Effective leaders are not aloof but connect with the people in their sphere of influence. Read John 4:1-26.
Do you have trouble connecting with your team? John Maxwell discusses what he calls “The Law of Connection” from this passage where Jesus connects with a woman from Samaria and changes an entire city.
We don’t even know her name. Other Jews wouldn’t even speak with her. Yet because Jesus was different, He spoke with this Samaritan woman – a snubbed gender within a despised race. Through this personal connection, God reached an entire city. We learn at least eight principles from Jesus’ leadership in John 4:
- Leaders initiate contact (vv1-7). Jesus spoke first. He didn’t isolate Himself even from “undesirables.”
- Leaders establish common ground (vv. 7-8). He connected with her about a familiar interest: water.
- Leaders listen and allow others to speak (v. 9). He knew people like to hear their own voices most of all.
- Leaders arouse interest (v10-15). Jesus built a verbal bridge by making her thirsty for something more than water.
- Leaders take others only so far as they are ready to go (vv. 16-19). Jesus knew He mustn’t go too far. He said enough to make her hungry for more.
- Leaders accept others where they are (vv17, 18). Jesus knew her lifestyle, but never condemned her for it.
- Leaders stick with the key issues (vv. 20-24). He didn’t allow her to get distracted. He wouldn’t divert the focus from the real issue.
- Leaders communicate issues directly and simply (vv. 25-26). Jesus revealed His identity in clear and simple terms.
In your everyday leadership style do you tend to avoid people or connect with people? Jesus, the only perfect leader to ever live, modeled a leader that connected – even with a person others avoided at all costs.
Effective communication is critical for every leader. Read John 3:16-18.
Jesus was able to capture the essence of His mission on earth in approximately 75 words. In fact the first 25 or 26 words of His mission statement have been memorized and can be quoted by millions of Christians even today. Jesus was so effective in the communication of His mission that most people, even those who are not close followers of Jesus, don’t even have to see the actual words but only the reference title of John 3:16 to recall Jesus’ mission. Effective leaders understand the value in developing their communication skills.
The effective leader finds a number of ways to constantly restate the goals and priorities of their mission. Read Luke 15:1-32.
Jesus was clear about His mission. According to Luke 19:10 He came “…to seek and to save what was lost”; those that were separated from God. Jesus found many ways to communicate that goal to the crowds that followed Him, His team, and the religious and political leaders. In Luke 15 Jesus reinforced His mission through three different stories about different situations; the sheep were lost naturally, the coin got lost accidentally, and the son got lost willfully. No matter what created the lost condition, Jesus came to find and help those who were separated from God.
Effective leaders know the powerful secret of being a good listener. Read Luke 2:41-52.
The Old Testament required those of the Jewish faith to go to Jerusalem each year to make special offerings at the temple and take part in the Feast of Passover. Children, including Jesus, were left behind until they reached the age of accountability. When Jesus was 12 his parents took Him with them to the Passover but when they left Jerusalem for the trip home, unknown to His parents, Jesus stayed behind. After three days of searching, His parents found Jesus in the temple courts “sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions.”
The effective leader understands the value and dangers of exhortation. Read Mark 6:14-29.
John the Baptist, Jesus’ cousin and friend had publicly exhorted King Herod saying “It is unlawful for you to have your brother’s wife.” Herod’s response was to have John imprisoned. Herodias, the wife in question, responded by nursing a grudge! Ultimately, Herodias, through her daughter, got her chance to publicly exhort Herod to kill John and, socially backed into a corner before his friends, Herod had John executed. Lest we be too hard on King Herod, most leaders written about in the Bible responded unfavorably to prophetic exhortation or rebuke. How a leader responds to exhortation says a lot about their character or lack of character.