Ask yourself this question, “Why would anyone want to be led by me?”
I read an article in a Harvard Business Review book, and the author asked this question. The author and his team have asked this question dozens of times at executive conferences through the years and they report one reaction…
Without fail, the response is a sudden, stunned hush – all you can hear are knees knocking!
This has been a question that I have asked about my leadership – Why would someone want to follow me? And about other leaders – Why would I want to follow them?
In this Age of Disenchantment about our leaders, those of us who decide to be leaders should know what the Bible teaches about inspiring others.
Humility. This is the first principle of leadership. Describing Jesus, the Apostle Paul writes…
Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant (Philippians 2:5-7, ESV).
It’s difficult to get up in the morning and declare, “I’m going to be a humbler person today.” Humility comes by looking to Jesus, listening to his Words, and obeying.
Jesus attracted others because He looked to the Father and obeyed. Great leaders follow His example.
Honesty. Warning: don’t try this leadership trait without a measure of humility.
People can sense a fake leader, someone who uses authenticity as manipulation, but we are inspired by someone confessing inadequacy, and still striving for victory.
Next to Jesus, the Apostle Paul is the most successful leader in history. I know why he inspired millions…
The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost (1 Timothy 1:15).
A leader loses authority when followers discover the leader’s weaknesses through outbursts, bad example, or social media posts. Those who follow are inspired to help a leader with weaknesses.
They think, “This is my role, where I can truly help this leader!”
Heroic. I find inspiration in following someone born in a manger rather than a palace.
All of us want heroes. The world is now entranced with one leader who said, “I don’t want a ride, I want bullets.” People follow stories today and we love the impossible becoming a reality.
True heroes are equal parts humility (“I couldn’t have done this without others”) and honesty (“I could have easily failed, but I had to try”).
Jesus was humble, honest, and heroic. Yes, He was perfect, so His humility, honesty, and heroic actions were about God loving us rather than overcoming His own inadequacies.
But He dealt powerfully with the difficulties and problems of our lives and of history!
Is there a greater story of leadership than God who became flesh? As Paul writes…
Being found in appearance as a man, Jesus humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name (Philippians 2:8-9).
The three “H” leadership qualities of great leaders: Humility, Honesty, and Heroic. As we lead, let’s follow the example of Christ!
I hope many will say about you, “I know why I want to follow!”