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Leading like Jesus

Opinion & Analysis
Apostle Judge Dube

THE influence of Jesus Christ is undoubtedly great and felt even after millennia He left the earth. He had unique traits and principles he applied as a leader. Our columnist Jonah Nyoni (JN) engages Apostle Judge Dube (JD) who is an author, former banker, speaker, and founder of Wealthy Word Ministries on the lessons learnt from Jesus. Find excerpts below:

JN: What are the fundamental lessons we learn from Jesus as a leader and how are they relevant to the environment we live in?

JD:  We see the lesson of love. Jesus demonstrated his love towards God and this is (or was) very important. This is the reason why the first commandment says, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment.” (Matthew 22:37-39, KJV). Jesus demonstrated this and it is also applicable to our environment. If people can love, serve and surrender their lives to God genuinely, you will realise that a lot of things will not be the way they are today. The love for God will make us operate in the fear of the Lord. And the fear of the Lord will make us do certain things in a way that is honourable, respectable.

The second thing is that Jesus loved people. This world will be a better place if we would love one another, unconditionally. This is a lesson that Jesus demonstrated. As a leader, you realise that you lead people and it is easy to lead people that you love. That environment of love makes things blossom. The environment of love makes things glow. Therefore, this is a lesson from Jesus, that He was a man of love and he loved the people he led.


The other lesson that we learnt from Jesus is forgiveness. Even when he was on the cross, they were nailing him, He says, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” (Luke 23:34, NKJV). This world, (the corporate space, countries and businesses) will be a better place if we can learn the lesson of forgiving one another. As leaders, we are supposed to understand we lead human beings; and people on their way to greatness, they will make mistakes. So, you must learn to forgive and build them. This world needs people that have the heart of forgiving.

 Purpose/ Assignment

Jesus also focused on his life assignment. He focused on fulfilling what he came here to do on Earth and this (or that) is a lesson to all of us; we must focus on our life’s assignments. It helps us to achieve great things because we will be focused not only on doing what is good, but what is right. If it is business, you focus on it. If it is education, you focus on it. You become intentional about it, and you will progress greatly. If we are not focused, we find ourselves everywhere, at the end of the day; we are not able to actualise what we came on earth to do.


From Jesus we also learn great humility. You might be a leader or a non-leader, but the way up is what the Bible says. The Bible says, “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.” (James 4:10, NIV).  If you want elevation, the secret is in being humble. There is no greater blessing as compared to having a leader who leads in humility. Someone who does not have it, has a stinking attitude, a bossy attitude, and a ruling attitude. A great leader is humble, approachable and Jesus was an approachable leader. With all the powers and the influence he had, he was not a difficult person to approach. We need leaders that are approachable and accommodative. Such leaders go far because they can get even ideas from people and from unlikely sources. Sometimes the people who have a solution to what you are dealing with might be people whom you do not really expect. So, if your door is closed as a leader, you might not get that kind of assistance from people.

J.N: What were Jesus’ guiding principles as a leader?

JD: Jesus had a variety of guiding principles.

Shared Vision

Point number one, Jesus had a principle of shared vision, mission and values and these were very clear to the people he led. It is important as a leader, that the vision, the mission and values become clear to those around you. These must be vocalised, most of the time. Jesus became married to his vision. In other words, his vision became him. A successful leader is a leader who is not separable from his vision, mission and values. The brand that he is (or was) becomes easy for anyone to follow.

Exemplary leadership

Jesus led by example. As a leader, you are a role model to those you lead. Remember, actions speak louder than words. Jesus’ model is clear. What he had come to achieve; his intentions were very clear.  He practically resolved problems as they came. It is the responsibility of a leader to handle conflicts, to have the wisdom and to resolve problematic situations in an organisation. Now and again, conflict and challenges will arise, and Jesus would rise to the occasion with a solution. 


It is important as leaders that we do not lead in isolation. We need to delegate duties, but you cannot delegate without accountability. We are supposed to understand that even when we have delegated a duty, we are still accountable and responsible for the results. There are a lot of leaders who have delegated duties but miss on accountability and responsibility which is an oversight.

Servant leadership

Jesus had a servanthood mindset. He was always about his Father's business (Luke 2: 49). It was not about himself or for self-aggrandisement. A leader who understands that it is not about them but it is about the organisation, will succeed. You are bound to fail if you think that everything is about you as a leader.


Jesus focused on character. Jesus had a high level of integrity, honesty, holiness and purity.  His character was intact. This made people follow him. Your leadership skills can only take you as far as your character will allow. In the short run, you can risk doing without character, but in the long run, such an action exposes you to risky, painful and devastating consequences.

Therefore, Jesus was in the world, lived among sinners, but he was without sin. He worked on his character and his integrity. What we lack in this world are people of integrity, character and honesty. These are people whom you can delegate an assignment, and it is done to the dot without compromise. Jesus was a man of high standards, great excellence, and good character. That made him one of the greatest leaders up to this very day.

J.N: Can we use Jesus’ style in the corporate world?

JD: Indeed, we can use Jesus’ leadership style in the corporate world. You will realise that some of the principles being used in the corporate world are from the Bible. These are the same principles that Jesus used. So, it is possible to implement Jesus’ model in the corporate world.

J.N: What do we learn about mentorship techniques?

JD: Jesus’ mentorship techniques were at times different from what we usually do as mentors. Jesus said, “You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should remain…” (John 15: 15, NKJV). In other words, unlike these days where we have the mentees choosing the mentor, Jesus had to choose the mentees. He had to choose the people he wanted to mentor. He mentored His disciples for three-and-a-half years where he took them through practical learning. He mentored them tacitly; through his daily living and them seeing what he is doing thereby infusing spirit, skills, and ability into them. When Jesus left, the disciples continued to do on Earth what He had taught them. So, his mentorship was more on the practical side, the reality side, the visible side and the tangible side. This is the reason why you would find out that when he left, they were just like him to the extent that they were called Christ-like Christians (Acts 11:26; Acts 26:28; and 1 Peter 4:16).

J.N: How did you thrive as a Christian in a secular corporate workspace?

JD: I had a successful career as a banker for thirty-three-and-a-half years until I had to resign to be in Christian ministry full-time. What you will experience if you're in the ministry space or the banking space is that we use the same principles. 

The principles in the Bible are the same principles that are applicable (or that can be used) in the corporate world. You realise that the need for a vision, mission, values, strategies, objectives, and action plans in both ministry and business as articulated in the Bible.  For example, both the corporate world and ministry needs good character, integrity, honesty, uprightness, handwork or diligence. The applicability of these principles cuts across.

There is no way you can be successful in the corporate world without applying the biblical principles that we see demonstrated by Jesus Christ. The whole corporate world system is (or must be) upheld by biblical principles. When you study them properly, you realise that it is what the world needs today for the highest level of progress, profitability and productivity.

J.N: Jesus' influence is still felt today. So, can today’s leader influence tomorrow’s leader?

JD: Yes, we are influencing the future leaders in a negative or positive way. It is up to you to then decide the best way you want to influence the future generations. So, every day we are setting an example. If we are running businesses without principles, we are setting examples for those who are following behind.  The Bible says, “Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6, ESV). So, we are supposed to understand that the generation behind us is being trained, taught, directed and mentored, by what we are doing.  So, it is important for leaders in whatever space, to understand that whatever we are doing now is impacting and modelling the generation that is coming after us.

  • Jonah Nyoni is an author, speaker, and leadership trainer. He can be contacted on Twitter @jonahnyoni. WhatsApp: +263 772 581 918

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