Photo by Mobinukaem, Available at www.morguefile.com
For Christians throughout the world, this week, Holy Week, is a special remembrance of how much God loves us. This week Christians celebrate the simple yet dramatic story of God becoming man, as Jesus of Nazareth, and giving up everything, even life, to pay the penalty for our sin. (To find out more about this story go to NeedHim.org.)
In leadership literature, Jesus, the man, is often recognized as one of the great leaders of history. Other leaders included in these conversations are Mahatma Gandhi, Abraham Lincoln, Jack Welch, Vince Lombardi, Golda Meir, Martin Luther King, Jr., Winston Churchill, Margaret Thatcher, . . . the list could be very long. The life of each contributes valuable lessons to the conversation and study of leadership. For the past several years, these conversations have focused on three prominent themes:
- Transformational leadership – focusing on creating change in individuals and organizations
- Servant leadership – focusing on the needs of others
- Authentic leadership – focusing on truth in the act of leading
No single model or theory of leadership is able to capture the complete essence of leading. These three approaches, individually, offer great insight into leadership but cannot stand on their own in actual practice. A pure and isolated implementation of any model will not address all the demands of any leadership context. Similarly, no single leader is a perfect picture of any given model of leadership. Mahatma Gandhi is cited as an example of transformational leadership. Martin Luther King, Jr. is an example of servant leadership. Billy Graham’s life and work is consistent with the ideals of authentic leadership. In each case, though, the leader had his shortcomings and does not fully represent the model.
However, the Christian Trinity of God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit presents an opportunity to look at leadership in a unified way. God the Father is Truth and cannot do evil — authentic leadership. Jesus the Son sacrificed himself for us — servant leadership. The Holy Spirit lives in Christ followers and transforms our hearts and minds — transformational leadership. The Trinity represents the unity of the three “persons” of God. You have to examine all three parts of God together; you cannot separate any of these three from the others. Knowing all three parts of the trinity is a more complete means to developing a personal relationship with God. So, too, an integrated approach to leadership, studying and integrating these three forms of leadership, is a more complete approach to leading. When we look at one model in isolation, we do not get a complete picture of leadership.
Whether you ever develop your leadership skills is not as important as developing your spiritual life. For those who do embark on the leadership journey, your focus on the triune God will yield insights and wisdom.
Happy Easter! He Is Risen!