Good Leadership – The Same Yesterday, Today and Forever

By Jim Biscardi, Jr.

Have you heard the story of the little girl who said to her mother, “I like you better than God”? The mother quickly replied, “Oh, you must not say that,” but the child insisted until her mother finally said, “Sweetie, what makes you say that?” The little girl answered, simply, “Because I can hug you!””

In her innocent way, that child expressed the universal desire of mankind to have contact with God in a personal, tangible way. A spirit is hard for us to conceive, but a real flesh and bones man or woman is a concrete reality we can understand. That’s exactly what Jesus did for us in the incarnation. He brought God within hugging distance. Not only could man see, hear, and feel Him; but we could also emulate Him.

My book, The Mantle: How to Dress for Success in Leadershipwas written to help us emulate His example of excellent leadership. The book uses the prophet’s mantle garment (1Kings 19:19) to illustrate attributes of Jesus’ leadership behaviors. As His ambassadors, we must be dressed in the attitudes and actions of Christ in our homes, schools, churches, businesses, and in the world.

The Apostle Peter knew that people deserved to be listened to and treated with dignity. He knew that Jesus leadership was strong but sensitive and serving, gentle and respectful, open and honest, empowering and trusting. He knew that it included the authority of a consistent example. Peter wrote to the early church leaders, “Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, serving as overseers not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not greedy for money, but eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock” (1 Peter 5:2-3).

That’s the kind of leadership we need now in our homes, workplaces, churches, schools, and other enterprises. Looking toward the future value of mantle Christ-like leadership, the prophet Zechariah told of the Branch (i.e. Christ), saying, “From His place He shall branch out, and He shall build the temple of the Lord…He shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule on His throne; so He shall be a priest on His throne” (Zechariah 6:12, 13). For believers, this speaks of the return of Jesus to rule the world from Jerusalem. Note it speaks of Him not only as being King, but also as being a Priest (one who serves the people).

In the Book of Revelation, we also have references to Jesus making His disciples “kings and priests” (Revelation 1:6 and 5:10). So not only will Jesus be both King and Priest, but believers will also return with Him, and rule with Him as kings and priests.”

Believers will be ruler-priests, who will have leadership authority, while at the same time be commissioned to serve the people they are ruling. Jesus is “the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). His leadership principles, which He has already given us to understand and embrace, will be those that He will follow Himself and will want us to emulate when He returns to rule the earth.

As managers or those in authority, we need to turn the leadership pyramid upside down and begin thinking of our people—those who actually touch the ones we are serving—as being most important for the success of our enterprise. We need to build them up and empower them so that within prescribed, agreed-upon boundaries of authority, they can speak and act on our behalf and feel our concerns for the business, church, family, or educational enterprise we are leading. We must equip our people with problem-solving techniques, both as individuals and as teams. We need to provide the motivation by communicating well, by incorporating their thinking into our planning, and by providing open and honest rating systems with rewards for good performance. We also need to develop in them a heart for serving others by our own example and by establishing measurements of success.

King-priest, mantle, Christ-like leadership excellence may be difficult to attain and requires our utmost attention and energy. It certainly goes against our human nature. Its value may not be recognized at first, just as Christ was not recognized by the religious leaders of His day. The downward spiral, however, of our vital enterprises, speaks loudly that we must continuously strive to improve the quality of our leadership performance. The “mantles” being worn by some of our leaders are frayed and unraveling.

What greater goal is there for a workplace manager, pastor, deacon, teacher, parent, coach, and other leaders than to follow in the path of the Master Manager, King of kings and Lord of lords, who is also the Lamb upon the Throne? (Revelation 17:14; 22:1,3).

Let’s accept the king-priest mantle and dress for success in leading our enterprises!

As a teacher, author, columnist, and president emeritus of New Jersey Christian Ministries, Jim Biscardi says he has been “privileged for many years to help Christians grow in their knowledge of Christ.” You can find all Jim’s books at barnesandnoble.com or amazon.com, including The Mantle: How to Dress for Success in Leadership.

 

 

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