A friend of mine and I were recently talking about leadership, especially his role as supervisor at his place of work. He felt like he wasn’t really a supervisor or boss because he doesn’t give people orders, nor did he expect those he supervised to obey him as a “boss.” He was just one of the employees who happened to have a title.
I reminded him that his subordinates did whatever he asked and were always willing to help him in whatever he was doing. He didn’t have trouble with them and the tasks that needed to be accomplished were completed on time. He didn’t think that meant he was their leader. I said that it meant that it showed exemplary leadership: his people follow him willingly out of love and loyalty. They care about him and he cared about them. He led by example, not order. He led by serving. I asked him, “maybe that’s a sign of a true leader, you think?”
Jesus instructed his disciples to lead as servants, not as overbearing masters (Mark 10:42-45). They were to love people, not lord over them. True leadership is seen not in how many people one supervises nor the title one holds; true leadership is in how one treats others.
A sign of a good leader is he doesn’t have to tell people to do something, asking is good enough. Another sign is people want to follow the leader. Does this mean every leader must be humble to the point of timidity? No. But neither does it mean they are to subjugate their people. I’m reminded of something my parents always told me: there’s being boss, then there’s being bossy—know the difference.
As my friend continues serving God in his work, I pray God blesses him for his leadership skills. We need more leaders like my friend . . . more leaders like Jesus.