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12 Leadership Principles of Jesus

By September 20, 2016November 4th, 2019Church, Jesus, Leadership

There are many leaders I admire who have influenced my own leadership. I admire the teachings on leadership by guys like John Maxwell, Andy Stanley, and Patrick Lencioni. There are leaders from my personal life such as a former pastor, a former boss, a high school principal and leaders in my own community who have influenced me as I have watched their leadership. I also love to learn from a great athletic coach. I have been known to choose the teams I support by the coach that leads them. I love leadership. It is so needed these days – especially in our churches.

The principles, however, which I admire most are found in the leadership style of Jesus. Jesus’ leadership is still impacting culture today.

Here are 12 leadership principles of Jesus that inspire me:

Jesus was willing to invest in people others would have dismissed.

Consider the disciples. They were not the “religious” elite, yet Jesus used them to start His church.

Jesus released responsibility and ownership in a ministry.

Consider how Jesus sent the disciples out on their own. No micro-management it appears.

Jesus had a leadership succession plan. 

Jesus consistently reminded the disciples He wouldn’t always be with them. Of course, He was still the “leader”, but He left others to take the ministry forward.

Jesus practiced servant leadership better than anyone.

The King of kings was willing to wash the feet of His followers.

Jesus was laser focused on His vision.

Regardless of the persecutions or distractions, Jesus kept on the mission God had called Him to complete.

Jesus handled distractions with grace.

When the woman who had been bleeding for 12 years touched His garment, Jesus stopped to heal her, even though headed to a definite purpose.

Jesus was into self-development.

Jesus constantly slipped away to spend time with God.

Jesus was into leadership development and replacement.

He very purposefully prepared the disciples to take over the ministry. He pushed people beyond what they felt they were capable of doing.

Jesus held followers to high expectations.

Jesus was not afraid to make huge requests of people. “Follow Me” meant the disciples had to drop their agenda to do so. He told the disciples they must be willing to lose everything to follow Him.

Jesus cared more about people than about rules and regulations.

He was willing to jeopardize Himself personally by breaking the “rules” to help someone in need.

Jesus celebrated success in ministry.

He rewarded people generously who were faithful to Him and His cause.

Jesus finished well.

Any questions whether His ministry was effective? Still working today.

Any other reasons you admire the leadership of Jesus?

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Ron Edmondson

Author Ron Edmondson

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Join the discussion 44 Comments

  • Pastor Parsons Mulawa says:

    Wow, so inspiring and wonderful insights.
    Thank you.

  • okechukwu chidoluo vitus
    jesus leadership
    there is no leader like Jesus. I have tasted the sweet ness of Jesus and I am glad to what you have written and may God keep blessing you all the more and more. thanks

  • GreenRainMedia says:

    Well done Ron and so appropriate to ponder now during the Lenten Season. Leading with a WWJD philosophy will never fail you!

  • Jim Nelson says:

    Nice post. I want to add some on how Jesus showed grace to the bleeding woman. I think she really would much rather have had a private conversation. Jesus did not make her most comfortable by forcing to her to talk in public. In Matthew 15:21-28 Jesus calls the pleading woman a dog in front of the disciples. So Jesus was soft with some people and very tough with others. He showed love to each I believe. He clearly gave grace to both, but I think we need to see that Jesus was not just the bleeding woman Jesus. He met each person where they were and loved them in ways that often made them uncomfortable.

  • Michelle says:

    One of Jesus's leadership skills which is so powerful is communication. It is exceptional that He knows what's in the heart of each man and women and can speak to each person with a simple truth to their heart. It can be so meaningful and motivational to that person but could be meaningless to anyone else who my hear it. Example, when he said to one of the disciples, I saw you praying under the fig tree. ( John 1:48 ) This spoke so loudly to the disciple that his response said "You are the son of God! You are King of Isreal!… To others this probably meant nothing but Jesus knew how to speak and communicate to individuals in such a way that touched them emotionally and motivated them to become great followers and leaders and supporters of His mission. I can only imagine that this disciple had felt the touch of God while praying under the fig tree, so when Jesus spoke these words the disciple knew instantly that He was the Son of God without a doubt!

  • Donna says:

    Jesus as the shepherd: He was always where his flock was. His focus was on leading and being present, involved and intentional no matter what the distractions were. I always love the story of the woman at the well. He personally stepped up to the task at hand, others passed her by and dismissed her for what seemed at the time, legitimate reasons, but, he took it upon himself to speak into her life, inspite of what was politically correct , choosing to do the Fathers will. Yes He did send the disciples out, but, he was always present, teaching by example, preparing them for the task. This is the ministry of the church leadership. It does not always fit our agenda,, so, we adjust to fit His agenda. It is both an honor and humbling to serve my Lord and a responsibility as well, one I cherish. When I see His heart of passion for those lost, it reminds me without Jesus, I am lost as well, With Jesus, I am a sinner saved by Grace. .

  • miguel armando says:


  • I really would love to implement this leadership style within the walls of Anchour. Great post, Ron!

  • Alex says:

    Yep.. very good. Truly, Jesus ruled with a servant's heart and Served with a King's heart – as Bill Johnson would put it.
    Good post Ron. Thanks,

  • gtt1701 says:

    Great article. I was just discussing this topic with my pastor last week………thank you for your insights.

  • Lottie Dort says:

    Hi Ron;
    Thanks for the insight and the principles of Jesus. I am writing a paper about Jesus and Leadership. This inspired me to keep on going. Thanks.

  • field says:

    Hello! I’ve been reading your site for a while now
    and finally got the courage to go ahead and give you a shout out from Atascocita Tx!
    Just wanted to say keep up the great job!

  • Ang L Lim says:

    Leadership and character are inseparable. In a Billy Graham devotional, he characterized the heart of Christ as humble, loving, unselfish and forgiving. It is His heart that makes Him the great leader He is.

  • chikere chineke c says:

    Honestly i must say i have learnt much from Jesus teachings through Ron, my request to u ron please take one day to come to my country nigeria and teach our youths, they really need to understand and know the leadership style of Jesus for a better nation, not all has previlage to access and read these cute post

  • Great Stuff! Thanks so much Ron!

  • ronedmondson says:

    Awesome. Thanks.  Thanks!Ron Edmondson

  • David says:

    Wonderful article! Thank you.

  • Ellyn says:

    OK – Unlike others who have commented, I am NOT a "Jesus person." Never have been, never will be. That said, I respect Jesus as a historic figure. This means I have mixed feelings about this post. In general, I believe the post crosses that fine line between "inclusive" and "exclusive" — you are choosing to exclude those who are not "Jesus people" and perhaps this is your choice (which makes the rest of my comment irrelevant).

    Others who have commented will undoubtedly have a lot to say about this, as they have a lot to say about everything (for example, what if I told them I was gay? Would love to hear what they'd have to say about that). However, if they are really and truly Jesus disciples, then they will LISTEN to UNDERSTAND and not preach or judge — can they do it?? I have serious, serious doubts given my experiences. The historic figure of Jesus has, I believe, much to teach. All the "Praise Him" stuff is…well, offensive. Again, I await their response. Understanding?? Doubt it. This is my BIG problem with Jesus people (ie- My way or the highway).

    I believe there is a way to say what you want to say in a universal and appealing manner (I believe that religion does NOT have a place in a place of business, unless it's a place of worship — like my Mosque {now I am just taunting}). While the post has much to offer, it is difficult for people who have views similar to mine (ie- the vast majority of Americans) to get beyond the overwhelming Jesus-ness of it. Others who have commented are, for the most part (in my opinion) beyond the pale with respect to preaching and are in fact condescending. Will they see this? Doubt it (see above comment on "my way or the highway.") In my experience, the holier-than-thou crowd is not known for their self-reflection or tolerance.

    So, to summarize, good thoughts/ideas. The context is not universal – perhaps it's not meant to be. I hope you will write a similar post in more universal language and beliefs. As for those who preach above, I hope they will be able to abide by Matthew 15:10: "Jesus called the crowd to him and said, 'Listen and understand'." We shall see!

    Thank you.

    • ronedmondson says:

      Thank you for your comment. I appreciate the boldness with sharing it. This is a personal blog. All my post are opinions. As is your comment. I love the freedom we have to do so.That said its not a universal blog. It's a blog that begins with my beliefs and understanding of who Jesus is. I believe He's God. Eternal. Flawless. And I believe He is the hope of this world. I believe when He says that anyone who calls on His name, by faith and through grace, shall be saved.To write any other way might be universal but it wouldn't be true to what I believe.Again thank you for your comment.

    • Alvin says:

      Just reading through this post which was extremely powerful. Jesus set the bar very high for what a leader is and what a leader should be. Jesus does not care whether you are black, white, orange, man, woman, gay or straight, he includes all. And the leadership principles that He lived can apply to all, non-believers included. I do understand that there are those who are "super-saints" out there, who have a holier than thou attitude. At times the "super saints" crowd can have a my way or the highway mentally but in no way does that reflect all who believe and have a true relationship with Jesus. Jesus never insisted on having his own way, and I hope and pray that those who are non-believers, do not give up on Jesus or his principles of leadership because of wrongs of His people. The Principles of Leadership that we see from the life of Jesus can apply to any kind of leadership there is. If you want to be a leader at home, or as a parent, or a teacher, or a teammate or on your job. I urge you to look at the principles covered above again, and watch how these principles can help you grow into your leadership role, whatever it may be. Glory be to God.

  • So Jesus said, “When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He, and I do nothing on My own initiative, but I speak these things as the Father taught Me. 29 And He who sent Me is with Me; He has not left Me alone, for I always do the things that are pleasing to Him.” 30 As He spoke these things, many came to believe in Him. John 8:28-30

    What would it look like if we did only what the Father has taught us? And always did the things that pleased Him? He just raised the bar to a level unattainable for man! Praise Him

    Praise the Lord!
    Praise the Lord from the heavens;
    Praise Him in the heights!
    2 Praise Him, all His angels;
    Praise Him, all His hosts!
    3 Praise Him, sun and moon;
    Praise Him, all stars of light!
    4 Praise Him, highest heavens,
    And the waters that are above the heavens!
    5 Let them praise the name of the Lord,
    For He commanded and they were created.
    6 He has also established them forever and ever;
    He has made a decree which will not pass away.

  • bryankr

    What I loved most, and am trying to learn, is when He taught it was simple and honest. Nothing was meant to show how smart He was. It was more about grace, showing love even while He was teaching! He gave some hard lessons, make no mistake! It was still more out of His love for the people , and not out of arrogance.

  • Greg Conley says:

    Great post Ron! Jesus led by example in everything He did. How many leaders can say that? I love the part about servant leadership, to me, that's the sign of a true leader. We have many people who call themselves leaders but it's only by title alone. I've met very few servant leaders but know many people who want someone to follow them. That's one of the problems we have in society today… not enough servant leaders. Many men have a problem with humility and submission… but these were two of Jesus' greatest attributes. Take care brother!

  • kmac4him

    Jesus laid down “His Rights” and humbly turned the other cheek, so others would have the opportunity to grow and mature. He lived this amazing wisdom out: “See, I am sending you out like sheep into the midst of wolves; so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.” Mathew 10:16