Jesus’ leadership characteristics versus the leadership characteristics of Christian leaders today.  

Times magazine (Dec. 06, 1999), designated Jesus Christ as the “man of all millenniums.” I’m sure certain Christians we shocked too! Among the contestants (not that Jesus has any rivals) were Mohammed,  Mohandas Gandhi, Freud, Hitler, Ho Chi Minh, Lenin, Mao Tse-tung, etc… Time’s polls, attempted to judge the acts and works of leaders who acquired great power and changed the lives of millions. The polls also attempted to judge the acts in which “men render unto Caesar”, not expressions of faith.

Judging from a secular criterion, the humble Galilean, Jesus Christ of Nazareth, “won” their title, hands down! “It would require much exotic calculation, however, to deny that the single most powerful figure–not merely in these two millenniums but in all human history—has been Jesus of Nazareth,” said the editor Reynolds Price. What exactly is it about Jesus that makes Him the greatest leader of human history?

The Leadership Characteristics of Jesus 

Though not a complete list, Dr Bert Watson examines seven leadership characteristics that were evident in the life and ministry of Jesus (Watson, 2019). Though impossible for any of us too perfectly emulate the leadership style of Jesus, some of His traits are not only possible but essential for emerging Christian leaders (2019).

1) Consecration—Jesus never acted independently (John 5:19-20; 6:38). In the kingdom, leadership starts follow-ship. We follow God first and the authority that God sets over us (Hebrew 13:17-25). My experience as a pastor has shown me that very few children of God are willing the pay the price of consecrating their lives, desires, decisions motives to serve God.  The law of consecration shows us, To Lead, You Must Follow!

2) Connection—Jesus lead out of relationship (John 17:3-4, Mark 1:35-39, Luke 6: 12-13).

In the kingdom, relationships trump profit. One of the most striking attributes of Jesus’ leadership was that He never placed connection (with His Father) over crowds (Watson, Bert. 2019).  Even during the busy and fruitful periods of His ministry, Jesus still maintained a vibrant prayer life. It was during these moments of intimate fellowship that He received, fresh direction and wisdom for both life and ministry. Unfortunately, many leaders today forsake this intimacy for productivity or even worse busyness!  The evidence of usually manifests through fatigue, burnouts, depression and other kinds of moral sin, such as sexual perversion and divorce.  The law of connection shows us, To Lead, You Must Be Connected to God!

3) Character—Jesus demonstrated character through service (Matthew 18:1–5; Mark 9:33–37; Luke 9:46–54).

In the kingdom, the way up is down. The lowest ranking person in the Greco Roman world was a child. Yet Jesus said, whoever receives (welcome, consider) one child like this in My name receives Me; and whoever receives Me does not receive Me, but Him who sent Me.” He was speaking this in the context of “greatness.” Unfortunately, in today’s church leadership,  we use the least (poor) only to window-dress our real hearts motives. This is evident in the fact that we “welcome” only those who can advance our agenda. The law of character shows us, To Lead, You Must Welcome the Least To Sit On Our Laps!

4) Compassionate—Jesus leads with compassion (Matthew 9:35–38, Mark 1: 40–42, John 8:3–11).

In the kingdom, leaders touch lepers, leaders don’t quarantine them. This is so because it is all about people and things. Love, care, compassion are traits synonymous to Jesus, more than any other leader in human history. In contrast to the judgemental, legalistic and militant styled of leadership that is so prevalent within the church, Jesus’ leadership was marked with great compassion.  The law of compassion shows us, To Lead, You Must Touch Hearts With Compassion.

5) CompetenceJesus was skilled (John 5:17–20, Proverbs 22:29, John 7:14–18). 

In the kingdom, leaders become competent by sharping their skills continuously.  Without training, we cannot become efficient. Jesus trained as He observed His Father (John 5:17-20). He never emulated himself, nor did he rely on his own wisdom or abilities. He was not only a competent communicator before the crowds but a skilled trainer within his inner circle. Modern-day church leaders can learn how to engage transformational leadership by conversing, modelling, equipping, delegating, and empowering. Our bible school curriculum and often our preaching caters mainly for equipping people for the five-fold ministry when a larger part of the church is called into other sectors of society. Thus, they remain ill-equipped to effectively lead in secular spheres like the Joseph’s or Esther’s of our times.  The law of competence shows us, To Lead, You Must Touch Hearts With Compassion.

6) Clarity of PurposeJesus had eagle vision (John 6:38, 17:4, Luke 19:10).

In the kingdom, leaders cannot lead by having a high definition visual of what and where? The elements of vision and clarity are indispensable! Jesus was clear about His Father’s directives, to the point of dying for it. Jesus came with an agenda that extended beyond redeeming man but redeeming the earth. It is not likely that one hears a leader empowering others not only for eternal life but how to live effectively as God’s stewards on earth. The law of clarity shows us, To Lead, You Must Have A Holistic Vision to Develop People.

7) CredibilityJesus had a magnetic pull (Matthew 4:18–22,  Luke 5:1–11).

 In the kingdom, leaders cannot full God’s agenda without credibility. There is no question that one does not need to be credible to have a crowd but to have the impact that Jesus had, it requires credibility! How can leaders build credibility? Based on Dr Watson’s analysis, church leadership must focus on relationship authenticity,  purity, consistency, inspiring hope,  loving people, teaching with authority, modelling kingdom culture, leaning on God’s power, pursuing excellence, empowering leaders, operating in truth and doing the impossible! The law of credibility shows us, To Lead, You Must Have Fruit.

 

Transformational Strategies and ministry focus of Jesus and Paul.

Unless one understands that leadership is not about breath but depth, not much distinction can be traced between authentic Christ-centred leadership and worldly styled leadership. The modern-day church is obsessed with reaching the masses, “the lost at any cost” is a phrase that I think needs urgent reevaluation. At what cost are we actually referring to? Sure, there is nothing wrong with larger auditoriums, TV and social media ministry with the aim of expanding a leader’s influence (Hyatt, 2010). But when the prevalent “hyper styled evangelistic” or “materialistic centred-gospel” leadership is measured back to the leadership canonicity of Jesus, Paul and Peter, is breath all there is to leadership? Is “success” all there is to leadership?

Michael Hyatt and Dr Bert Watson, outlines some transformative leadership fundamentals between Jesus and Paul that we can contrast to the leadership in the church.

Leadership starts with self.

Self-leadership precedes team leadership and public influence (Hyatt, 2010). Jesus displayed a vibrant personal prayer life with His Father. Him defeating temptation in the wilderness when no one was there watching is a sign of the quality of character.  Paul was head-bent around his calling. He managed His life and ministry accordingly. The Pauline writings are distinguished by Christology and Pneumatology. Revealing the depth of Paul’s fellowship with Christ and the Spirit through the Word. It was from this place, Paul led, and set the example for others to emulate.

Today, many leaders have little concept of self-leadership, that is rooted in a deep experiential relationship with Christ and the Spirit. They can’t even arrive on time for a meeting. Their “disciples” are more head-bent around them and their church branding than Jesus and His Kingdom.

Leadership is relationship.

Jesus and Paul both practised what I refer to as the 1, 3, 12, 60 principles. They occasionally spoke to the crowds (60) but their focus was on smaller groups, including individuals (12, 3, 1). Teaching and reaching many, discipline and training a few approaches (Watson, 2019) was an essential key to transformative leadership. The lasting impact that each of their disciples had, long after Jesus and Paul were no longer present, is evident in the effectiveness of this strategy.  Personally, this has strategy has given me great hope and determination to not only continue to. concentrate on smaller key leaders but to adopt the “4H” holistic method of development (Watson, 2019).

 

Why Peter’s Leadership touches me? 

I think am a lot like Peter and a lot not like him. I have no formal education, but like Peter, I’m blessed with natural leadership abilities.  The story that always struck me a Peter was when he walked on water.

Most of my life and ministry,  metaphorically, has been a series of walking on water, purely based on what I’ve heard Jesus say to me. Having been a first-generation Christian, from Roman Catholic, I can also identify with Peter, who was the first in his family to follow Christ from Judaism. Usually, the first generation pays the dearest price for laying the foundation for the next to follow.

Still, the love for the Lord, and His will,  word and people that I see in the life of Peter is the spiritual fuel that keeps my engine running.

 

Work Cited

  1. Price, Reynolds. 1999. “Jesus at 2000.” Time Magazines, Dec 1999

    http://content.time.com/time/subscriber/article/0,33009,992745,00.html

  2. Hyatt, Michael. 2010 (24 March). “The Leadership Strategy of Jesus.” Michael Hyatt. http://michaelhyatt.com/the-leadership-strategy-of-jesus.html
  3. Watson, Bert. 2019. PRA1124 Biblical Leadership Study Guide (ver. 4.3). Johannesburg: South African Theological Seminary.

My wife in the kitchen coordinating her other priorities strikes me as leadership. President Volodymyr Zelensky driving his courageous historical stance against the nationalistic tyranny of Putinism (Washington Times, 2007) struck the globe as leadership!

Characteristics that strike as most important for ministry  

Doubtless, there are more interpretations and characteristics of leadership than there are shades of grey. Matt Barney’s definition, “Leadership is the behaviour that brings the future to the present, by envisioning the possible and persuading others to help you make it a reality” – now this strikes me! (Newman, 2007). As a pretext, may I include a concise observation as a precedent, to why Barney’s definition intrigues me?

In the modern church, sure enough, the rapid numerical growth has by far superseded her spiritual maturity. David Cousins (2008), stated that “many church leaders today do not focus on the equipping of all church members for service but focus on those who can help them in building their own ministry agendas.” Massive auditoriums, larger following snapping up everywhere… but how does this “growth” measure up against indexes of societal transformation? Here are a few social indexes by which the Church has limited the Great Commission in, the political and economic transformation indicators, the remedy for the polarization between denominations, the healing from the corrosion of the family structure, the reversal of the doctrinal illiteracy of the Church, the building of an apologetical defence against the infiltration of postmodernism within our ranks, the growth of spiritual immaturity and worldliness that exist in the church, etc. It is possible to have some of the largest churches in a city, yet still, have the least transformed city? I think an honest introspective analysis is required. The Covid-19 pandemic has revealed the Church’s strength and relevance. The President deemed the Church as a “nonessential,” shouldn’t all this beg the question: what is the church missing? We observe the lessons from the European Church. Large empty cathedrals, together with the practical non-existence of Christianity in Europe, strongly should suggest that the Gospel mission is not locked in building beautiful edifices. Exegetically, the Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization (2010) highlights that the keys to effective evangelism and nation impact is not in numbers, but in “growing people” or developing Christ-centered leadership both within the clergy and laymen. I believe urgent dialogue is required, pointing out “growing people” means what exactly, “equipping the saints for the work of the ministry” means what exactly?

On a personal level, as a visionary leader of a local church, with a heart for apostolic transformation, Barney’s definition intrigues me the most. His definition highlights the leadership of the “tension” that exists between what the leader “sees” (future) and the reality of what is happening (present) and the tension to align the people and resources to God’s agenda, to accommodate the needed transformation, to facilitate greater kingdom impact.

What kind of leadership is evident in most churches and ministry today? 

The late American political-historian and leadership expert, James MacGregor Burns, outstandingly contrasted the theory of leadership across the ages, from ancient times to modern-day context. Burns stated on leadership, saying, “Leadership is one of the most observed and least understood phenomena on earth” (Barns 2012, 2). Burns, speaking from a secular perspective, mentioned that there is a reservoir of data and analysis and theories that have developed but there is no central leadership concept that has emerged (Barns 2012, 3). Willis Newman’s definition (2007) noted, “The uniqueness of Christian leadership is that the entire process happens within the will, plan, priorities and purpose of Almighty God as revealed in the Bible and is grounded and operates under the lordship of Jesus Christ.” In observing the biblical interpretation of the theory of leadership clearly, the Christian perspective is clear!

As one clarifies and defines Newman’s definition, as a consideration on how the church could align herself more to the biblical mandate, one could include the following observations;

First, biblical leaders do not seek to further their own purposes. Nor do they seek to move people toward the fulfilment of their own vision. By contrast, how of what we observe in the vision of the modern church, is the Great Commission and how much is just growing your “customer base”? How much of the strategy is to reach the world and produce organic growth through the power of the Spirit, compared to just merely recruiting Christians from other denominations in the name of revival or church growth?

Second, biblical leaders are submitted to the lordship of Jesus Christ and seek to glorify God in all that they do. By contrast, has the rise of the gusty modern Church culture, who seems totally fine with soaking up the spotlight and getting the lion’s share of the glory, while leaving Jesus as only a runner-up, miss the plot?

Third, biblical leaders embrace God-given goals as described in scripture and seek to be led and empowered by the Holy Spirit. By contrast, how much of the Acts 1:8-Holy Spirit-lead-ability has been replaced with entertainment and theatrics as a means to cure the unregenerate nature of man, as opposed to “preaching the word” and relying on the Spirit’s power to save, heal and set people free, both within the wall and without? Consider the scriptural mandate to feed both “my sheep and lamb”, to preach both “the meat and the milk of the Word” as a goal to confront and challenge, intending to mature God’s people. Yet, when the Word is watered down, often to prevent offence and accommodate church growth and appease an anti-Christian culture. Has the modern church moved away from its biblical goals?

Fourth, biblical leaders respect the wisdom of heavenly strategies and methods and also recognise the importance of context and culture. On the contrary, the respect for the Word and Spirit-empowered ministry has been lost, as mentioned in the previous point. How often does one hear the pulpit address cultural and racial nepotism within its ranks, including other external issues such as LGBT, abortion, political corruption, religious pluralism, etc…? Perhaps the church is culturally irrelevant? This is clear in the massive exodus of our young people from Christianity to atheism.

 

Biblical verses secular leaders

The difference between biblical and secular leadership is poles apart. One is driven by kingdom ambition, the other by selfish ambition. Yet, it seems that most people, Christians alike, don’t seem to understand the differences.

Bill Lawrence’s grid specifies six traits that distinguish spiritual and secular leadership.

One, Lawrence outlines the most fundamental trait of leadership MOTIVATION. Why do you want to be a leader? Lawrence’s point out a stumbling block for the Christian who adopts a secular motive for leading. Represented by terms such as self-promotion, striving for first place and so forth (Mark 10:35-45). The problem with this approach, there is already a Number One! Jesus Christ has already taken First place (Philippians 2:9). Today, many leaders define their prominence by how many followers they have under them. I often wonder how many of them would surrender their “busy schedules” to reach out and serve the least among them? Jesus often dislodged from the company of the great, such as Zaccheus, to serve Lazarus, who was the least, without great publicity.

Two, Lawrence states that spiritual leadership differs from secular leadership in PURPOSE! It is not merely sufficient to define a leader as “someone who knows where he’s going and can get others to follow him.” Even the Devil knows where he is going! Biblical leadership is distinguished in its purpose, and here’s why it requires the leader to know where the Lord is going and relentlessly works to get others to follow him as he follows the Lord (1987).

Howard G. Hendricks, helps us to understand that such a leader knows what to do because the Bible tells him so and can do it because the Holy Spirit enables him to do so (1982).

Three, Lawrence helps us to undertand another variant between spiritual and secular leadership, PERSPECTIVE. Or perspective on people. Titles and positions are not a privilege but sacrifice. At least Jesus concludes leadership as a sacrifice (Mark 9:35). In today’s Church, it is difficult to find a leader who is willing to make an investment in anything without it first advancing his agenda. I wonder what Mother Teresa would say about this?

Four, biblical leaders are PRACTITIONERS. They practice both the office and work of the ministry through servanthood. When I think of a worldly practitioner, such a doctor. Even though he serves the people, he does it at a fee. A biblical practitioner is not driven by any earthly incentive. He is a servant of the Lord. This means sacrificial service marks his leadership, under the same authority as the Lord Jesus Christ. The concept of servant leadership may gain more traction in the world, but it is first a biblical concept.

Five, biblical leaders are driven by SIGNIFICANCE. Although Newman uses the word success, I feel more comfortable with the word significance. Almost anyone can be successful, but not everyone attains significance. Success affects your life, but significantly affects the lives of others. Success is all about you. Significance is about others. You cannot live a life of significance without serving or helping others. Secular leadership is obsessed with success. Spiritual leaders are obsessed with serving others.

Six, biblical leaders are driven by two the R’s. Recognition of heaven and by rewards both natural and eternal. Secular leadership loves the honour of man and is content only with earthly rewards. Paul says we do it for a crown that perishes not!

 

Work Cited

  1. Bennett, David W., ed. 2004. “A Call to Develop Christ-like Leaders.” Lausanne Occasional Paper, no. 41. Lausanne Committee for World.
  2. Cousins D, 2008, Experiencing Leadershift, Colorado Springs USA, David C. Cook Publishers.
  3. Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization, 2010. “
  4. James Macgregor Burns, 2003. Transformational Leadership. USA: Library of Congress in Cataloging in. Publication Data.
  5. Howard G Hendricks, Private conversation with Howard G Hendrick.
  6. Washington times, 2007. “Putanism” The Washington times, 20 September 2007. https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2007/sep/20/putinism/ (L

Throughout history, during some of the most vicious wars, a “ceasefire” was observed on this day, Christmas? One such example was one of the history most powerful yet forgotten Christmas stories. Nearing the Christmas of 1914, in the fifth month of World War I, which had claimed hundreds of thousands of killed, wounded, and missing, but sometimes the greatest beauty emerges from deep tragedy. The Christmas Truce was one of histories most beautiful moments, made all the more beautiful in light of the carnage that followed it.

The Christmas Truce

It began on Christmas Eve, when many German and British troops fighting in World War I sang Christmas carols to each other across the bloody line of death. It is said that when the German soldiers lit and placed candles on their trenches and on small Christmas trees, the British, French, Belgian, and German troops continued the celebration by singing Christmas carols to each other, and at certain points, the Allied soldiers even heard brass bands joining the Germans in their joyous singing. Extraordinary, but not as extraordinary as what followed next. 

At the first light of dawn on Christmas Day, some German soldiers emerged from their trenched and approached the Allied lines across “no-man’s-land”, calling out “Merry Christmas” in their enemies’ native tongues. At first, the Allied soldiers feared it was a trick, but seeing the Germans unarmed, they climbed out of their trenches and shook hands with the enemy soldiers. The men exchanged presents of cigarettes and plum puddings and sang carols and songs. There was even a documented case of soldiers from opposing sides playing a soccer game. 

They were naively hoping that the war would be short-lived; the truce lasted through Christmas night, continuing until New Year’s Day. Until angry superiors ordered them to recommence the shooting, many men aimed harmlessly high overhead. This reminds me of Charles Yale Harrison who authored an anti-war novella from first-hand experience as a young soldier who fought in World War I. In his book, Generals Die in Bed, Harrison helps us realise that war is a game of strategy fought between generals, and soldiers are the ones who suffer. 

The Christmas Spirit of Peace

Man has argued about the ethics of war for generations. For instance, the “Just War Theory” is a tradition going back to St. Augustine in the 5th Century and St. Thomas in the 13th Century. In stark contrast to the Old Testament, the New Testament –the Christian ideal is total elimination of war and brotherly love among all people. The Christmas spirit hinges on this spirit, the spirit of peace and not war that prevailed over those soldiers of World War I.  

To quote British soldier, Murdoch M. Wood, speaking in 1930: “I then came to the conclusion that I have held very firmly ever since, that if we had been left to ourselves there would never have been another shot fired.”

During World War One, the soldiers didn’t expect to celebrate on the battlefield, but not even a world war could destroy the Christmas spirit.

MERRY CHRISTMAS! 

Fundamentally, most people in leadership fail to enjoy the fruit of what effective leadership can produce. The reason for this is pretty simple. Andy Crouch (Crouch, A. 2016, pn 112.) stated that when a leader is more concerned about himself, his comfort, security, and needs, both the people and the organisation suffers. Oh boy, how much time do you have, because I can give you a list of names that will keep you here until thy kingdom come! 

   Spiritual leadership does not begin with a title, position or privileges. It makes no difference where you are called to lead, in ministry or the marketplace. The greater the impact you want in your family, church or workplace, the greater your ability to influence others needs to be.

  Leadership is a risky business! You can invest your life into a team of men and women only to be rewarded with betrayal and denial. But not developing any leaders is an even greater risk. While we have all experienced incompetent or unhelpful leaders, we have also experienced mature, generous, and compassionate leaders —the kind of leaders we want to emulate, Jesus Christ! 

Thankfully, having a good understanding of what you are looking for in a leader can help you minimise risk to your Church. So, wherein the haystack can one start?  

Where to Start 

As you consider who is ready for leadership training, begin by reminding yourself of the goal (the Jethro and Ephesian 4, principles): you are not aiming to do all the ministry yourself; you are equipping the saints for ministry. Be prepared to entrust ministry to others —and to let go of it yourself. And as you get started, often pray that God will bring the right people to mind at the right time. God usually wakes me up between three and 5 am, showing me the faces of the people He wants me to pray for. Don’t ignore these moments or fail to act upon these divine instructions. 

As you remember Andy Crouch’s definition of leadership at the beginning of this blog, ask yourself who is already leading in your Church? Then, look over your list of current volunteers. Who is already serving faithfully?

 Those who are faithful with little will probably be faithful with more (Luke 16:10) –but don’t count on it! Also, look at people on the margins with the potential to serve. Maybe there is a new couple that previously led in the ministry. Or perhaps a teacher wants to start a special ministry for the youth. Sometimes the right people can also be found outside of your Church. So you have to be intentionally relying on the Holy Spit to show you who they are. 

If you think these folks have the right heart to become leaders in your Church, you can give them a trial run by asking them to help with specific short-term projects. Test their heart. I could be wrong, but one or two the most will leadership material for every ten that you ask. 

 If they have proven they can follow through, you can start tapping them for leadership development and other ministry opportunities. 

Qualities of a Leader 

As you think about potential leaders, certain things should always be true of the people you tap for leadership. Look for people with these qualities: 

Conviction 

The reformer Martin Luther stood before the intimidating court of religious authorities that had put him on trial and declared these words, “Here I stand, I cannot do otherwise, God help me.” This is convictional leadership.  

That is the kind of conviction that makes all the difference. Sadly, far too many of today’s leaders seem to have little idea what they believe, or they appear to be driven by no clear and discernible convictions. How many of today’s leaders are known for the convictions for which they are willing to die—or even to live?

You can divide all leaders into those who merely hold an office or position and those who hold great convictions. Life is too short to give much attention to leaders who stand for little or nothing, leaders who need to be followed up, looking for the next program, riding the latest leadership trend, trying on idea after idea, but driven by no deep convictions. 

So, look for men and women who understand or are willing to learn that the starting point for Christian leadership is not the leader but the eternal truths that God has revealed to us. This is the heart of convictional leadership. When thinking of people who will have leadership responsibility at your Church, you want to ensure also they agree with the main points of your theology and ministry philosophy. They probably would not need to argue the finer points of your Church’s doctrine, and you can train anything they should know. But you will want to make sure they are walking closely with God, growing in their faith, and loving the people in your community. 

Character

Perhaps the most widely misused biblical passage in our culture today is Matthew 7:1: “Judge not, that you be not judged.” Even people who do not know the content of Scripture very well are apt to quote Jesus whenever they are criticised for their behaviour. Such persons are looking to excuse their actions as if He would have us refrain from making judgments altogether.

Still, in grooming, but with great potential, our second in charge vocal leader was confronted for not pitching on a Sunday and not informing his leaders. The guy took offence, left the Church with “immediate effect”.   

It is so sad that so many people place talent above character. In today’s Church, you don’t; have to be ethical to be leadership material. While it may not be esteemed among man, character matters to God, and so it does in every thriving Church. 

 So look for people who are the same during the week as they are on Sundays, who earn your respect, and who deal fairly and generously with others without watering down truth.  

Competency 

We are not talking about being perfect. If you want to lead a miserable life, pursue perfectionism.  

But it is a no-brainer: do not ask her to sing if she cannot keep a note, don’t ask him to be the greeter if he has no teeth, do not put your super artsy, left-brained thinker in charge of finances and spreadsheets. You want the right people in charge of the right things because that is where they will thrive. As Romans 12:6 teaches, God has given each person different gifts all for the same purpose: to make the body of Christ flourish. Matching each person’s gifts to essential ministry is not only vital; it is the leader’s job!

Look for people who go beyond words. They can plan it and do it in a way that instils confidence in others who will follow them.

Chemistry 

No, we not talking about science. We are talking about leadership chemistry. You will, if not already be pressured by a very talented person, either because they have an exceptional management gift or a musical ability. Yet, if they do not have the other C’s I have mentioned, and you bent under pressure to give them some underserved title, you will pay a dear price! 

I remember him, well say his name was Joe. For some strange reason, Joe craved my recognition and wanted access to high-level leadership. Well, to save you all the detail, Joe left, and he left ugly. Real ugly! But it only confirmed that my judgement was spot on! I have burnt my fingers many years back and learnt this valuable lesson, talent does not triumph character!  

When considering someone for leadership, think about how that person will fit in with your existing leaders. Do they bring something new to the table? Do their gifts complement the gifts of others on the team? Are they enjoyable to work with? What is the motivation in their heart? 

I am convinced that the devil sends more of his people to Church to destroy it than God’s people will obey Him and walk through the doors.

So be on your guard and test every spirit! 

 

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What is the mark of authentic leadership? Talent? Knowledge? Experience? Confidence? Humility? These are some of every great leader’s essential qualities, but it is not what ultimately makes him a great leader! 

One of my all-time favourites in the subject of leadership, you guessed it! … John Maxwell! 

Let’s Play Golf and Do Lunch

He said before a leader recruits another leader, he should do two things;   One, take them golfing, and two, take them to a buffet.

John explains why,  A golf course and a buffet can teach you a lot about a person. On a golf course, John says, he looks to see if someone is honest, efficient, and comfortable with themselves by watching how emotional they get. VERY SMART!

In a buffet line, John says, he looks for someone to work around lines and pick and choose where and when to get their food. This is a sign of a leader rather than a follower. Practical tips for SURE, but I am pointing out how great leaders consistently identify other potential leaders and develop them into leaders themselves! 

Isn’t this what the greatest leader of all, Jesus Christ himself, encouraged?  Isn’t this what the Apostle Pauls leadership to Timothy, … commit these sayings of mine to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. Paul said this to his dear spiritual son.

This is the Law of Reproduction! 

 It Takes A Leader To Raise A Leader 

It is true; few steps into leadership because of a crisis. Others end up in leadership because they were born to lead. But did you know, four out of five leaders you meet have emerged as leaders because of the impact made on them by leaders who mentored them?  It takes a leader to raise up a leader! So why don’t we see the Law of Reproduction at work in our lives, ministries, teams, businesses, especially when it is a spiritual law in the Kingdom? 

There are many reasons. Sometimes people don’t recognise the tremendous value of developing leaders. Others may focus so much attention on their followers they don’t have anything left for their high potential future leaders. For other leaders, the real problem may be insecurity.

In my blog, The Law of Empowerment, I stated that: Only secure leaders give power to others. 

Don’t Forget this about David

The problem with the worlds leadership culture in contrast to the Kingdom leadership culture can be better understood in David and Goliath’s story. Most leaders only see David as a warrior who won against a giant and a king promoted because of his victory.    This is the great tragedy of leadership in ministry and the marketplace. TRUE David was a mighty warrior and a great king, but most leaders forget that David raised up other mighty warriors or great leaders. 

Finally … if you want to live a life that glorifies God, then you must be committed to the law of reproduction. Jesus spoke of the law in John 15, when He spoke about fruitfulness.   The problem is when we try to reproduce what we are not. Jesus begins with the instruction, abide in the Word… because —WE REPRODUCE ONLY WHO WE ARE! Not what we know.   

If we abide in the Word and the Word abides in us, that is who we are, and that is who we will produce.  So if you want to be a leader of leaders, you must abide with leaders of leaders.   It is not possible to neglect these laws of reproduction if you want to become an effective leader.  Evey effective leadership mentor or disciples-maker makes the development of leaders one of his highest priorities. Abraham, Moses, Joseph, Daniel, Jesus, Paul and Timothy focused on the priority of reproducing leaders. Remember, the potential of the organisation depends on the growth of its leadership. 

The more leaders there are, the greater its chance to succeed!

 

Thank you for reading! Please remember to subscribe to my blogs and get thought-provoking inspiration right into your inbox! Also, subscribe to my YouTube channel, Shan Thumbran, and get a notification each time I am live!  God Bless you!  

Inaugurated by fathers such Voltaire, Marx and Nietzsche

There is much one can admire about them, they took a more critical approach towards; religion, society and government. They adopted a more scientific and logical approach to life. All this, in the backdrop of priestly religious power structures and aristocratic structures of authority, that, well let’s say drained whatever life that was left in society.

Nonetheless, these unorthodox liberals unfortunately engineered an Achilles heel in their philosophy, they threw out both the baby with the bath, especially in a spiritual sense. They  “cancelled” centuries of belief in a personal and powerful God.  Tremendous evil was choreographed in the name of “God”, FACT!  But, is it fair, does, it make sense to judge any religion by the actions of its followers? Shouldn’t we judge a religion by the theology it posits? Yes, the crusaders have killed in the name of Christianity, still, Christianity of the Bible does not teach this. In fact, Christianity did not start with a sword but with sacrifice.

One of the most remarkable assaults on the Bible has been on the “TEN COMMANDMENT!”  

God is not trying to crush us with red tape and regulations each time you hear the words, “Thou shall,” “Thou shalt not.” Imagine a world without any traffic rules? The traffic rules are there to protect us! To make life safer and convenient! Similarly, the Ten Commandments are not prison bars or red tape. They are rules for free people to stay free. They protect, regulate and convenience.

Yet, liberals have a fiery obsession with removing Ten Commandments monuments from public property throughout the United States. This trend permeates the narrative in the rest of the western world.

For this blog’s purpose, I will cite these conflicts against the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20; 2-14).

 

First Commandment: Thou Shalt Have No Gods Before Me

Liberalism denies the very existence of God in the religion of Atheism.

Nevertheless, on the other hand, secularism proposes pluralism towards religion. This one makes liberals instantly uncomfortable. According to political correctness, it’s rude and insensitive to proclaim God’s existence in public and especially not in public schools! Faith is supposed to remain a private matter.

Secularists, therefore, resent the notion of an open, out-of-the-closet Deity who shows off in such a noisy, flashy way. Staging the Exodus from Egypt with all its plagues and sea-splitting, then announcing himself in a voice from the mountaintop heard by hundreds of thousands of people is offensive!

Those who worry about too much religion in the “public square” do not get much more public or unequivocal than this opening proclamation.

 

Second Commandment: Thou Shalt Not Make Graven Images

We are talking idolatry here!

The first idol in liberalism is the worship of man himself. But talk about intolerance and judgmentalism! This commandment denies the very essence of multiculturalism and diversity: by what right do we dismiss and disrespect the gods of others?

Didn’t that bearded guy who went up the mountain realize that it is a demonstration of cultural imperialism to express such cruel, callous contempt for other deities like the Kali of the Mahavidyas or the Canaanite Moloch?

Moreover, when it comes to worshipping idols, twentieth-century leftists continued the noble traditions of the ancient cults of Baal or Astarte. In the old Soviet Union, every town boasted monumental statues of Lenin or Stalin (usually both). To this day, the image of the divine Fidel graces every shack house in Cuba. Refusal to “prostrate yourself” and to “worship them” can lead to big trouble in such enlightened societies.

 

Third Commandment: Thou Shalt Not Take the Lord’s Name in Vain

For liberals, this rule highlights their eternal obsession with their dirty religious words.

This isn’t old Moses sounding like a brief on what you allowed to say on the air. “God Almighty!” or “Jesus Christ!” are often pronounced as curse words and protected speech rather than with reverence.

To take the Lord’s name in vain also means to deny God, as He defines Himself. Therefore, to misrepresent God, call other gods, God, or deny the deity of Christ is to take the Lord’s name in vain.

 

Fourth Commandment: Remember to Keep Holy the Sabbath

Most liberals are okay with the Sabbath principles, but they squirm over that part of this directive that says, “Six days shall you work….”?!!

In the Twenty-First Century, isn’t it time we moved beyond that old-fashioned notion that people should prefer labour to leisure?

Absolutely, absolutely not!

On the one hand, when the production, distribution, and exchange, or in other words business, is either owned or regulated by the community as a whole (Socialism), would this not provide a cushion for the lazy or defence for the criminals?  In enlightened nations like France, they’re working on getting it down to a three day week–which ought to be enough to keep every citizen well-stocked. It is a fallacy to believe that the world is anarchical –without law or control.

Again, God gives us laws to protect and regulate.

The Sabbath also points to a day of rest. Scientific studies have shown that people that try to ignore that concept of having one day out of seven for a rest are eventually not nearly as productive as they would be if they had that rest.

A Culture Obsessed with Business  By keeping the Sabbath, we identify with the eternal salvation of peace and rest as God’s purpose, not only for mankind but also for creation (Rom 8:9-23).

Addiction to being busy is popularly portrayed as a toxic feature of liberal modernity. Aristotle, for example, argued that virtue was obtainable through contemplation and not through endless activity. Yet, the tension between action and reflection cannot be easily resolved.

However, the answer lies in what the German sociologist Max Weber’s explains, the diligence of the Protestant work ethic and its importance in the development of capitalism.

There is much value to be recognized for hard work, but there is also the necessity of marking time to rest well.

There is much value to be recognized for hard work, but there is also the necessity of marking time to rest well. Click To Tweet

 

Fifth Commandment:  Honour Thy Father and Thy Mother

The expectation of honouring your elders burdens youthful free spirits with the dead, oppressive influence of tradition and the past.

Progressive thinkers understand that it’s kids (and particularly adolescents) in defining proper standards, not parents, who really know best.

Guess who is Controlling Our Kids

In the “Shema,” in Deuteronomy chapter 6, we find God giving to Israel the greatest commandment. The first three verses give the primary responsibility of man toward his God, the duty to love the Lord with his entire being. The commandment follows this to teach this to the next generation.

Liberalism seeks to exchange parents with a “progressive” government. It diminishes parental rights and encourages children to rebel against the values held by their families.

The Shema teaches that the parents are to teach their children the doctrines of their faith and the reasons for believing them.  It is a command from the God of the universe. Second, the command is not given to a government or village of people. It is given to the parents of the children. A responsibility given to parents may not be passed on to anyone else.

The Bible does not release the parents from this responsibility. It will be the parents who will give account to God for what they have done with the children committed to their trust by a Holy God! God will hold the parents responsible for their receiving an education that leaves God out.

For many years, the parents in the home taught the children. Thus, long before the term “home-schooling” was first used, the education of children was done in the home.

Later, parents felt that someone with more education should do the teaching, so they paid tuition for private schools or educated their children in schools sponsored and run by churches. Private or public schools provided God-centered education that was watched over by the parents of the students.

 

Sixth Commandment: Thou shalt not kill

The left loves slogans that declare that execution is murder, war is murder, meat is murder, and so forth, but what about abortion?

Pro-choice ideologies such as, “my body my rights” are all liberal sanctified rites of passage for a feminist mother to slaughter her own child in the womb. Millions of dead babies continue to be slaughtered at the pagan altar of “choice!” 

 

Why Liberals Feel Trapped Click To Tweet

 

Abortion is not the procedure merely that removes subhuman tissue. Therefore, abortion is murder and a violation of humans rights.

The biological facts are straightforward. At the moment of conception, a person is a single cell pulsing with autonomous human life. He (or she) is already male (or female). He is fully human because he possesses a complete and unique set of human genes, in which are encoded all of the information needed to make and maintain a mature man. These genes are bound together into chromosomes, like pages bound into books, and each of his cells contains the entire human library of 46 chromosomes. Beyond this DNA library, his physical life needs only oxygen, nutrition, and shelter. His birth, still nine months in the future, will start no fundamental life process either than that which has already begun!

On you was I cast from my birth, and from my mother’s womb you have been my God (Ps 22.10). The Bible — more authoritative and reliable than medical science — plainly identifies unborn children as actual people, and not merely as potential people.

The sixth commandment states that murder is evil. God breathed into man’s nostrils the breath of life (Gen 2.7), and thus imparted one of His own attributes — life — to man.

Since human life reflects the very nature of God, we must hold it as a sacred trust from conception until death. No matter how marred by sin, human life is still God-like, and must be regarded as sacred. God’s image resides in all people — male and female, rich and poor, healthy and diseased, born and unborn.

This sixth commandment urges us to do all we can to affirm and protect and nurture our neighbour’s life. Any attack on human life assaults the sovereign God who owns that life and despises the image of God displayed in that life (Gen 9.6; James 3.9). Thus killing a human being both defrauds God and puts Him to death in effigy.

Having established from science and Scripture that human life begins at conception, we can readily see that all of the arguments liberal make for abortion fails. For their arguments to work, one must assume that the unborn child is not human. Unfortunately, this assumption — which “requires proof” — is assumed “without proof.”

Liberal commit the logical fallacy of “begging the question”. If one assumes what is trying to prove, one is reasoning in a circle, and one’s position logically refutes itself.

Abortion is one of the more tragic symptoms of a disease called sin. So what should one do about it? If we decide to launch political crusades against abortion, we are only treating the symptom. The disease itself — rebellion against God — has only one cure: the spiritual salvation through faith in Jesus Christ of all people who favour and practise abortion.

Thus the most effective way for Christians to combat abortion is to invest their energy and time in fulfilling the Lord’s commission to live and preach the gospel and so to make disciples of all nations (Matt 28.19).

 

Seventh Commandment: Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery

To which the post-modern left would quickly add: unless you really, really love her!

It is not just Bill Clinton’s protagonists who have a problem with this inconvenient veto on extra-marital involvement: when people take their vows by pledging to remain committed “as long as our love shall last,” the Seventh Commandment begins to look incurably outdated.

This law also includes “all” sexual immorality as identified in the scriptures, from marital infidelity, fornication, homosexuality, bestiality, incest, but liberalism seems to embraces all perversions of God’s design for human sexuality in the name of “moral neutrality!’

When it comes to sex, you can do no wrong because there is no wrong.

 

Many progressive Christians and “spiritual but not religious” liberals, leaving behind all theology, feel like breaking free of prison. Nevertheless, throwing out the baby with the bathwater has allowed Western Civilization to grow a prevailing culture of religious zealotry that is cruel and immoral.

Getting back in the game and taking back religion starts by restoring the concept of sin. Liberals have done themselves a great disservice by shunning Scripture as a reaction to bad religious actors. The more liberals shout “equal rights” and “social justice” the more false Christians yell “but the Bible!” So let’s start reminding them what is actually in the Bible.

According to Jesus Christ himself, the greatest sin is the neglect of your neighbour and the persecution of the weak.

Sin is not about who loves who; it about lacks love for one another.

Suppose liberals can bring the word “sin” back into their dialogue. In that case, it will pull the floor out from under false prophets and hypocritical politicians.

 

Eighth Commandment: Thou shalt not steal

Liberalism thrives on theft!

By adopting the “redistributionist philosophies of Marx.” Liberal government steals from the rich and middle class to give to the poor, to ensure that liberal politicians remain in power.

Liberal are incompetent and inefficient modern “reverse Robin Hoods.” Reverse Robin Hood’ Liberals are stealing from the public to pay off rich friends.  They have always devised comfortable euphemisms to describe the act of theft: “liberating” or “boosting” or “nationalizing” private property, or simply “taxing the rich” and penalize the productive for their political lack of competence and failure to help the poor.  

Why Liberals Feel Trapped Click To Tweet

This only results in the unhappiness and misery of everyone.

If you believe it’s virtuous for government to seize by force the majority of an individual’s earnings (at one time, income tax rate was at 70% in the US), you ought to feel somewhat uncomfortable with an absolute ban on stealing.

 

Ninth Commandment: Thou shalt not bear false witness

Jewish sages suggest that a secret to understanding each one of the Big Ten involves the parallel structure of the two tablets.

In other words, the first commandment corresponds to the sixth, the second to the seventh, the third to the eighth, and the fourth to the ninth. That means that this “no false witness” order connects to the imperative of keeping the Sabbath. The association relates to the basis for Sabbath observance stipulated in the text: “For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, and the sea and all this is in them, and He rested on the seventh day.”

In other words, the Sabbath bears witness to God’s role in creation, and the Rabbis say that the denial of divine creation represents the ultimate in bearing false witness.

On this basis, today’s liberals insist on the false witness, the whole false witness, and nothing but false witness. The very idea of questioning a random, materialistic origin of the universe makes them crazy with rage and contempt: they strenuously condemn the mere notion of suggesting in schools that it was an Intelligent Designer who must have “made the heavens and the earth.”

On the other hand, liberals have to lie, most of the time to secure their power. Their power is founded on deception. They invest much time speaking unjustly towards another person, to the prejudice of their reputation!

 

Tenth Commandment: Thou shalt not covet

Most liberals “politically speaking” have only one agenda, create a political climate of economic envy and warfare and unrest between classes. This gives liberal governments the cover needed to take wealth from those who produce and redistribute it to those who don’t.

Not only does liberalism violate the 10th commandment, but liberalism also commands its followers to do the exact opposite. “Thou shalt covet.”

The entire leftist project is largely based on covetousness: resenting the “filthy rich” for what they’ve earned, rather than feeling grateful for their own achievements.

As Satan “masquerades as an angel of light” (2 Corinthians 11:14), so, too, does liberalism masquerade as good. It’s deceptively packaged in flowery euphemisms and feel-good sound bites that promise “equality,” “tolerance” and libertine notions of “social justice.”

Yet, in reality, liberalism, in both philosophical and practical terms, simply signifies man’s predisposition to “call evil good and good evil.”

 

Reviewing the Ten Commandments one by one exposes their irreconcilable conflict with the demented and dysfunctional philosophy of today’s left.

In other words, in contrast to most aspects of Twenty-First-century liberalism, the implacable hostility to the Biblical Big Ten actually ends up making perfect sense.

 

“The unexamined life is not worth living.” — Socrates

Wisdom distinguishes

If knowledge is information or data, wisdom is a refinement of that data and knowing when to act upon that knowledge. 

One does not need to become a philosopher to be wise — one needs to be a lover of wisdom. While the contemplative argues for an unexamined life’s worthlessness. Others support the plethora of critical examination of society, religion and government. 

Yet, once wisdom is tasted, one will not want to give it up!

 

All great civilizations from Persia to Rome were built upon the unharried mind and have collapsed by the hurried hand. Click To Tweet

1. Slow down to Speed Up

 Speed drives our world. Yet, if we are always in a rush, racing from one point to the next, we are more prone to making mistakes and losing perspective. All great civilizations from Persia to Rome were built upon the unharried mind and have collapsed by the hurried hand.    Do not be obsessed with quick thinking. Every sentence or social media post should “be on trial for its existence.”

A person word and writing should clarify their mind, and it slows one down, which is the most productive kind of time one can have.  Make more “time” to read and write, instead of moving like a New York taxi from one place to another. Try to understand what is underneath something — what is driving our behaviour.  The wise slow down their minds — they observe things from a distance. They pause, learn, self-reflect and pray. 

Wise decisions require balancing urgency and tenacity.

2. Focus on What’s Essential

We associate much for meaning and more with better. So the more you do and the more you have, the better person you become.  When everything is a priority, one cannot separate what matters from what does not.  Unfortunately, this endless race to do and achieve more and more drives confusion and frustration.  If one can say no to the unnecessary, one can have tranquillity. 

If one can eliminate more, one will discover meaning. To “do less, better” is the secret of the great.  Life is not about getting less done or about getting more done in less time. Instead, life is about priorities or essentialism –focus on the pursuit of ‘the right thing, in the right way, at the right time.’ As people of faith, the criteria we should follow for how we define things that add value to our lives is the Word of God and the guidance of the Holy Spirit. We embrace this concept of “pause and reflect before saying yes” as a way to help us follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit for our lives.

People are mistaken when they are more protective of their property, money, and possessions yet careless about their most precious asset: their time.

Remember, life is never short if we know how to use it.

 

 “It is not that we have a short time to live, but that we waste a lot of it.”

 

3. Think From the Middle Ground 

Seeing the world only in black and white will gets us stuck. Thinking in from the middle ground is about learning, not taking positions — where one-stop seeing opposing concepts as enemies. Integrative thinking is essential. It is the capacity to hold two diametrically opposing ideas in our heads and reconcile them for a problem at hand. Fundamentalism, dualism destroys creative thinking.   

Learn to shift from fundamentalism and duality to integration. Heaven and earth, mind and matter, truth and criticism mean clarity. 

 “When you are at the top, you only see shadows, and when you’re at the bottom, you are blinded by the light, but from the middle, everything is pleasing… day and night.”

 

Wise people embrace differences and diverse perspectives without compromising their convictions. 

 

4. Spot the Weakness in an Argument

The words we don’t challenge become true. 

 

“A lie told often enough becomes the ‘truth.’ “

 

The purpose of critical thinking is not to find an error but to avoid behaviour based on false assumptions.

The confirmation bias, for example, is our tendency to look for and to recall evidence that confirms, but not that disconfirms, our beliefs and hypotheses. This is because people are usually prone to various cognitive biases. 

When reading or conversating, look or listen out for the word “surely.” It is often used as a ‘truism’ without offering sufficient “reason or evidence” — s/he hopes or presumes the listening or reader will quickly agree. However, thinking critically means not taking things for granted. Logical fallacies are arguments that fail to make sense scientifically — though they can often make an emotional appeal, they do not prove the underlying claims.  Proof by example is a fallacy that uses one or more cases to suggest a general rule. For instance, if a person has one bad experience from a certain nationality, that does not suggest that every one of that nationality are the same.  

When you observe people from a particular group doing something and then assume everyone who belongs to that group acts the same way. This is an example of a weakness in an argument. 

 

5. Be Intellectually Humble

Most talented people do not make wrong decisions because of a lack of facts but of low self-awareness.  Most intelligent people tend to overestimate how much they know. Intellectual pride prevents the celebration of uncertainty — when we reward certainty and condemn doubt, we then focus more on being right then, finding the correct answer. 

 “The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts.

 

Intellectual humility is about recognizing that the things you believe in might, in fact, be wrong. It is an invitation to ’empty your cup,’ so you can fill it up with new knowledge. Practice being obsessively curious. Challenge everything — especially what you believe is right. Leave the door open for better solutions, rather than sticking to your answer, old wineskin. Intellectual humility is letting go of certainty.

Wise people are not embarrassed to become temporarily dependent on other people’s knowledge or expertise.

History beats the drum on him as one of the most celebrated leaders of all time.

Personally his one of my favourites.  His name was President Abraham Lincoln. An American politician, lawyer, husband and servant who served as the 16th President of the United States, from March 1861 until, well like most great leaders, who live under death threats, Lincoln was assassinated in April 1865.

Abraham Lincoln led the United States through its Civil War (1881-1865).  I’m not American, so don’t know much about these terrible days of civil unrest, but I’ve come to understand, that he also championed one of the bloodiest war during possibly, the nation’s greatest moral, constitutional and political crisis. He did this against the 11th “Confederate States” in the South, known as the slave states. How awesome is that?!

In doing so, he preserved the Union (23 States), paved the way to the abolishment of slavery, strengthened their national government and modernised the economy. I wish I could tell you, he was my great, great, great grand… never mind!

Leaders such as Lincoln held iconic status, cherished and challenged high ideals that commanded great loyalty and respect. Their leadership legacy in our amoral world, unfortunately, has been esteemed as a worthless two cents coin, their memoir diminishes into oblivion by the years, falling short of nothing but a travesty to our future by the most unbearable, weak and irresponsible leadership.

Frankly, most people don’t care and wonder how leaders such as Lincoln deserve to be hailed. But still,  what made him such an extraordinary leader? “Why should I even bother, learning about such an old dude?”

There are many important reasons why.  I explore several principles from his iconic influences, and also attempt to resolve the question, “does effective modern leadership philosophy backs his methods?”

Five Leadership Lessons of Abraham Lincoln

#1. Invest More Time with the Staff and Less Behind the Desk

As President Lincoln spent more time outside the White House than in it. And it’s believed he met every single Union soldier who enlisted early in the Civil War – they saw the President in person.

Lincoln was President of 23 States but had an open-door policy.

Lincoln knew people were his best source of information.  He spent 75% of the day meeting with people.

A virtue not venerated by “modern leadership,” but certainly supported by the purest form of leadership, because accessibility builds trust.

An accessible leader uses all things possible, including technology or social media to connect and network with his people.

He knows acknowledgement is validation.

He knows investing time makes a huge impact.

He knows  using technology multiplies his touch.

He knows a close door policy intimidates people.

He knows an open door policy invites people.

Not all leaders are accessible leaders, but all great leaders are.

 

Not all leaders are accessible leaders, but all great leaders are. Click To Tweet

#2. Persuade Rather Than Force

Despite having the power of the presidency, Lincoln didn’t have a strong arm with people, he never used undue force. He also had many enemies but he won most of them over. How did he do it? He made them his friends. He made them like him.

Here’s Lincoln talking about his persuasive leadership methods:

“When the conduct of men is designed to be influenced, persuasion, kind, unassuming persuasion, should ever be adopted. It is an old and a true maxim that a “drop of honey catches more flies than a gallon of gall.” So with men, if you would win a man to your cause, first convince him that you are his sincere friend. Therein is a drop of honey that catches his heart, which, say what he will, is the great highroad to his reason, and which, when once gained, you will find little trouble in convincing his judgment of the justice of your cause, if indeed that cause really be a just one.”

 

Leaders like Lincoln handle their subordinates with great respect.  Lincoln didn’t give orders — he made requests.

Look at some of the letters he wrote:
To McClellan (10-13-1863): “…this letter is in no sense an order.”
To Halleck (9-19-1863): “I hope you will consider it…”
To Burnside (9-27-1863): “It was suggested to you, not ordered…”

 

“I destroy my enemies when I make them my friends.” Abraham Lincoln

Great leaders all portray the same leadership panache.

#3. Give Honour and Take Responsibility

Lincoln always gave credit where it was due, took responsibility when things went wrong. This approach not only confirmed his honesty, integrity, human dignity but also gave his subordinates the correct perception that they were, in many ways, doing the leading, not him.

Lincoln had no problem saying he screwed up Click To Tweet

Lincoln had no problem saying he screwed up, like in this letter to General Ulysses S. Grant:

“I write this now as a grateful acknowledgement for the almost inestimable service you have done the country. I wish to say a word further. When you reached the vicinity of Vicksburg… I never had any faith, except a general hope that you knew better than I that the expedition could succeed… I feared it was a mistake. I now wish to make the personal acknowledgement that you were right, and I was wrong.”

He trusted the judgment of the people who were on the front lines. This is one of the hallmarks of good military and corporate leadership.

Leadership that works in the toughest situations is democratic in its approach and values a listening style as Lincoln demonstrated. Not worrying about who gets the credit for an idea is key to influencing people.
And the greatest minds of history agree.

As Lao Tzu said: “Fail to honour people, they fail to honour you. But of a good leader, who talks little, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will all say, ‘We did this ourselves.”

#4. Encourage and Celebrate Change

What did Lincoln know about change or innovation?  Well, he’s the only U.S. President ever to patent something (I’m not sure about Trump.)

“Years before assuming the presidency, Lincoln had shown his interest in innovation when, on March 10, 1849 (at age forty), he received a patent for a new method of making grounded boats more buoyant.”

 

What does it take to increase creativity and innovation in an organisation? It is pretty simple: reward people for trying new things and don’t punish them for failing.

It is pretty simple: reward people for trying new things and don’t punish them for failing. Click To Tweet

Even during his most difficult times, Lincoln continued to call on his subordinates to screen new advances and implement ideas.

He realised that, as an executive leader, it was his chief responsibility to create the climate of risk-free entrepreneurship necessary to foster effective innovation.

 

#5. Influence People Through Storytelling

By all accounts, Lincoln was a great storyteller and leveraged this skill to win people over.

When I coach executives, a challenge that frequently emerges is the “I feel as if I hit the ceiling.” In this case, I employ a technique that quickly revives their conquering spirit. I do this simply by inviting them to tell me their STORY.

In our information-saturated age, business leaders won’t be heard unless they’re telling stories.

In our information-saturated age, business leaders won’t be heard unless they’re telling stories. Click To Tweet

Once the mood is right, I ask, “so tell me how did you get to be the CEO?” Yes, a lot of patience and I mean a whole lot is needed.  High achievers are usually overconfident, who just love talking about themselves. On the other extreme, there are those who “play humble pie” -you have to squeeze their story out of them.

Leaders who can create and share good stories have a powerful advantage over others. Their story is the fuel that keeps them going, a tool that inspires others to do the same. When I get them to reminisce on what it took for them to get to the top, suddenly, they realise they can break through any limitation.

No one really remembers facts and figures and all the rational things that we think are important in the business world. Actually, they don’t stick in our minds as well as great stories do.

Lincoln understood the power of storytelling.

“Institutions that can communicate a compelling historical narrative often inspire a special kind of commitment among employees. It is this dedication that directly affects a company’s success and is critical to creating a strong corporate legacy.”


  1. Inspired by Eric Baker. Written for Time Magazine