J. N. Manokaran
Balancing is a great act of leadership excellence. In fact, an excellent leader balances and blends two extremes to bring out a brilliant performance. The Lord Jesus Christ showed us an example of the marvellous balancing of extremes. Leaders of excellence have the knack to tackle extremes and bring out creative solutions. Such leaders enjoy the creative tension in the process of balancing and even excel in doing so.
Intensive Vs. Extensive
Leadership is considered or defined as influence. A leader has intensive influence locally or extensive influence in a wider region that could extend globally. A leader who does not have local impact is doomed to be a failure in the extensive area of operations also. The Lord Jesus Christ focussed on intensive influence on the twelve apostles to impact the whole world. He did not lose sight of the global influence, as He trained the twelve, and equipped the seventy-two for ministry. As the global Saviour, He did not fail in the area of the influence and impact of the local ministry. Though His priority was with the children of Israel, He also ministered in Samaria and welcomed visiting guests from other countries like Greece.
Person Vs. Kingdom
The Lord Jesus Christ's ministry was a balancing act between an individual and the kingdom of God. Individuals have dignity, rights and also a responsibility towards the kingdom. The agenda of the kingdom is not anti-individual; the individual cause should not be lost in the larger interest of the kingdom. At the same time, for the kingdom, individuals are called upon to make sacrifices voluntarily.
Each individual is important, and has to mature and grow to the full potential God has intended in his/her life. This would enhance the kingdom of God. Investing in individuals will pay dividends to the kingdom. So, the Lord Jesus invested in individuals like the Samaritan woman and Nicodemus who later contributed to the kingdom of God.
Appreciation And Rebuke
A leader appreciates and encourages constructive and creative contributions and also reprimands destructive or distractive ideas. When Peter confessed the Lord Jesus Christ as the Son of God, he was affirmed and appreciated. But when he advised the Lord not to pursue the path of the cross, he was rebuked and reprimanded. Both are needed to motivate a person and help him/her to grow into maturity. Discernment to do both is an essential skill for leadership of excellence.
Righteous Vs. Sinners
Leadership involves dealing with a variety of people. The values, priorities and attitudes of individuals vary. Righteous people may need more opportunities to be holy, and also consistent encouragement to continue in that path. Sinners need repentance and transformation. A leader could influence both, provided he takes time to understand, discern and provide the needed input to influence. The Lord Jesus Christ was able to show the blind spots in 'righteous' Pharisees and Sadducees, and at the same time deal with sinners like the woman caught in adultery and help them to walk out of their sinful behaviour. The most difficult task is to bring out the potential of underdogs to higher levels of performance.
Long Term Vs. Short Term
Engaging the present with the vision of long term benefits is important for an excellent leader. He/she not only effectively tackles the present, but also uses the best of all opportunities, and creatively uses all resources and talents to derive maximum benefit in all situations. The present small wins lead to greater wins in the long term. Raising the widow's dead son was the immediate task, but the widow and her son would become part of the kingdom of God in the long term.
Physical Vs. Spiritual
An excellent leader is always holistic in thinking and approach. The task is important, but so are the people who accomplish the task. Similarly, not only the spiritual needs of people should be met in ministry, but also their physical, economic and social needs. The feeding of the five thousand after three days of spiritual nourishment is a classic example of the holistic approach of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Hard working missionaries have helped thousands of tribal people to become disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ. But many of the Christian youngsters among the tribal population are unemployed. Missionaries who focussed on spiritual matters failed to see the importance of economic development of these people.
Poor Vs. Rich
There is no class distinction in the approach of an excellent leader. All are important and each one has a specific role and contribution to make: so leadership has to be comfortable developing relationships, and challenging individuals to reach higher potential. The Lord Jesus Christ was comfortable with fishermen like Peter, sinners like the Samaritan woman, tax collectors like Matthew, and theologians like Nicodemus. Irrespective of their economic and social background, the Lord treated them as people with dignity, self-respect, aspirations and dreams.
Comforting Vs. Confronting
Leadership involves a stewardship of human resources that have been entrusted to a leader. It is an awesome responsibility. A leader is expected to care for individuals, and comfort them when they go through low times. A leader does not just comfort people all the time, but he also must have courage and conviction to confront them when they do not live up to the expectations and demands placed on them. The disciples were rebuked for being people of 'little' or 'feeble' faith. The Lord comforted Mary and Martha and even raised Lazarus from the dead. At the same time, He confronted Martha regarding her priorities.
Children Vs. Adults
Another important aspect of the Lord Jesus Christ's leadership is that He could treat children with great respect. Many a time they got VIP treatment. To lead youngsters, teenagers and children at the same time is an uphill task. Excellent leaders exercise their influence on seniors, peers, youngsters, teenagers and children. The Lord Jesus was able to welcome the children and also have an adult debate about adultery and divorce. Christians should learn to treat children with dignity as the Lord Jesus Christ did.
The Lord Jesus Christ exercised excellent leadership. He is our role model. Balancing two extremes and making relevant decisions is the mark of a mature and excellent leader.