I completely agree with Ken Blanchard, author of Lead Like Jesus, that the greatest leader in all of history is Jesus. My faith convictions about him being the Son of God and Savior of the world aside, his organization should have died long ago if judged only in business terms and yet, it’s thriving two thousand years after several major world empires have fallen.
I also believe some people echo Jesus’ leadership style without even realizing it. Any talk of servant leadership certainly traces back to the influence of Jesus on our modern era.
One of the facets of Jesus’ leadership that sets him in his own class is his absolute purity of motives for leading. While some leaders become quite wealthy leading (and there isn’t anything inherently wrong with that), Jesus seemed to have no care whatsoever for acquiring personal possessions. I do believe he wanted some things, but his wants were different from the desires of many other leaders.
Let me offer desires that good leaders seem to have:
1. Good leaders want to change the world for good.
It isn’t that good leaders only lead and manage organizations with good causes, it’s that good leaders see their leadership as significantly affecting the world around them in good ways. In general, good leaders seek to contribute something to human flourishing.
2. Good leaders want more influence.
Some leaders won’t admit it, partly because our culture tends to push back against people who desire achievement, but most of the great leaders I know see leadership as both a privilege and a responsibility. That is, leaders should lead people.
Therefore, we want more influence so that we can lead more people and change more of the world for good than we are currently leading. Don’t apologize for this. It’s okay to desire more influence.
3 Good leaders want a healthy organizational culture.
Culture is a force that trumps vision and strategy combined. It’s incredibly powerful. And good leaders understand that their primary area of responsibility is culture creation. This explains why so many leaders strive to be more emotionally intelligent and aware of their own personal growth.
Effective leaders have an understanding that they are a lid for the people they lead. Stagnant leaders never lead stagnant teams.
4. Good leaders want the best for the people they lead.
The Grace Hills Church staff talks about this often. One of our core values is that we “refuse to use people” and we try to help people discover their gifts, passion, and personality and serve accordingly so that they thrive.
People need to do more than survive. And I believe they even need more than “success.” People need to make a significant difference in their world, so a leader’s heart is to equip, empower, and release people to do significant things.
The greatest leaders I know have always seen leadership as relational rather than transactional. Rather than separating the personal from the professional, great leaders are willing to care for the people they lead and to be interested in their good and their growth.