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Bettering Others and the World You Live In

The Greatest Leader

the greatest leader

We all aspire to be the greatest leader in our own worlds.  A select few attempt to position themselves to be the greatest leader in THE world.  But…how do you become the greatest leader in human history?  Many have tried, but only one can take home the hardware.

The world’s standard for leadership can be measured by the amount of territory, wealth, power, and authority that one amasses in a lifetime.  This line of thinking is significantly flawed.  The greatest leader that the world has ever seen was unconventional, he was uncommon.

Here are four uncommon things that set the greatest leader of all time apart from everyone else:

Stand for Those Who Can’t

The sick, the lame, the blind, the crippled, the mute.  The disadvantaged, the dismayed, and the discouraged.  Those that are flawed, fallen, and fearful.  He led them all.      

I once heard it said, “You have never stood taller than when you stoop to help someone else.”  As leaders, we have a tremendous responsibility to stand for those who can’t stand for themselves.  Leadership is not an exclusive deal, it’s an inclusive one.  Be something for somebody who can’t. 

Surround Yourself with Imperfect People

The greatest leader ever surrounded himself with imperfect people.  He could have easily used his influence to attract scholars, the rich, and the powerful.  Instead, he chose to surround himself with ordinary, everyday people who were severely flawed.  Fisherman, tax collectors (hated amongst their day), and the less fortunate were his people.  He would later use his own greatest critic to expand his influence throughout the known world. 

Too often in leadership, we measure ourselves by the status of those people we surround ourselves with.  We falsely believe that the further we grow, the greater the need to surround ourselves with people of higher status.  This is simply not the case.  The greatest leaders are surrounded by imperfect people who strive for perfection, and fall just short of it.       

Offer Grace 

The greatest leader ever was grace filled.  He offered grace to the people he led as a free gift.  A gift offered to those who were undeserving, those who had not earned it.  Grace was given from a merciful heart and through unconditional love. 

Accountability is a necessary form of management.  It is required for us to lead effective organizations.  Taken too far, accountability can lead to harsh, cold people practices. Discipline can cross the line into punishment. Expectations become unrealistic.

If we are going to surround ourselves with imperfect people, we cannot expect perfection.  Grace tempers harsh, impersonal accountability, punishment, and unrealistic expectations.  It is offered to those we lead as a gift, likely underserved, and possibly unearned. 

Why grace?  Because as leaders, we need it too.  There is one thing that we can all guarantee the people we lead…at some point…we WILL fail them.  They in return, will fail us too.  Grace is the answer on both accounts.       

Selfless Sacrifice

The greatest leader ever selflessly sacrificed himself for the benefit of others.  He not only stood in the gap for those he was surrounded by in his time, but for EVERYONE else who would ever walk this earth.  This leader endured extreme punishment, pain, and ultimately death for others.  Others that would ultimately reject him, hate him, and persecute those who followed him.  In spite of all this, he was a willing sacrifice…he chose it. 

The further we go in leadership, it HAS to be less about us and more about others.  Amid seasons of frustration, conflict, and difficult circumstances, it is easy for self-pity to creep in.  Our attention becomes inwardly focused, not outwardly.  Selfless sacrifice for the benefit of others is the path to great leadership.    


Maybe you know at this point who I am referencing.  If you do, I have severely undersold the greatest leader ever.  If you don’t know him, his name is Jesus. 

I write this on Christmas Day.  The day that Christians like myself celebrate His birth.  I don’t hide my faith in my writing, nor do I beat people over the head with it.  Confession though…much of what I write about is based on the leadership principals I have learned in my faith, not just the workplace. 

So…whether you have heard of the historical Jesus, you believe in Jesus, or you don’t believe in Him at all, I will leave you with a challenge.  The most uncommon thing He did was love people.  Love is what ultimately spurred His influence of more than two billion Christians worldwide today…2,000 plus years after His birth. 

Biblical love is defined as follows in Corinthians 13:

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;[b] it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Imagine a world where we led from this definition of love.  Go back read this scripture again, this time replace “love” and “it” with your name.  How are you doing?  Are you leading from love?  The greatest leader of all time did.  Maybe it is worth a try. 

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