Developing Christian Leadership From The Bible

If you are a competitive Christian person and have a desire to lead, chances are you can become a successful leader. If you have these two characteristics the Bible is the greatest teacher in developing leadership abilities.

Confidence is an area that many people feel inadequate. The Bible tells us that we can do all things through Christ who will give us strength. Confidence can result from believing God, through the Holy Spirit, wants us to be successful. God wants to use our competitive spirit to be flexible, be a risk taker and to increase our courage. Confidence often comes from adequate preparation, repetition and experience. When favorable results occur, give God the credit as He is the one who will help you become successful. A must is to have a humble spirit. The Bible teaches to be meek. That does not mean weak. There are times that require sternness. People want a strong leader. No one enjoys following an egomaniac or a person so stubborn that they are unwilling to accept the ideas of others.

Here are a number of things the Bible teaches a leader to do: You must have a vision, goal or purpose that you can communicate to your employees or those you are leading. There must be clarity of purpose. Too often, those leading leave too many uncertainties and are not transparent. People must know what is expected and what the end results are required.

A good leader builds a team. A leader must accept responsibility and not blame others. Be an example and you will find those following will be more inclined to also accept responsibility. Be forgiving, fair-minded, continually teaching. Show your concern for each person so that they can see you want them to be successful.

I like the illustration given by President Regan: “Trust but verify!” As a leader I never assumed something would be done, I would always follow up to make sure what was promised happened. If a person said they would do something and they knew you would check, chances are better that the task would be accomplished as requested.

Do research, know the facts, don’t state something that you would do then fail to follow through. A leader must be honest. Those following must trust the integrity of the leader. We must never lie or mislead others. We are to do unto others as we would have others do unto us.

Be an encourager. Too often I have worked for those who led through fear. Fear worked in the Old Testament but love works better in the New Testament. When someone does an outstanding job give them credit. Always soliciting ideas and giving credit can provide successes. The following is an example:

During my college years and as a high school coach, during the summer, I was a production foreman for Birds’ Eye Frozen Foods. When we ran lima beans, graders would separate overly ripe beans that did not meet the quality for consumption. However, if these beans were soaked for 48 hours they were very tasty. They were sold to the government and they fed thousands of people.

For years, we had problems with machines that were used to shake out rocks and other debris. The machine was down more than it worked. I mentioned to our employees that I wish we could get a machine that would do the job so we could provide more products. One employee came to me and suggested that instead of separating the beans from the debris, have them go directing to the soaking vats. When the lima bean absorbs the water it will float and they can go directly to an inspection line. When needed, drain the soaking tanks and clean out the rocks and other debris. We tried this and production increased exponentially. Lines never had to be shut down again and tons of overly ripe lima beans lost. This added thousands of dollars of new revenue. Many times employees can improve service or production if given a chance to express themselves. However, if they don’t like their leader it is possible they would never volunteer information that would help and improve what is being done.

The world judges a coach’s success by the number of games he/she has won. An executive’s success is determined by how much profit he or she makes. The famous are evaluated by how wealthy or how well-known they are. The world teaches that the only way to get both is to be successful, regardless of the methods used to reach that goal. In other words, the end justifies the means. Many who want to be somebody don’t care if they achieve that by immoral methods or not. In many people’s minds, this may require you to be different or to be better than anyone else at what they do. If they can find a shortcut in reaching their goal, so much the better.

Those who are willing to do about anything to become successful often believe they will receive admiration from others by being better than the norm or making others envious of them. Some crave love and attention to such a degree that they have neither limits nor boundaries in getting what they desire.

I have witnessed leaders and managers who were so focused on production and profits that it became a point of obsession. The world might view this as healthy, but in some respects it is just the opposite. You may know of those who are so fixed on success that they are willing to put that over workers, society, the environment or anything else that may stand in their way. Aggressive people are sometimes reviled, yet at the same time they are often admired, respected and lavishly rewarded.

Too many Christians believe that unless they live and work as the world does, they will be at a disadvantage. Some claim that instead of using Biblical principles and standards; they have no choice but to be aggressive and to do whatever it takes to survive in this day and age.

Let me interject a distinction between aggressiveness and assertiveness. Aggressiveness employs a combative attitude. It’s means are severe and intense. The goal is the all in all. The aggressive person mows down anyone or anything that gets in the way of reaching the goal. Assertiveness, however, is courage, boldness or confidence. The way one reaches the goal is as important as reaching the goal, but not at the expense of hurting others or utilizing questionable tactics.

As a Christian I have never felt a need to separate my business life from my spiritual life. In fact, I don’t think it can be done. I continue to try and live according to the principles Christ taught at home, at work and interacting with others.

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