As leaders in business and disciples of Jesus, the fact that people will measure the authenticity of our faith by the exchanges they have with us should not be lost on us. So it begs the question, what are the fundamental attributes or characteristics that every Christian leader should possess or aim to possess in order to provide the best possible witness to those we have the opportunity to influence? This list isn’t exhaustive, but it provides a strong foundation for the kind of character that leaders should be aiming at.
Jesus described himself as a servant and demonstrated that in his leadership style. He led his followers by living and working among those he led and showed understanding for the concerns of his people. The mere fact that Jesus came and dwelt among us is a profound statement of God’s unwillingness to remain detached from the challenges and even suffering of his people. The image of Jesus washing the feet of his disciples is worthy of reflection as we consider what a servant leader looks like.
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Arrogance is a sickness at the heart of most dysfunctional behaviour. Christianity rightfully classifies pride as a sin. Some say it is the root of all sin. Pride is essentially competitive in nature and as long as you are competing with your neighbor, you will forget to love him/her as yourself as Jesus commanded. By contrast humility is a virtue we are all called to possess. It frees us from narcissism and allows us to focus on others instead of being blinded by self-interest.
Forgive as you are forgiven. It’s a principle that is central to our own hope of salvation. If Jesus is your model for leadership and forgiveness is at the core of his teachings as well as his response to each of us, then it should be likewise for those we expect to lead.
Leadership is filled with challenges. Anyone who wants to step up to that plate and take on the burdens of leadership will need a lot of grace to succeed. This is where prayer comes in. Prayer is key to maintaining your intimacy with God and to receiving the grace he offers us to be more like him and less like the worst versions of ourselves.
When people know you’re a Christian, they will tend to size you up. So make your life, your behaviour, and your calling a testimony to God’s grace and goodness. If you’re a terrible leader, it won’t just reflect poorly on you. It will reflect poorly on your faith. It’s like those people who have a Jesus fish on the back of their cars but drive like complete imbeciles. All people see when they get cut off or held up is that Jesus fish staring at them through their windshield - not exactly a positive association. Be excellent at what you do and inspire people to wonder what it is that makes your life work so well (*cough GRACE *cough).