Follow the leader

I’m putting together something on good leadership for our Rock Solid group of teenagers. Here are my images and and a few thoughts:

Funny: Great leaders know how to use humor to energise followers. Humour is a form of power that provides some control over our circumstances. We see things differently! Loosely and lightly. Simply put, great humour fosters great teams.

We often don’t think of Jesus as being funny. Sure he was! What else is the joy of the Lord!

Assertive: Being assertive is not the same as being aggressive. Great leaders can clearly state what is expected in their team so that there will be no misunderstandings. Along with assertiveness comes the responsibility to clearly understand what followers expect from their leader. Getting the right amount of assertiveness is a key to great leadership.

Jesus was very clear with people when he needed to be. Especially in times of conflict and tension with Pharisees and the Romans. His directions to the disciples were explicit. This is my command…. This is how you do it.

Fairness: Dealing with others consistently and justly make great leadership. A leader needs to check all the facts and hear everyone out before passing judgment. He or she avoids leaping to conclusions based on incomplete evidence. When people feel they that are being treated fairly, they respond with loyalty and dedication.

I love the way Jesus deals with people. Especially those who would be outcast or despised. He hears their story. Points out the hypocrisy of the others. Turns the matter on its head. And starts people off afresh.

Creativity: Great leaders think differently, they get outside of the box. Great leaders see things that others have not seen and lead teams in new directions. The most important question that a leader can ask is, “What if … ?”

The Kingdom of God is thinking outside the box on a cosmic scale. Jesus wasn’t a freedom fighter for 1st century nationalistic Jews. He was a freedom fighter for all creation. His “what if” is “what if the whole of the universe can be transformed”

Openness: Great leaders listen to new ideas, even if they do not conform to the usual way of thinking. They suspend judgment while listening to others’ ideas, as well as accept new ways of doing things that someone else thought of. Openness builds mutual respect and trust between leaders and their team.

Jesus modeled a new way of living for the disciples. He showed them his heart and life. And they learned from his openness.

Humility: Great leaders are humble. They know they are no better or worse than other members of the team. A humble leader tries to elevate everyone and knows that their status does not make them any more special that anyone else.

Washing feet. Say no more.

Integrity: Great leaders have consistency between their outward actions and inner values. They are the same on the outside and on the inside. A good leader can be trusted because he or she never veers from their inner values, even when it might be expeditious to do so. Others trust a great leader.

Jesus was totally consistent. Inconsistency is a sin. What he said is what he did. “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” is what he taught and did.

Big-hearted: Great leaders give credit where it is due. They ensures that credit for successes is spread as widely as possible throughout the team. And a good leader takes personal responsibility for failures. To spread the fame and take the blame is a hallmark of effective leadership.

I like the way that Jesus affirms the disciples when they come back from their mission trips. He did a pretty good job of spreading the fame of God and taking our blame too.

Engaged: Great leaders give whatever time or energy is necessary to accomplish the task at hand. They inspire dedication by example, doing whatever it takes to complete the next step toward the vision. By setting an excellent example, leaders can show the team that they can all achieve something great.

I cannot think of anything which the disciples did that Jesus hadn’t done! Except for baptising people. That’s not bad!

Visionary: Great leaders know where they are going. They have a clear, vivid picture of where to go, as well as a firm grasp on what success looks like and how to achieve it. But it’s not enough to have a vision; leaders must also share it and act upon it. “Good leaders create a vision, articulate the vision, passionately own the vision and relentlessly drive it to completion.”

A great leader can communicate his or her vision in ways that means others commit to it too. He or she can communicate clearly and passionately. Passion is contagious.

A good leader has the discipline to work toward his or her vision single-mindedly, as well as to direct his or her actions and those of the team toward the goal. They are passionate about the the vision and inspire others to be the same.

Jesus, as if often remarked, asked questions and told stories. And the stories inspired people to see the world differently. But he wasn’t just a wise sage. He turned
his face to Jerusalem and with determination walked to his death.

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