Sacrificial Leadership

This is not a thesis about how Mary conceived Jesus, whether or not He really existed or His demise on the cross. It is sufficient to say that I am a strong and firm believer in the man called Christ Jesus and the values and principles He taught in the Bible and that I do my best to live by them every day.

In my opinion, Jesus was one of, if not the most, influential people to ever walk the face of this earth. There is so much to His life and personality to explore that it would take years to dissect all the layers. For this commentary, I will focus on his leadership and what I have learned from studying Him.

Of all the characteristics he displayed as a leader, today I will focus on sacrifice. There are some great examples of sacrificial leadership being demonstrated in our country today by front line workers who take their positions to help the population fight the novel Corona virus while risking their own health. I applaud them and thank them for their service.

Simply put, a sacrificial leader puts others before themselves.

The dictionary definition of sacrifice is “the surrender or destruction of something desired for the sake of a higher or more pressing claim.”

Jesus’ life was a lesson in love. Love for His heavenly Father which He showed by sacrificing His own desires to do what His Father wanted Him to do. And love for his followers to the point of giving up His own life for His friends in the Ultimate Sacrifice.

Instead of usurping His authority as a leader, Jesus exemplified servanthood when He washed the feet of His followers to accentuate the principle that anyone who wants to be great must make himself the servant of all.

He was a compassionate leader with a heart for the people. He empowered them with His message and enabled them to think at a higher level to improve their living conditions.

Ritesh Daryani explains what that looks like in a modern organization.

“It is a myth that sacrificial leader forgets about his own aspirations and slogs for the team. On the contrary sacrificial leader does his job of developing others so well and looking at their needs that in turn he grows in that position and people recognize him as a great leader in the organization.”

Sacrificial leaders empower their followers to tap into and unlock their hidden potential then deploy them to go influence and impact their families, organizations and communities.

“Sacrificial leader to me is the one who invests time in developing others, fights for team members’ interests keeping in mind organizational goals and priorities, goes out of the way to help team members, and also provides resources to the team to meet overall team goals.” Daryani says.

A true leader equips people for life, not just for work and that is evident in the leadership characteristics of Jesus.

Here are some other principles that I’ve learned from studying the life of Jesus:

1. He lived a life of conviction, not one catering to public opinion

2. His leadership was exponential – it is still impacting us in the 21st century

3. He prioritized quiet time – prayer and meditation

4. He had a laser-like focus on his vision and mission

5. He developed His followers well to continue the work He started after He left

6. Bringing transformation to people’s lives is a process, not an overnight accomplishment

7. No matter how good your intentions are you will be criticized

8. Forgiveness is a necessary element in leadership

9. Make Love the foundation of your leadership values

10. Leaders who lead from a place of love are fearless

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