What makes a leader? Power? Authority? Status? What characteristics make up a perfect leader? These are one of the hardest questions to have a clear answer as all people have different perspective and standard in the picture of a leader. The best answer only comes from the Words of God which is the Bible. It is only Jesus’ leadership which is true, honest and righteous. Jesus describes a leader like this: “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you.
Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave—just as the Son of Man did not come to be saved, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:25-28, NIV). Jesus’ life was pure, honest and humble. The reason He came down to earth giving up His throne was to save the people from their sins. He gave so many teachings and showed miracles to many people so that they could believe Him and follow His name. He respected others as well as little children and helped people become saved.
The relationship of Jesus’ ways and the ways of the skills of normal leader are somewhat similar and different. There are some leaders who are sincere and faithful to his or her people but there are also leaders who are infamous and criticized because of poor leadership skills. The standard of having great leadership is different from Jesus and the world. First to explain the leadership skills of worldly leaders, there are some qualities of being a good leader. They are empathy, consistency, honesty, communication, flexibility, ability to delegate, confidence, commitment, positive attitude and lastly creativity.
With these leadership skills, there would be no problem in running a company or leading a union, making lot of followers as well. The skills above show the best way to get along well with the followers. However, the most of the leaders find difficult having all these leadership skills as human by nature become Jesus, as a leader of the 12 disciples and thousands of people who followed him to hear his Words, he showed great skills of leadership and this is shown in the Bible, precisely in the Books of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.
Some of his distinct actions that showed his teaching were the washing of the disciples’ feet. It is shown in John chapter 13 verses 1 to 20. Although he was in a position of a leader, he humbled himself and showed first to the disciples of how to serve. There are some leaders in the world who followed God’s way to be a leader. One example is Apostle Paul; I would say was a man in history who was very similar to Jesus’ leadership skills. He is one of the important characters who met Jesus personally and completely changed his life according to Jesus’ ways.
Apostle Paul was a leader of many churches. He led his people quite differently from the leaders of the normal world today. Apostle Paul, not only served the members of the church by writing letters and spreading the gospel but also he put his leadership into action. He was suffered and persecuted by many gentiles and he tried to tell the truth just as he taught his people to always be faithful in God. Also his important aspect of being a leader like Jesus was praying for his people.
Jesus prayed for his disciples and even in his crucifixion, He prayed to God to forgive all the people in the world (Luke 23:34, NIV). In the books of the Bible which Apostle Paul wrote, he greets in the letter by saying that he is praying for all the members of the church (Philippians 1:3~5, NIV). Another leader in the past whom many people admired and respected was Abraham Lincoln who was the President of America. He was a Christian who prayed for his people. He was not self centered but listened to others’ thoughts and opinions.
He saw his country in many viewpoints so understood the people in different classes. He was always aware of his weaknesses and asked God to help and guide in whatever problems or situations he was in. He did not forget to share the happiness and grievances of any events that occurred in America. This showed that he was not just acting as a leader but involving all his citizens and letting them participate in his concerns. These are the examples of deal leaders who followed Jesus’ way.
Although there were amazing leaders in the past that everyone admired, there were also leaders in the past who were infamous and blamed. Their leadership skills brought pain and suffering to many people. Kim Jung Il, North Korea’s president is one example that shows how he misused the leadership skills and made the North Koreans suffer with poverty. His worst leadership skill is having absolute authority. This totally goes against the characteristics of Jesus’ leadership.
Jesus taught in his life to serve others first as a leader and be humble. This can also be seen in the Bible, it says “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up” (Jacob 4:10, NIV) “And the most proud shall stumble and fall, and none shall raise him up: and I will kindle a fire in his cities, and it shall devour all round about him” (Jeremiah 50:32, NIV). President Kim’s haughtiness of having all the authority eventually led the North Koreans suffer and die and also made the country be one of the worst countries in the world.
He ruled the country all in his way and order; he received all the goods coming from the foreign countries which tried to help the poor North Koreans; he had serious nuclear obsession and used all the money in inventing new war weapons. He commanded all the North Koreans to worship and bow down before him only and no one else. Kim Jung Il had no leadership skills of serving others, having good communication, and he tried to ignore the conditions of his people. In conclusion, although leading like Jesus can seem the hardest way, it is the real true way to be a leader.
There are many aspects in worldly leadership skills which are important and helpful, however I believe that is not the ultimate skill to be a good leader. Just as Jesus showed us through His life of how to live like God’s children as a role of leader, we have to try hard to act in that way so that we could be a true leader who helps the follower go in a correct direction. Jesus’ main emphasis was being a humble leader, serving others first before being served. I believe this is correct that leaders should be examples first before just demanding the followers to do it.