Whether or not you believe He is your savior, you cannot question the leadership of Jesus. The size of His following, the depth of His followers’ conviction, and the duration of their belief validate Jesus’s leadership. This article will fall well short of the Bible’s ability to communicate the life of Jesus and His teachings. However, this article will offer leadership lessons from the Beatitudes portion of Jesus’s Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:3-10). Jesus gave us 8 simple-to-understand and very difficult-to-follow directives. He also guarantees positive results. I challenge you to take one, some, or all of the Beatitudes and incorporate it or them into leading your business, team, or anything else for which you have a leadership role. Be forewarned, implementing these directives is tough and will likely run counter societal norms!
- Be Poor in Spirit – Being poor in spirit equates to being humble or maintaining a modest estimate of your importance. Humble yourself! Do not overestimate your importance to the group you lead. Yes, you are the leader. However, the group cannot achieve with your efforts alone. If they could, then there would be no need for the group. Completely eliminate your pride and value each group member’s importance.
- Mourn – Not everything will go as you wish it would. If you’ve been alive more than a few years, you know this fact well. We all face troubles, accidents, tragedy, failures, and brokenness. The group you are leading will face them, too. Do not sweep these negative events and your feelings about them under the proverbial rug. Recognize them. Address them. Validate them. Most importantly, use the negative to strengthen your resolve to improve, to overcome, to accomplish. Mourning also has the added benefit of accentuating the good. You will value success more!
- Be Meek – Meek, in Jesus’s teachings, does not mean weak. Our masculine, survival-of-the-fittest, ruggedly independent American culture often confuses the two words. After all, in addition to meaning quiet, gentle, and kind, meek also means docile and submissive. Despite the opinion of our society, meek is a great thing for a leader to be! If you are meek, then you do not exploit or oppress others, you do not seek vengeance, you do not seek power for your own end. You must agree that those you lead will value you more if you eliminate personal gain and serve them before yourself.
- Hunger and Thirst for Righteousness – Hunger and thirst are basic human desires. When we have them, they become our core focus. As a leader, do you hunger and thirst for—do you have a core focus on—doing the right thing, being just, and upholding your ethics and morals? If you do, your followers will trust you completely. You will create within the group an incredibly tight bond. Those outside your group will show immense respect.
- Be Merciful – Face it. You are human. You are not infallible simply because you are in a leadership position. You have inadequacies, weaknesses, struggles, embarrassments, fears, and other maladies. The members of your group are human, too. Show them love, compassion, and forgiveness. Show them mercy. When you fail—and you will—you will receive the same level of mercy that you have shown others.
- Have a Pure Heart – Being pure of heart means keeping your thoughts, desires, intentions, and will centered on good things. Being pure of heart means freeing yourself from selfishness and personal gain. Being pure of heart is no easy task! We must fight our protective instincts. We must fight our desire to earn more than our fair share. We must fight our drive to win at any cost. Much like hungering and thirsting for righteousness, having a pure heart will establish an incredible level of trust and bond within the group you lead.
- Make Peace – Life and the business world are full of adversarial relationships. We tirelessly compete and compare. We judge ourselves and we judge others. Jesus directs us to do the complete opposite! He directs us to cease hostilities, tolerate, and give way. He directs us to reconcile. First, find contentment in your leadership role; make peace with yourself and your leadership position. Second, eliminate rivalries within your group and ensure you, as the leader, identify, discuss, and resolve conflict immediately. Lastly, resolve animosity and ill will between your group and external groups or people. Complete peace with yourself, your group, and others may be a utopian goal, but creating a more peaceful environment will certainly result in greater satisfaction and happiness.
- Accept Persecution for Righteousness – The first seven Beatitudes aren’t for the faint of heart, especially if you work in capitalist America. Not everyone will appreciate your approach to leadership. Understand that others will, at a minimum, look at you quizzically. You will likely face overt ridicule. Do not allow persecution to pull you away from this style of leadership. Maintain an unwavering faith that your actions will produce fruit.
The Beatitudes offer great leadership lessons. Internalize and apply them. You will find peace, achieve your purpose, and eliminate fear. You will be a better leader!