Would you choose Jesus to run your company? I never thought much about that question until I picked up a copy of Laurie Beth Jones’s book, Jesus, CEO, many years ago. Jones challenges readers to take a close look at the way that Jesus organized and inspired those around him to accomplish great things. Over time, Jesus’ methods have been tested and proven.
When we think about the life of Jesus, we tend to focus on his humility, compassion, and sacrifice—traits that we should all strive to bring to the workplace. Yet there’s also a lot to learn from the practical ways Jesus led his team.
In a relatively short time, Jesus called together an unlikely group of men, built them up, and inspired them to literally change the world. Researcher Liz Wiseman refers to such leaders as multipliers because they amplify the talents and capabilities of those around them. Her book Multipliers emphasizes that while the best leaders are humble and care passionately about their team, they are almost shockingly hard-edged. They see great things in their people, and they expect great things. We see this kind of exacting leadership in the way that Jesus offered blunt correction to his disciples (see Matthew 8:26; Matthew 14:31; Luke 9:46–48). Jesus loved his disciples, but he cared more about their development and their purpose than about their immediate comfort.
What were some of Jesus’ other leadership secrets?
Jesus Knew Who He Was
I often tell my team that I know who I am, and I freely admit my own shortcomings. I know myself and what I’m good at, and it helps me prioritize both my work and my team’s. But Jesus knew who he was at a much deeper level. How often and in how many ways did he tell people that he was God’s son? Few understood him, and fewer still believed him. But the opinions and expectations of others never changed his opinion of himself.
Jesus Understood His Calling
Jesus knew without any doubt that he had been sent to earth to fulfill God’s covenant. He knew that his incarnation would require him to suffer to the point of death, and that his calling ran completely contrary to what people expected of him. The pressure on Jesus to rescue the Jewish people and establish a new Israel in his immediate time and place must have been tremendous. He had the power to do what others expected of him, yet he did not waiver in his commitment to his calling. He suffered death in order to do what the Father called him to do.
One great example of this type of resolve is my mentee Liz Bohannon, Founder of Sseko Designs. Liz and I recently had a conversation about some of the issues we see in the workforce as many people approach their careers with the expectation that “work shouldn’t be hard.”