By. Jhon B Arokiasamy
Jesus was a revolutionary and disruptive leader well ahead of times both in his thinking and action. It was Jesus if there was anyone who has captured the imagination of millions of people all over the world creating one of the world’s most sustained organisations, the church in the history of mankind.
When a horizontal leader arrives the vertical ones literally jitter and try their best to stop him from emerging. That was exactly what happened in case of Jesus too. He was perceived by the political leaders of his time as a threat though he had neither a throne nor kingdom. Not just by Herod or Pilot the powerful leaders who had dominion over everything so much to cast for life of Jesus himself enjoying highest level vertical supremacy, Jesus was perceived a bigger threat to the so called doctrinal self proclaimed expert religious leaders whom he addressed as hypocrites / ‘white washed tombs’.
Jesus was an epitome of Servant Leadership. The most powerful disruptive tool that was ever used which he did as the most successful horizontal leader naturally born ever. Even as an ordinary leader, Jesus personified the very leadership. He directed thinking, guided people, aimed them toward truth, and showed the way to love, forgiveness, and eternal life. The best place even to start in defining leadership is with Jesus. In Jesus what I understand as the definition of leadership is that a Leader is:
1. A person
2. Involved in a process
3. Of influencing and developing a group of people
4. In order to accomplish a purpose
5. By means of ‘supernatural’ power
I could certainly see a fitting life example of Jesus at work in the above leadership definition or a framework. Yes, Leadership always begins with a person and ends with a purpose. A leader is a person with a magnet in his heart and a compass in his head – you should be able to influence and inspire to guide and develop.
Many of us have the skills to lead, but when called on to marshal these abilities in a leadership setting, we may or may not respond affirmatively to the call. I believe leadership is Man’s readiness to God’s call to influence and inspire to guide and develop. It’s as much about the skills to lead, so much more equally the gut required in responding to God’s call to lead. It’s an individual person’s gut. So, A Person.
Next, a leader is involved in a process of influence and inspiration, growth and development. This is why Leadership is distinct from management. We may manage things or people, but you only lead people. Leading people is a process accomplished over a stretch of time, through the seasons of life, in the good times and the hard times. In many respects, the process takes a lifetime. There are very few ‘finished products’ in the work of leadership. It proceeds along a journey of development with many turns, ruts, detours, and climbs along the way.
Third, there is no leadership without a ‘group of people’ to influence and develop, and the size of the group is immaterial. Effective leadership occurs when those influenced and inspired feel loved, admired, appreciated, and accepted by the leader. When these relational dynamics are absent from the group, the leader and the leadership process suffer. Leadership is a gift that’s earned over time, granted out of trustworthy acclaim by the people being served. Unless the leader takes time to invest in the people, there will be no true leadership.
Fourth, there is always a purpose for leadership. The purpose can be stated or implied. For example, when we try to lead our children to a value or faith or an aim, the purpose may unfold according to the needs, objectives and seasons of their lives. When we lead an office team or a social group, then we must also clearly state the purpose from the outset. Understanding and un-packaging the purposes of a group require astute insight that stems from research, mission definition, goals, plans, implementation, monitoring, and evaluating our effectiveness .In addition to group purposes, we also forge out individual purposes that are defined by relationship and need.
Fifth, leadership process is ‘supernaturally’ empowered. We cannot perform our leadership responsibilities in our own strength, power, or wisdom. This is where I strongly believe that Jesus way is humanly perfect with supernatural power. The ability to forgive your foe. The ability to serve as a leader while you can control, command and direct. Leadership by inspiring and influencing service and not by controlling, commanding or directing. This is not possible without a supernatural empowerment or power. That means, as followers we know how to follow the Leader and rely fully on his power to guide and direct our every step. And equally take on similar responsibility to do the same as a leader oneself.
Jesus was an extraordinary horizontal leader not by any mere dogmatic thinking or disruptive spiritual wisdom but by a distinctive disruptive action oriented approach called ‘Servant Leadership’. Servant leadership that Jesus practised for us to do so or being a ‘horizontal leader’ like Jesus is impossible without a life in full submission to the love and lordship of God. This would be the greatest leadership lesson from Jesus as a leader to Lead Like Jesus during the season of Christmas that can bring joy to the millions across the world.