Biblically-based Leadership Principles
Biblically-based leadership can be distilled down into five principles. These principles, all except for one, are taught in nearly every leadership course I ever attended or taught. However, I realize that the inclusion of biblically-based leadership principles has been and will forever polarize the general public. Nevertheless, we here at SHVA Leadership Advisers build great leaders. We will take great leadership principles from nearly all sources. We believe that great leaders must seek to learn from the best books. Therefore, with almost 168,000 copies sold each day (Gaille, 2017), the Bible is a great book. There is no denying its selling power and global impact. Additionally, we will draw from Blanchard and Hodges, Lead Like Jesus, another great biblically-based leadership principle book.
The five biblically-based leadership principles I found most impactful were: Humility, Servant Leadership, Devotion to supporters/followers, Divine Submission, and Vision. As stated previously, we believe all leadership principles should be distilled down into these core principles. In today’s global business environment, leaders are bombarded with ever-increasing complex leadership theories and style suggestions. However, at SHVA Leadership Advisers, we subscribe to the belief that leadership must be simple to be truly useful. If the leader is too worried about the process or the steps, the leader is not leading but managing. So, let’s review the five core biblically-based leadership principles, that if practiced, will drive you and your followers to exceptional performance.
Scripture teaches us that God will bless and give wisdom to the humble (Proverbs 11:2, KJV). Additionally, Jesus taught that the person that would be the greatest must be the servant (Mark 10:43-44, KJV). One of the main reasons that humility is so vital in biblically-based leadership is because, as we are humble, we are teachable and God can teach us to serve those we lead (Blanchard and Hodges, 2008, p. 32). Humility allows us to learn, grow, and seek advice from multiple sources to determine the best possible course of action.
Through servant leadership, we show others that we are accountable to a higher power, namely God. Additionally, we remember that our authority is on loan to us from those we lead (Burkhart, 2015). At some point, our leadership authority will end. Your leadership may end through a job change, promotion, demotion, firing, or hiring.
Nevertheless, the one constant is your authority is temporary. Leaders must make the most significant impact in the time allotted to them by the followers. Serving them enables them to grow and encourages them to mimic your exceptional leadership style.
Devotion to Supporters/Followers
Jesus taught his followers to love others as they loved themselves (Mark 12:31, KJV). For success, the leader must be devoted to the well-being and welfare of those he/she serves and to those that support/follow him. In today’s market, employees are not loyal to companies any longer. Instead, they are loyal to individual leaders, following them from company to company. As you show devotion to them by getting to know them and providing opportunities for professional development, devotion increases on both sides.
This biblically-based leadership principle will be the most controversial. This one is close to humility to God but is more than that. As a leader, you must do as Jesus did and submit entirely to the divine will of God (Mark 10:45, KJV). As the submission is complete, the vision and grand design of God will be more transparent and enable the leader to serve more effectively, as the leader sees each person as divine progeny (Blanchard and Hodges, 2008, p.68). Once the leader acknowledges he is not all-knowing and all-powerful, he can see his followers as equals, not subservient. Equality engenders humility, servant leadership, and devotion.
All great leaders had a grand vision of the world they hoped to create through their leadership. Jesus was clear as to the vision for his mission (Mark 4:19, KJV). The leader must have a clear vision that “should express a higher purpose” (Blanchard and Hodges, 2008, p.85) than the typical business mission statements. A bright and high vision will inspire employees and followers to work for greater heights. If the vision is not clear, the mission will fail (Blanchard and Hodges, 2008, p.87).
In conclusion, by learning and integrating these five biblically-based leadership principles, your leadership will reach unlimited heights and guide you and your followers to greatness.
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Blanchard, K., & Hodges, P. (2008). Lead Like Jesus – Revisited. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.
Burkhart, A. (2015, January 23). A Biblical Mandate for Servant Leadership. Retrieved from The Institute for Faith, Work, and Economics.
Gaille, B. (2017, May 23). 29 Good Bible Sales Statistics. Retrieved from brandongaille.com.