Leadership is a field of study that has been researched for a little more than a hundred years with various definitions being formed. (Northouse, 2013) In recent years a new area of leadership has emerged and remains in the formative stages of study (Northouse, 2013, Kindle Location 4779), despite evidence showing its existence for thousands of years. Authentic leadership may be new in fields of research, but the practice of authentic leadership has a long history. Dating as far back as the first century, the leadership exercised and displayed by Jesus Christ was an authentic leadership style that set the groundwork for the establishment of Christ’s church.
Throughout Jesus’ ministry, he exemplified leadership making it clear that Jesus was the “superlative, only perfect leader in all of human history.” (Mayhue, 2011, p. 221) So, the study of leadership would be incomplete without a look at how Jesus led using the authentic leadership model. Primarily, Jesus knew his disciples would carry on after him and establish the church that would reach the world (Matt. 28:18-20), so he modeled for them how to live in relationship with God the Father, which is foundational for authentic leadership. (Kouzes, 2012)
Jesus also sought out individuals and met them on a one-on-one level. With his disciples such as Peter and John (John 21), the Samaritan woman (John 4), and the men on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24), Jesus was very personal, valuing and relating to each of them where they were, yet another strength of authentic leadership. (Irving, 2011, p. 123)
A final way Jesus displayed authentic leadership was his empowerment of his disciples such as when he sent them out to “proclaim the Kingdom of God”. (Luke 9:1-6) According to Northouse (2012), this is vital to the authentic leadership model. (Kindle Location 4695)
Crossway Bibles. (2007). ESV: study Bible: English standard version (ESV text ed.). Wheaton, Ill: Crossway Bibles.
Irving, J. A. (2011). Leadership Reflection: A Model for Effective Servant Leadership Practice: A Biblically-Consistent and Research-Based Approach to Leadership. Journal of Biblical Perspectives in Leadership, 3(2), 118–128.
Kouzes, J. M. (2012). The leadership challenge: how to make extraordinary things happen in organizations (5th ed.). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Mayhue, R. L. (2011). Authentic spiritual leadership. Master’s Seminary Journal, 22(2), 213–224.
Northouse, P. G. (2013). Leadership: theory and practice (6th ed.). Thousand Oaks: SAGE.
Wilson, J. H. (2011). The Serving Organization: Jesus vs. Hierarchy in Matthew 20:20-28. Journal of Biblical Perspectives in Leadership, 3(2).