Leadership is a tricky thing. Sometimes it seems like there's no set way to lead people and everyone has ideas about what works and doesn't. But if we look at the life of Jesus, we see that He had a unique approach to leadership that was incredibly effective. He didn't try to control or manipulate people; instead, He showed them love and compassion, and they followed Him willingly.
One of the best ways to develop your leadership skills is to learn from others. As Pastors and ministry leaders, there is no one we should learn more from than Jesus. While there are many excellent books and articles on leadership, it's worth studying them to see what works and doesn't. You can also attend seminars or workshops on leadership or find a mentor who can help you grow as a leader. As you do, make sure you constantly compare what you are learning or seeing to Jesus.
Leadership Skills To Lead More Like Jesus:
1. Be humble and gentle.
We must look to Jesus to learn and begin with humility and gentleness. It can be difficult to lead people with humility and gentleness, especially when we are trying to get things done or when we feel like we are under pressure. But Jesus always showed humility and gentleness, even in opposition. He never lost His temper or became defensive; instead, He always responded with love. He only reacted harshly to the religious leaders adding to God's laws, making it hard for people to obey God. Never with His followers or the lost.
When you are leading people, remember always to stay humble and gentle. Don't try to control or manipulate people; instead, let them know that you care about them and want the best for them. Be willing to listen to their ideas and suggestions, and be patient with them. People who respond with love and compassion will be celebrated as great leaders.
2. Always put others before yourself.
One of the essential principles of leadership is to always put others before yourself. Jesus was a perfect example of this principle; He always put others first, even to the point of sacrificing His own life. He never acted out of self-interest or tried to benefit Himself at the expense of others.
When you're a leader, it's important to remember that your primary goal should be to help others succeed. Therefore, you should always be willing to help others, even if it means making sacrifices. Never try to take credit for the work that others have done; instead, give them the recognition they deserve. And be willing to share the burden with others; don't try to do everything yourself. When you put others first, they will be more likely to follow your lead.
3. Lead with love and compassion.
Jesus always led with love and compassion, even when people were difficult or challenging to deal with. This type of leadership creates an environment of trust and respect; people are more likely to follow your lead when they feel you care about them. I love the John Maxwell quote: "People don't care how much you know until they first know how much you care." How true. Jesus' leadership and influence always came from His heart of love and compassion.
If you want to lead more like Jesus, start focusing on your heart. Make sure you act from a place of love and compassion, even when things are tough. And remember that it's never too late to change; if you've fallen short in the past, don't be afraid to ask for forgiveness and start fresh.
4. Practice leadership daily.
Another essential part of developing your leadership skills is practicing them. You need to be willing to take risks and try new things. Sometimes you'll fail, but that's okay; it's all part of the learning process. You also need to be willing to listen to others and learn from their experiences.
Whether you're new to a particular leadership position or you've been thinking about a way to get to the place you really want, being a good leader is essential. Everybody can think of at least one "natural" leader in the office, but how do you become a leader if you're not born with those skills?
5. Be yourself.
When trying to become an excellent leader, you must first be who God created you to be. Avoid looking like someone who is overbearing or ridiculously ambitious. So, how do you find the balance between the two? Take some time to consider the tips below to help you become a great leader in ministry without looking like a fool.
Get to Know Everyone
No matter who they are or what they do, whether they're related to your projects, make it a point to get to know everyone you come in contact with. This means connecting with your team on a more personal level.
Take them to lunch or, better yet, have them into your home for a casual get-together. Jesus hung out with His team a lot.
Stop and talk to people; show a genuine interest in their work. Remember that your staff and volunteers don't just work for you; you are working side by side with them in the mission of Jesus.
Ask others about themselves – let them do most of the talking. As leaders, it is easy to make the mistake of thinking we do most of the talking. Great leaders are great listeners.
Even if they're not people who can help you directly, getting to know those who are a part of your ministry in any way will teach you a lot about what is happening. You can start making connections between the different individuals you come in contact with, and this can lead to wondrous things later when you need to put together a team.
6. Know When to Turn Down Work
Leaders are often considered the go-to guy or the go-to gal, so you might think a leader needs to accept every proposed project. In reality, this isn't true. If you look over a project and determine you can't handle it well, you will be in a much better place by not accepting it.
Show respect by helping them find a capable person to complete the project if you cannot do so. Jesus didn't take on everything Himself; He led others to do the work of the ministry.
As a leader, never avoid a project because it is too much work. Instead, always cite specific reasons you are choosing not to do it. This shows that you can take ownership of your schedule. Plus, it proves that you only want to provide top-quality results to others, not just rush jobs.
A simple "no" can be a great way to get others to take notice, especially if you're otherwise very agreeable.
Here are a few positive ways to turn down a project or assignment.
"I'd love to help, but I'm just swamped. I'd be able to do it next week, or perhaps I can help you find someone else who can get it done for you. I don't want to do a crummy job to get it done on time for you."
"Thanks for thinking of me! I want to help out, but I have a lot on my plate this week. What about we set up a quick meeting to discuss the task and see if I can help you get on the right track, that way, you can get it done on time?"
If you are a lead Pastor, you may need to put this into practice with your board, Elders to Deacons. So many times, those meetings can lead to the pastor having more work to do. This is a great time to show them and get them involved in the ideas and ministries they want to see happen.
7. Work as hard as anyone else.
One of the outstanding traits of good leaders is their willingness to work as hard as any of their team or staff. If your team is working long hours, work with them. Lead by example and show them you're willing to work and not just sit back and receive the credit. Jesus always leads the way.
By showing your team this kind of respect, you'll find they'll respect you in return.
8. Offer solutions and listen for solutions.
While you should strive to tackle problems before they happen, from time to time, this isn't possible. So when things are problematic, ensure you step in with a solution you're willing to work on to improve the situation. Also, be ready to listen to potential solutions to problems that others on your team may have. As a leader, you do not always have to be the solution initiator. However, you do have to be the one to make the final decision as to what solution you and your team will pursue.
Being remembered as someone who came forward with a solution and is willing to listen to the potential solutions others offer will go a long way to earning respect as a leader.
You can become a great leader in your ministry; it just takes a little time and effort, but it'll be worth it! The call of ministry comes with the call of leadership. While God gives us the gifting and ca, we are responsible for developing and growing our leadership skills. Our focus and greatest study is and should always be Jesus.