One Size Fits All Leadership

One Size Fits All Leadership

On this first day of 2015, perhaps you’re already making plans for how you will become a better leader in the New Year.  Did you know? According to Forbe’s Magazine, approximately 40 percent of Americans make New Year’s resolutions.  Unfortunately, they also estimate only 8 percent of us keep them.

So what’s the key to success?  It starts by honestly admitting to what hasn’t worked out in the past, and making simple changes to our behavior going forward.

If your New Year’s resolutions revolve around leadership, the best way to ensure success is to follow the example of the greatest Leader of all time: Jesus.  So today, let’s take a look at how Jesus managed to lead His diverse team of disciples, helping them to move in ability from novices to masters.

As leaders we are often responsible for managing various personalities among our teams, as well as employees with different skill levels. For each personality and skill level, we need to employ a distinct leadership approach in order for our teams to stay encouraged and perform to the best of their abilities.

This was certainly the case for Jesus, who effectively managed various personalities and understood how to help grow His disciples from pure novices all the way to masters of their trade.

Recall this example from Matthew 17, when the disciples were discouraged as apprentices. After they were unsuccessful in casting a demon out of a young boy, the boy’s father brought him to Jesus instead.

“Lord, have mercy on my son,” he said. “He has seizures and is suffering greatly. He often falls into the fire or into the water. I brought him to your disciples but they could not heal him.” After Jesus healed the boy the disciples came to Jesus in private and asked, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?” 

New to the task of being fishers of men, His disciples experienced a setback to their confidence when they discovered they were not competent to handle every situation. Think how the disciples must have felt: frustrated, uncertain, embarrassed.

But observe how Jesus responded to them. He used an appropriate leadership style to respond to the disciples’ disillusionment when He replied to their question:

“Because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed you can say to this mountain, move from here to there and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”

Notice that Jesus did not scold the disciples. He did not lose his temper with them. Instead, He gave them the support they needed when they were discouraged. He also gave them very specific directions on why they could not heal the boy. Nowhere in the Scriptures do we find a time when Jesus blasted the disciples because of a mistake they made!

It is vital for leaders to provide clear direction and information in a loving manner. If you are to follow the example of Jesus as a leader, never demean people or try to make them feel inferior because of a failure on their part. Just like Jesus, you should let the love you have for those with whom you work shine through. Let your desire to lead like Jesus always direct your behavior.

So as we begin this New Year, think about the people you’ve been entrusted to influence. What will it take to lead each of them effectively in 2015?

As a father leading your children, as a teacher leading your students, or as a boss leading your employees, are you taking under consideration differences in personalities and skill levels? Or are you applying one-size fits all principle? 

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