Friday, April 11, 2008

Exemplary Leadership

Acts 1:8 provides Jesus’ last words to his followers. He exemplified promotion of vision. Kouzes and Posner suggest “Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership” (Kouzes & Posner, 2002, p. 13), we see in Christ also. They are (1) model the way, (2) inspire a shared vision, (3) challenge the process, (4) enable others to act, and (5) encourage the heart. (Kouzes & Posner, p. 13).

Leaders must model the way since “People first follow the person, then the plan” (Kouzes & Posner, 2002, p. 15). Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life.” (John 14:6, Today’s New International Version). Jesus modeled the way. Jesus is the way.

Leaders inspire a shared vision by, “…gaz[ing] across the horizon of time, imagining the attractive opportunities … when they and their constituents arrive at a distant destination” (Kouzes & Posner, 2002, p. 15). Jesus prayed, “That they may be one as we are one…so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me” (John 17:22-23).

Challenging the process, “Leaders venture out” (Kouzes & Posner, 2002, p. 16). Jesus’ entire ministry challenged the religious status quo (John 2:14-15, for instance). He was continually challenged concerning his methods.

“Leaders make it possible for others to do good work” (Kouzes & Posner, 2002, p. 18). Jesus sent the disciples out without him (Mark 6:7) and gave the Holy Spirit for empowerment. He prepared them so that they accomplished great things.

“Leaders encourage the heart of their constituents to carry on” (Kouzes & Posner, 2002, p. 19). Jesus embodied “Genuine acts of caring [that] uplift the spirits and draw people forward” (Kouzes & Posner, p. 19). A small band multiplied because of this (Matthew 11:28).

References

Holy Bible (2005). Today’s New International Version. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

(Kouzes J M Posner B Z 2002 Leadership Challenge)Kouzes, J. M., & Posner, B. Z. (2002). Leadership Challenge (3rd ed.). San Francisco:
Jossey-Bass.

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