In our society today there is an unwritten belief that leadership and strength are synonymous. While the premise may be true, there is strength in leadership, great leaders have come to understand the needed strength for effective leadership. Many leaders are still seeking. At one time I led a group to explore eight different types of strength. We looked at definitions, textbook examples, as well as examples in our own lives, and scripture for help with each strength type.
There are leaders who believe he/she must be dominant in physical strength to keep others in line and productive. Showing off physical strength or prowess does not impress workers, nor will it motivate. Likewise, there are leaders who believe they must possess a mental strength over others in order to keep them in submission. Perhaps similar to an abusive husband over his wife. He does not have to speak to keep her in submission. It does not take a genius to realize this will not motivate people to work.
Others believe a dominant speech/vocal strength will bring about productivity. This can appear in three different ways. 1) Using big “college degree” words, fancy language. Truth is, if you cannot relate to those you lead in words they understand, you’re not going to motivate them to productivity. 2) cursing, using harsh, belittling language. Belittling language never motivated anyone to do anything productive. Neither has cursing. 3) Hard, aggressive, threatening language. This is a military-style leadership “Drill Sergeant.” While this type of leadership may work in the military with recruits, it rarely gains respect in the corporate world. Without the respect of those you lead, you will not truly lead, only holding a position of leadership.
There is another, a much greater strength to be exercised in leadership. No one can doubt or question the strength of Jesus Christ as He dealt with people, friend, and foe during His ministry. Jesus was such a master at leadership strength that He could deliver it with compassion or confrontation. In Matthew 7: 24-25 He said, “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock.”
To see the strength of these words and all Jesus had spoken in the previous 3 chapters, The Sermon on the Mount, is to read the final verses of chapter seven: “And when Jesus finished these sayings, the crowds were astonished at his teaching, 29 for he was teaching them as one who had authority, and not as their scribes.” They were astonished or amazed. Why? Because He was teaching them with authority which apparently the Scribes did not. Jesus had an air of compassion and concern about Him. Everyone in His presence could sense His teaching was different. His teaching was for their benefit, not His own.
What can you do this week to improve your leadership and communication with others to be more like this style of Jesus?
George Yates is the Church Health Strategist for the Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions, assisting churches and individuals in pursuing God’s purpose for life. Learn more at ALSBOM.org/revitalization.