In his book Spiritual Leadership Oswald Sanders states that Jesus defined leadership as service. The true leader is concerned primarily for the welfare of others, not with his own comfort or prestige. Sanders quotes an intereresting list of leadership rules written by Archbishop Edward White Benson who was the archbishop of Canterbury for a number years in the late 1800′s. Here is Benson’s list for the leader:
- Eagerly start the day’s work.
- Do not murmur at your busyness or the shortness of time, but buy up the time all around.
- Never murmur when correspondence is brought in.
- Never exaggerate duties by seeming to suffer under the load, but treat all responsibilities as liberty and gladness.
- Never call attention to crowded work or trivial experiences.
- Before confrontation or censure, obtain from God a real love for the one at fault. Know the facts; be generous in your judgment. Otherwise, how ineffective, how unintelligible or perhaps provocative your well-intentioned censure may be.
- Do not believe everything you hear; do not spread gossip.
- Do not seek praise, gratitude, respect, or regard for past service.
- Avoid complaining when your advice or opinion is not consulted, or having been consulted, set aside.
- Never allow yourself to be placed in favorable contrast with anyone.
- Do not press conversation to your own needs and concerns.
- Seek no favors, nor sympathies; do not ask for tenderness, but receive what comes.
- Bare the blame; do not share it or transfer it.
- Give thanks for credit for your own work or ideas is given to another.
Sanders reminds us that Archbishop Benson did live in a different era, but his rules for life carry relevance today.
The Sanders book on Spiritual Leadership is a great book for those in ministry or in secular leadership. It is twenty-two short chapters on timely leadership topics. (Spiritual Leadership: Principles of Excellence for Every Believer, Moody Press, 1994, ISBN 0-8024-6799-7).