Open Journal of Leadership
2013. Vol.2, No.4, 103-105
Published Online December 2013 in SciRes (
Open Access 103
Leading as Jesus Led: Christ Models of Leadership
Gabriel Kofi Boahen Nsiah
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Valley View University, Accra, Ghana
Received October 19th, 2013; revised No vember 19th, 2013; accepted November 25th, 2013
Copyright © 2013 Gabriel Kofi Boahen Nsiah. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative
Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium,
provided the original work is properly cited.
Good leadership is a challenge in most institutions and organizations in our world. This problem emanates
from having the right people to lead in such institutions and organizations. People have assumed leader-
ship responsibilities by virtue of the positions they occupy but they do not have the requisite leadership
training for that position. Others also have looked up to certain individuals who have their own challenges.
The problem of leadership in our world therefore calls for studies in finding solutions to the problems. In
view of this, Jesus Christ, the greatest leader ever lived, is brought into perspective. Christ leadership
models will inform all leaders as to what it takes to be a true leader. If these models are adopted, it will
help improve leadership skills in all institutions and organizations.
Keywords: Leadership; Leader; Servant Leadership; Model
Everyone demonstrates a certain level of leadership at some
point in life; formal or informal. In other words, we are all
leaders in one way or the other. In the home, parents are the
leaders. The children also exercise leadership roles and respon-
sibilities as being assigned by their parents or by themselves.
This could be termed informal or unofficial leadership. Official
leadership is leadership exercised either through appointment,
nomination or election by an established institution.
As much as leadership is exercised at every level of society,
but not every leader is versatile. In other words, there are good
leaders and bad leaders. While some receive training to assume
leadership responsibilities, others are leaders by virtue of the
position they occupy.
Leaders are expected to exhibit certain qualities. In view of
this, leaders have looked up to different individuals as their role
models. The greatest role model ever lived on our planet is
Jesus Christ. Jesus is a perfect example of all that we need to
know when it comes to leadership. If leaders would model the
greatest leader who ever lived, we would have a perfect society.
This article discusses the leadership models exhibited by Christ
when on earth.
Servant Leadership
Servant leadership refers to the philosophy of leadership that
puts serving others as the topmost priority. It calls for a holistic
approach to work, a sense of community and the sharing of
power in decision making (Questia, 2013). According to the
New York Times, servant leadership deals with the reality of
power in everyday lifeits legitimacy, the ethical restraints
upon it and the beneficial results that can be attained through
the appropriate use of power (October 2, 1990).
In Mathew 20: 24-28, Jesus spoke about servant leadership:
When the ten heard about this, they were indignant with the
two brothers. Jesus called them together and said, “You know
that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high
officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead,
whoever wants to become great among you must be your ser-
vant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slavejust as
the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to
give his life as a ransom for many.
The apostle Peter in I Peter 5: 1-4 also spoke clearly about
servant leadership:
To the elders among you, I appeal as a fellow elder and a
witness of Christs sufferings who also will share in the glory to
be revealed: Be shepherds of Gods flock that is under your
care, watching over themnot because you must, but because
you are willing, as God wants you to be; not pursuing dishonest
gain, but eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to
you, but being examples to the flock. And when the Chief Shep-
herd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will
never fade away.
Robert K. Greenleaf, founder of the modern Servant Leader-
ship movement and the Greenleaf Center for Servant Leader-
ship, explained who a servant leader is and how it works. Ac-
cording to Greenleaf (1970).
The servant-leader is serv ant first. It begins with the natural
feeling that one wants to serve. Then conscious choice brings
one to aspire to lead. The best test is: do those served grow as
persons: do they, while being served, become healthier, wiser,
more independent, more autonomous, more likely themselves to
become servants? What is the effect on the least privileged in
society; will they benefit, or, at least, not be further deprived?
(p. 27)
The Fortune Magazine also explained that:
Servant-leadership works like the consensus-building that
the Japanese are famous for. Yes, it takes a while on the front
end; everyones view is solicited, though everyone also under-
stands that his (or her) view may not ultimately prevail. How-
ever, once the consensus is f orged , watch out: With everyone on
board, your so-called implementation proceeds (May 4, 1992,
as cited in Greenleaf, 1998: p. 13).
In John 13: 3-5, Jesus demonstrated a servant leadership role
by washing the feet of his disciples so they could partake of the
last supper:
Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his
power, and that he had come from God and was returning to
God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing,
and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured
water into a basin and began to wash his disciplesfeet, drying
them with the towel that was wrapped around him.
The above demonstration is a perfect leadership model every
leader or prospective leader must learn and adapt to. Christ was
so humble to the extent of taking off His robe, picking up a
towel and bowing down to wash the feet of his followers. Ac-
cording to Finzel (2000), “servant leadership requires us to sit
and weep with those who weep within our organizations. It
requires getting down and dirty when hard work has to be
done.” In other words, servant leadership requires us to do the
miniature jobs such as trimming and watering the plants,
sweeping and mobbing the floor, picking up or throwing away
trash, arranging the desk and chairs for a meeting, attending to
the needs of our workers, etc. when the need arise.
Christ’s servant leadership model demonstrates that leaders
are called to serve but not to be served. Humility does not take
away respect. It portrays a Christ-like nature of a person as a
leader. I believe leaders who exhibit this trait will build trust
and respect with their employees. Servant leaders would inspire
their followers to work selflessly because of the respect shown
them by their leaders. Other leadership qualities exhibited by
Jesus are discussed below:
Another leadership model exhibited by Christ is vision.
Christ foresees the end from the beginning. In Matthew chapter
9:2, a paralytic was brought to Christ for healing. According to
the passage, when Jesus saw their faith, he knew what they
wanted and said to the paralytic, “Son, be of good cheer.” Jesus
had not had any encounter with the man but was able to envi-
sion the cause of the paralysis.
This is one of the most important qualities or skills a leader
must possess. Without vision, progress and development will
be obstructed. A leader should be able to foresee the end from
the beginning, must have foresight to know what is coming up
next. Vision brings about innovation, progress and development.
A leader who does not possess this quality could be compared
to a ship that moves without particular direction. Not only
should a leader possess visionary skills or quality, a leader’s
vision should be well stated and comprehensible to enable the
organization put the vision into reality.
Inter-Personal Intelligence
Inter-personal intelligence may be defined as the ability to
recognize or differentiate between people by face and voice; to
react appropriately to their needs, to understand their motives,
feelings and moods and to appreciate such perspectives with
sensitivity and empathy (Inspirational Breakthrough, 2003-
2005). In Matthew 9:4, Jesus exhibited inter-personal intelli-
gence. After telling the paralytic his sins are forgiven, He read
the thoughts of some of the Scribes, when they said within
themselves that He (Jesus) had blasphemed for saying that the
paralytic’s sins are forgiven. Inter-personal intelligence is a
vital leadership skill. It enables a leader to perceive and under-
stand the emotions of employees; their moods, desires and mo-
tivations. This would be very healthy for an organization. Un-
derstanding the feelings of workers will enable a leader meet
their needs. When workers get satisfaction or have their needs
met, production will be affected positive l y.
Non Segregationist
Another leadership quality exhibited by Christ is His impar-
tial love for all. In John 4: 4-42, Jesus crosses both social and
religious barriers. In the story of the Samaritan woman, Jesus
did not only converse with a Samaritan, but a Samaritan who
was a woman. Jewish culture in those days frowned on conver-
sations between male and female. Besides, the Jews and Sa-
maritans did not get along, but Jesus crossed those barriers. Our
society today and leaders in particular, need to cross these bar-
riers as well. Some women suffer to gain employment in many
places in the world because of their gender. Some organizations
or individuals would not employ a woman because a woman
may need maternity leave and other breaks when employed.
Others also suffer unemployment because of their race, sex or
tribe. Jesus models the style for all leaders. Leaders must avoid
all forms of discriminations and provide equal opportunity for
everyone. Also, in John 11, Jesus crossed the social barrier by
having a conversation with a woman called Martha of Bethany.
In Matthew 6: 5-14, Jesus model as a teacher. He taught his
disciples how to pray. Leaders must possess teaching skills.
Leaders will have to teach their employees certain things they
need to know about the organization. Even though experts
could be invited to speak on certain issues, a leader must dem-
onstrate his or her competency to teach employees once a
Resource Provider
Another model of Christ leadership is depicted in John
2:1-11. Jesus modeled care: He was the resource provider for a
wedding. According to the story, the wedding banquet run out
of wine and Jesus provided some by turning water into wine.
Leaders have the responsibility to provide resources for their
organizations or institutions. Without the needed resources,
organizations cannot function. Leaders must ensure that both
human and material resources are made available to the or-
ganization to enhance production. Had it not been the presence
of Jesus at the wedding, the banquet would have been brought
to a premature end due to inadequate supply of resources, in
this situation, wine. In the thick of the emergency situation,
Christ demonstrated his leadership skills by providing wine to
serve the guests.
Christ also demonstrated to leaders that their skills are not
limited to being used to serve the organizations they serve; they
must be a blessing to all people at all times and in any place
they find themselves. Christ was an invited guest at the wed-
ding, but He stepped in when it mattered most. A true leader is
one who skillfully handles emergency situations by providing
the needed support for the organization or community as a
Open Access
Open Access 105
Jesus also exhibited a unique character in John 5: 5, 6: 5, 9,
11, and Matthew 14: 14. In John 5: 5-9, Christ had compassion
on a man who had lain by a pool side for thirty-eight years. The
man was made whole when Christ asked him to pickup his bed
and walk. In John 6: 5, Christ had compassion on a multitude
that came to listen to him. He fed them until they were full and
there were left-overs. In John 9, Christ showed compassion
toward a blind man. The man had been blind since birth but
when he met Christ, he received his sight. Also in John 11,
Lazarus was resurrected from the grave when he received
compassion from Christ.
Leaders need compassion in other to treat their workers hu-
manely. Jesus performed those miracles so we will also learn to
treat others humanely and learn to give others a second chance.
Leaders need to let their workers or followers feel good about
themselves. This will heighten motivation and boost produc-
Delegation with Authority
In Matthew 10, Christ delegated responsibility to his disci-
ples. He sent them to go out and preach the gospel, baptizing
anyone who accepted the Lord as his personal Savior. Jesus did
not only delegate responsibility to the disciples; He also gave
them authority over evil spirits and power to heal disease. I am
wondering how many leaders feel comfortable delegating re-
sponsibility to their workers, and will also give them authority
to act on their behalf. Some leaders feel that their positions are
threatened if they should allow delegation of responsibilities to
other people.
Delegation is vital in leadership and administration. Most
leaders are burning out because they have not learned to dele-
gate responsibilities. Delegation would reduce the workload on
a leader, therefore a good leader must learn to entrust responsi-
bilities to others. A good leader is one who has somebody to
assume his responsibilities when absent. In the absence of a
leader, if there is no one to assume your responsibilities and
perform the functions well, then that leader is a failure.
To avoid burnout, leaders must learn to delegate responsibili-
ties to other people. This is healthy, for it would prolong their
life and enhance production. As they say two heads are better
than one. In other words, no one has monopoly on knowledge.
Through delegation, others would receive training to assume
leadership responsibilities in the future. Christ delegated and so
must we.
Another leadership trait Jesus exhibited is his prayerfulness
and coping skills, especially in difficult situations. As a man, he
was tempted as we are: beaten, spat upon, mocked, and yet was
still without sin. I believe Christ was successful in enduring the
challenges through prayer. Before he was delivered up to the
Jews, he was praying in the garden of Gethsemane (John 17).
Prayer gives us the strength to endure challenging times. A
leader, if religious must learn to pray. Prayer clears the mind
and improves concentration. Through prayer, leaders can have
wisdom. As the scriptures teaches in Proverbs 9:10, “the fear of
the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” If leaders would learn to
depend upon the source of their power, there is nothing they
would lack, no matter how the situation may be. Through
prayer, leaders can relate well to their workers and build a posi-
tive working environment.
Sense of Purp ose
Above all, having a sense of purpose enabled Christ to en-
dure all the trials and temptations he went through. His sense of
purpose was greater than his feelings. A leader must eliminate
self and work for the benefit of others. Matthew 6:3 reads “seek
first the kingdom of heaven and its righteousness, and all other
things shall be added unto you.” If leaders would learn to seek
God first, they will find wisdom to prosper their businesses or
organizations. Leaders must learn to commit themselves to the
people they are called to serve. By committing oneself to ac-
complish the purpose of the organization, the Lord will make
all the necessary tools available for success.
Everyone is a leader but not all leaders are good. However,
we must all aspire to be good leaders and to be a good leader,
one need to undergo training or have a mentor. There are good
human leaders but the greatest and the perfect role model is
Jesus Christ, the Creator of the Universe. His leadership quail-
ties are incomparable to those of any human leader. By making
Christ our role model, we would lead aright and be able to
change society for the better.
Finzel, H. (2000). The top ten mistakes leaders make. Eastbourne:
Kingsway Communications.
Greenleaf, R. K. (1998). The power of servant leadership. San Fran-
cisco, CA: Berrett-Koehler Publisher s , Inc.
Greenleaf, R. K. (1970). The servant as leader. Robert K. Greenleaf
Publishing Center.
Inspirational Breakthrough (2003-2005) .
Questia (2013). S e r v a n t leadership.
The New York Times (October 19 90).