4 Ways to Lead Like Jesus

Surprising Leadership Lessons from the Life of Christ

By: Dr. Stan Toler

Much of the advice you’ll hear on leadership has to do with technique. We spend lots of time figuring out how to do leadership.

Leadership, however, is more art than science. It’s mostly about who you are. 

For lessons on how to be a leader, there’s no better place to turn than to the life of Jesus. Here are four great life lessons from the master leader of all time.

Be True to Your Purpose.

The first test of Jesus’ leadership was not a challenge in casting vision or managing for results. It was a personal conflict that had to do with his ability to remain true to himself and the mission he’d been given by the Father.

Matthew records the story of Jesus’ temptations in the wilderness (Matthew 4:1-11). Three times the tempter tried to pull Jesus off mission by appealing to his personal needs. Three times Jesus refused to give in to temptation.

Jesus had a strong sense of who he was and what he was doing. How about you?

Be Strong in the Face of Criticism.

If you think your vision or leadership meets tough opposition, I assure you it’s nothing compared to the ministry of Jesus. His critics wanted to kill him! (John 11:45-47)

Jesus refused to allow the critics to influence his actions or control his agenda. He either ignored them or silenced them with his superior wisdom, but he never allowed them to pull him off message.

If you don’t have any critics, you’re probably not attempting much. If you listen to your critics, you’re probably not accomplishing much.

Be Kind to Yourself.

It surprises some people to learn that Jesus was good at what we now call self-care. He knew what it took to refuel himself physically and spiritually, and he often frustrated both fans and critics by wandering away for some private time (Luke 5:16).

Be Passionate about Your Mission.

Most of us have drawn a line in the sand, somewhere in the back of our minds. We have placed a limit on the level of risk we’ll accept to accomplish our mission.

While it’s true that we must practice self-care to lead for the long haul, you’ll never get far with a governor on your engine.

Jesus was willing to sacrifice his life, as we know. He was also willing to sacrifice a comfortable lifestyle, the good opinion of his family and many other things that we take for granted.

What will you give up to achieve your goal? If the answer is “Nothing I’m not already giving,” then you’ve gone as far as you’re likely to go.

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