Everyone knows what characteristics they would appreciate in a boss, but few get to experience the positive, powerful influence of a leader who exhibits these qualities. Author Jim Lange has drawn from his own work history to create a dynamic resource for leaders and they those they lead. Read on to discover the dramatic contrast between I.M. Boss and Jesus’ leadership style. Here’s Jim’s story.
As I was sitting in church one Sunday in December of 2003, our pastor was speaking about the birth of Jesus. He mentioned that God could have chosen anyplace for Jesus to have been born. He could have been born in a huge palace in a gold bassinette with lots of wealth. However, we all know he was born in a manger, next to farm animals. Our pastor went on to say, “Imagine that. The greatest leader who ever walked this earth came from the humblest of beginnings.”
At the time of this sermon, I was vice president of sales for a small division ($160 million in sales) of a $1 billion publicly traded company. I reported to the President of our division who was extremely difficult to work with. He was a very proud, arrogant, demeaning and demanding person.
As I digested my pastor’s sermon, I was struck with the dichotomy of his message and the leadership style of my boss! I immediately began writing notes on the back of the church bulletin and soon over the next days, weeks, and months, the text of Bleedership, Biblical First-Aid for Leaders began to take shape.
In Bleedership, I contrast the leadership style of my boss, whom I call “I.M. Boss,” with the leadership styles of the greatest Biblical leaders, including Jesus, Moses and Joseph. Here is a sampling of some of my boss’ actions and how they relate to the styles of some of our Biblical heroes:
· I.M. Boss would regularly tell me, “Jim, your only job is to make me look good!”
· Jesus washed His disciples’ feet the night before He was to be crucified. He did not ask for pity or for His disciples to serve Him.
· I.M. Boss would also demand the best of everything for him: parking spaces, computer, cell phone, etc…
· Jesus did not ask for the best of anything. He knew He was here to serve God and to teach others how to be humble. Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:3).
· I.M. Boss would continuously take credit for anything good that would happen.
· Jesus gave all credit to God – He took no credit for Himself.
· I.M. Boss had very little compassion and once told me that I needed to yell and scream at my team as that was the only way they would respect me.
· Even while He was mourning the death of His cousin, John the Baptist, Jesus “had compassion” on the people (see Matthew 20:34).
· One of I.M. Boss’ rules was that he was #1, #2 and #3. He was the most important person in the company and we needed to serve him.
· The night before His crucifixion, Jesus washed the feet of His disciples (see John 13)
· I.M. Boss made me fire one of our best employees the week before Christmas (and his wife was due to deliver triplets one month later) all because he once made I.M. Boss look bad (he never forgave others).
· Joseph totally forgave his brothers after they sold him into slavery, causing him to have challenge after challenge thrown at him.
· I.M. Boss rarely listened to you when you were talking with him. It seemed like he was always thinking of what to say so that he would come off as “brilliant.”
· The God of this universe actually listens to us. (see Exodus 32:7-14, Philippians 4:6-7)
· I.M. Boss would regularly criticize employees in front of their peers, making them feel unimportant and like they were not part of the team.
· After Peter walked on water and began to sink, Jesus reprimanded him for having little faith, but he did this out on the water in private, not in the boat with the others.
· Another of I.M. Boss’ rules was to never be late to a meeting; however, he was almost always late himself.
· Though He didn’t need to be, Jesus was baptized as an example to us all. (see Matthew 3).
· When our corporate office came down on I.M. Boss for not hitting our aggressive sales targets, I.M. Boss panicked and decided on the spot to fire many salespeople (even though sales was what we needed!).
· In midst of a terrifying storm, Jesus was very calm—in fact he was asleep in the front of the boat.
If you are working for someone like I.M. Boss, my heart goes out for you. I encourage you to lead by example where you are because you might be amazed at the difference you can make in your difficult environment.
If you are like I.M. Boss, I encourage you to take a long hard look at your leadership style and the negative impact it is having on those you lead, and work on changing your ways!