We live in an age when we are taught nonstop about leaders and leadership. That is a good thing but my question is, whose leadership methods and standards are we taught, the world’s or God’s? Which one will bring about the best results for the leader and followers? I hope that this article will help explain what God’s methods and standards are and why we should follow them if we want to be accomplished leaders. Let us read a little from II Corinthians 1.
1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, To the church of God which is at Corinth with all the saints who are throughout Achaia : 2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 5 For just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ. 6 But if we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation ; or if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which is effective in the patient enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer ;
A good leader communicates with his disciples (1:1-2)
Not only is the lack of good communication about the number one reason why marriages fall apart, it is also an important reason why friendships fall apart. How many times have you seen best friends become worst enemies over a lack of communication? A small conflict is not resolved because a breakdown in communication and best friends are all of a sudden mortal enemies. Maybe even immediate family members in many cases. Siblings go years without speaking even though we have all of modern communication at our fingertips. A good leader will insist on communicating with his followers, teaching them how to be communicators as well. Do you value communication? Are there important people in your life who you just cannot get around to communicating with? If you are a leader or want to be a leader then you need to learn to communicate now. Write emails, texts, and talk on the phone so that the line of communication is always open. Take the initiative to reach out to others. Do not assume that they need to reach out to you. It is a bit easier to communicate with others when there is no conflict but how do you communicate once a conflict has already begun? Maybe it was your fault or maybe it was the fault of the other person, that does not matter. You need to be the one to take initiative and reach out to communicate with the other person so that the conflict can be resolved. Paul did this even though he was the one being wrongly accused in the conflict. He took time to get paper and pen (not an easy task in his day), research the situation, write to resolve the conflict, and pay to have the letter sent to the ones who were doing him wrong. How much easier is it for us today with the internet and cell phones? We really have no excuses, yet many times we avoid communicating in the midst of a conflict which just makes things worse, even when it is not our fault. We are to take initiative like Paul and do what needs to be done to communicate in the midst of a conflict. That is the mark of a good leader.
He is comforted so that he can comfort others (1:3-4)
A good leader faces difficult situations like all people. He is not exempt from them. The difference is the way that he handles the situation, the difficult times. He knows that God allows these difficult times to arise so that He (God) can comfort him (the leader) in the midst of the difficulties. What could be a better gift than to receive comfort from the God of the universe? There is no better form of comfort. How do you respond to difficult circumstances? Do you lose your cool over them and miss out on God’s comfort? Or, do you see the situation for what it is, something that God allowed for your own good so that He could step in and offer His comfort? The outcome of the difficult circumstance depends on how you go though it, what type of attitude that you have. A good leader goes thought it knowing that God wants to and will comfort him if he will just trust Him. Once a good leader has been comforted by God, he becomes more sensitive to the suffering of others and wants to reach out and comfort them with God’s comfort. Many times, if we have not gone through difficult times, then we do not notice the people around us who are or, we notice but do not know how to help, or even want to if we were to be totally honest. Once we suffer through hard times, then our eyes are opened to the suffering of others. We have learned the source of true comfort so we want to share that with others in the midst of their pain. Are you sensitive to the difficult things others are facing? Do you seek to reach out to them and share God’s comfort with them? When is the last time you reach out to a struggling person and helped him or her with God’s comfort?
He thinks about serving others at all times (1:5-6)
When things are going well for him, he actively seeks to serve others. He is not the type to think, “things are going well right now so I need to focus on me while it lasts”. He wants to be a servant leader. He does not want to be served (which is the natural tendency of a leader or person in power). He follows the example of Christ, who came to serve and not be served even though He is the Creator of all things and deserved to be served. What do you use your position and leadership skills for, to serve others or to be served by them? This will be seen through your attitude and actions. In the midst of difficult situations, he does not focus on himself but instead, he focuses on serving others. He thinks about the needs of others. He prays about them and tries to help when he can. Many times, when people suffer they focus inward and become depressed. A good leader seeks to serve when things go well and when they do not go so well. He is focused on the needs of others. He has the character and attitude of Jesus Christ. When Christ suffered the cross, He entrusted Himself to God and thought of the benefits that the church would receive because of His persecution, death, burial, and resurrection from the dead. Are you a servant leader at all times? Are your thoughts more about your needs or the needs of others?
In conclusion, God has a different set of standards for leadership than the standards set by the world. As a leader, whose standards are you following? Do you want Godly results? You have to do it God’s way then.