Festival of words and likeness*
May 24, 2018
‘It can be done!’
May 25, 2018

The Executive case for Jesus*

By Laura Ann Phillips
What makes a real leader?

Consider the leaders you’ve known. How many were indecisive, petty personages, carrying titles listed high on the organizational chart, but lacking the emotional intelligence to forge a grouping forward.

A Jesuit scholar says Jesus is the perfect model for all Christian leaders. But, how practical is that in the real world?

To find out, we compared the three attributes he said were inherent in Jesus’ leadership style, to three qualities in Forbes Magazine that a former executive says are indispensable to today’s leaders.

1. Authenticity.

In his 2012 article, “A Reflection on Jesus’ Leadership”, Fr Thomas Shufflebotham, SJ, says, “Jesus teaches by word and example, and what he says and does are in perfect harmony with who he is. He does not twist or manipulate the truth.”

In the June 2013 Forbes article, “Five Ways Leaders Earn Respect From Their Employees”, former C-suite executive, Glen Llopis, says, “There are many leaders that play the part on the outside, but have very little substance on the inside,” he said, calling the quality, “Consistently Strong Work Ethic; Set The Standard”.

“Respected leaders are those who consistently prove through their work ethic that they are reliable and trustworthy on the inside and out.”
2. “Walking On In Faith.”

Cited the narrative from Luke’s gospel that shows the resolve with which Jesus moved knowingly ahead toward difficult times, Shufflebotham explained, “As we keep step with Christ we gaze ahead, but without ignoring or downplaying the past; and all in a spirit of faith and courage, imitating Jesus who, says Luke, ‘resolutely turned his face towards Jerusalem’ ” (Lk 9:51).

Llopis agreed, describing this quality: “Not Afraid To Take Risks”.

“Respected leaders are… bold enough to change the conversation and seamlessly challenge the status quo for the betterment of the organization and their competitive advantage.

“They can anticipate when a paradigm shift is in order and are courageous enough to act on it.”
3. The Compassion of Christ.

“God’s compassion, incarnate in Jesus, embraces the crowd,” noted Shufflebotham. “He had compassion on the multitude (Mk 6:34) and he longed and longed to gather Jerusalem and her children together as a hen gathers her chicks.”

“He died ‘to gather together into one the scattered children of God’ (Jn 11:52), having prayed beforehand ‘that they may all be one’ ” (Jn 17:21).

Jesus didn’t make a show of his Lordship over others, and doesn’t expect His disciples to do that, either.

“When he imparts leadership to Peter it is in the imagery of shepherding,” noted Shufflebotham, “a preference for the intimate and the personal touch rather than dragooning.”

Llopis believes that too many leaders, “don’t take the time to genuinely learn about other’s needs”. They don’t, ‘Have Their Employees’ Backs; Deflect Their Own Recognition’.

“Leadership is ultimately about knowing the people you serve and giving them the guidance, inspiration and navigational tools to make their lives better and enable more opportunities.”

Seems Jesus was the ultimate C-suite executive, after all. And more.

Forbes Magazine – “Five Ways Leaders Earn Respect From Their Employees” 

“A Reflection on Jesus’ Leadership” by Thomas Shufflebotham, SJ