I love leadership. I’m passionate about leading well. I want to jump out of my skin, inspired, when I see an extraordinary leader in action. I want to go into hiding and never emerge again when I fail remarkably in critical leadership moments. I want to study, learn, grow and develop as a leader because I believe that great leadership is essential. It’s necessary. Leaders shape human lives and for that reason I believe leadership is sacred work.
What does it take to be an extraordinary leader? How do we steward this responsibility well?
In the gospel of Mark, chapter 12, Jesus was being challenged with controversial questions about taxes and the resurrection. The final question posed to him was, “Which commandment is the most important of all?” (v. 28 ESV). Jesus responded with a fundamental biblical truth known as the Shema, or more commonly understood as the Great Commandment: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength” (v. 30). Then he proceeded to give those questioning him the second-greatest commandment: “Love your neighbor as yourself” (v. 31).
The Shema, or the Great Commandment, has enormous implications for us as leaders. This is where extraordinary is found.
Within the Great Commandment is the model for extraordinary leadership. The more I’ve studied and read about leadership, the more formulas I’ve tried, the more strategies I’ve created and the more I’ve found my leadership theory come back to these original commandments of Jesus.
When Jesus asked us to love God with our heart, soul, mind and strength, he was essentially saying that we should love God with all of ourselves — with everything in us. When he says love your neighbor as yourself, again the implication is to love with all of who you are.
And so when I consider my life as a leader, it means leading with all of who I am for the benefit of God and others by developing my heart for relational leadership, my soul for spiritual leadership, my mind for strategic leadership and my strength for visionary leadership. Leadership requires all of us—our hearts, our souls, our minds and our strength.