavily in his followers teaching them, setting expectations for them, empowering them, and honestly evaluating them. He spent significant time, energy, and effort in preparing them to be effective leaders. When Jesus told them it was time to lead, they were ready. As a result, Jesus’ leadership legacy is still going strong nearly 2,000 years after he turned it over to his followers.