Christian Worldview of Leadership
The Christian worldview of leadership is distinctly different from most secular views on the subject. In the secular, leadership tends to be viewed primarily in terms of a company’s bottom line and how well the leader can urge employees to produce more and better work. That view is profit-centered rather than person-centered, and it does not give much attention to employees’ human needs and qualities nor on how developing excellent work relationships can promote productivity. In the Christian worldview, however, people are key, and their human needs are important. The leader in the Christian worldview understands how meeting employees’ needs promotes the kind of productivity desired and how developing strong work relationships can do more for the company’s success than micromanaging or other forms of harassment can achieve. This paper will discuss the characteristics of a leader and the keys of leadership, group behavior, and conflict management and resolution from the Christian perspective. Leadership
Today’s business leaders often have difficult tasks to achieve in turning around failing companies and galvanizing an overworked workforce fearful of losing their jobs, but their tasks do not outweigh those of the great Biblical leaders, such as Moses, who led the Israelites out of bondage, or David, who had to slay the giant before becoming a leader. The characteristics of a leader in the Biblical context still differs to some extent from those generally attributed to leaders in the secular context. Biblical leaders are courageous and decisive, for example. Moses’ leadership was marked by courage born of faith. Although his life was spared from Pharaoh’s decree that all firstborn sons would be killed, Hebrews 11:24 states, “By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter.” In other words, he did not try to live a lie to protect himself from the decree but acknowledged his Hebrew heritage, trusting God to protect him. David likewise did not hesitate at all to fight Goliath, reasoning that the same God that had delivered him “out of the paw of the lion and out of the paw of the bear” that he had previously slain would “deliver [him] out of the hand of this Philistine” (1 Samuel 17:37). David’s faith is in his covenant with God rather than in his own strength, and he is so sure of victory that he does not even wear armor for the battle. Courage based on faith is not something that can be determined from a company’s balance sheet or the situation at hand. Both Moses and David were in what seemed like impossible circumstances, yet they triumphed. Transactional leadership is a traditional leadership method that has long been used in secular circles. It is characterized by both active and passive management by exception and contingent reward (Zhu, Sosik, Riggio, & Yang, 2012, p. 192). Transactional leadership focuses on addressing problems rather than on promoting employee engagement. By contrast, transformational leadership strives to inspire, intellectually stimulate, and motivate employees by treating them as individuals and leveraging their talents and insight (Zhu, Sosik, Riggio, & Yang, 2012, p. 192). Although both forms of leadership occur in the Bible, the greatest leaders are transformational leaders who cast the vision for their followers that inspires them to achieve great things. In some cases, the transformational leader is also a servant leader. This is true of Jesus, who insisted on washing the feet of His disciples. Matthew 20:26 states, “...whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant.” Hannay (2009) contrasts the traditional leader with the servant leader, citing Greenleaf, who developed the concept of the latter: “Greenleaf identified the principal motive of the traditional leader as being the desire to lead followers to achieve organizational objectives...[while] the...
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