Leadership matters. Great leaders are a strategic leverage point for personal, business and organizational influence and transformation. There are now literally hundreds of interpretations of what constitutes great leadership. Too often the focus is on position, power, or charisma. Images of a ‘strong leader’ are still often characterized by the proverbial knight in shining armor who single single-handedly crushes any problem.
But Christian business leaders are called to a higher purpose. They are called to radical discipleship, the kind of leadership that flows from the inside-out and is based on Jesus’ call that, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me” (Mark 8:34). This is a powerful style of leadership that can yield equally powerful results, though it’s far from simple or easy.
While there are many important distinctions of radical discipleship, here are three of the most important.
LEARN TO FOLLOW
Strong leaders know how to follow well.. In Philippians 2:6-11 there are three key characteristics of followership demonstrated in the life of Christ:
- Surrender and Submission: Recognize that you are just one part of your business, and are part of a higher plan. How are you showing humility in your daily business life?
- Servanthood: Do you seek to be served or to serve? Are you helping be a conduit for growth in your business and employees, or do you see your employees and customers as a means to growth for yourself?
- Seeking God’s Splendor: How are you bringing God into your business on a daily basis? Is He in your marketing? Your HR processes? Your value chain?
Empowering others through delegation is one of the simplest ways you can display radical discipleship in your business. Susan Scott said in her brilliant book, Fierce Conversations, “Trying to build leaders by regularly exposing them to your brilliance guarantees a lack of development. You will not have allowed anyone around you to show up with solutions outside the reach of your own personal headlights. If your employees believe their job is to do what you tell them, you’re sunk.” The bottom line is that radical discipleship starts with effective delegation. Creating space and support so people can realize their potential is a powerful development tool.
What would your work and personal life look like if you were thankful every day? To be thankful for the blessings in your life-for your partners, suppliers, customers and family? When we believe we ‘deserve’ the gifts in our lives, our expectations dwarf thankfulness. We simply expect things, and as a consequence, we miss the gift and only expect more. How can you express thankfulness to God and to others around you?
Jesus provides a powerful template for business leadership one rooted in delegation, trust, and thankfulness. Living out radical discipleship in your business will help you build an inspiring and aspiring organization.
Cheering you on!
Dr. Steve Brown
President, Arrow Leadership