Empowered Leadership

Then Jesus lifted up His eyes, and seeing a great multitude coming toward Him, He said to Philip, “Where shall we buy bread, that these may eat?” But this He said to test him, for He Himself knew what He would do. Then Jesus said, “Make the people sit down.” Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, in number about five thousand. And Jesus took the loaves, and when He had given thanks He distributed them to the disciples, and the disciples to those sitting down; and likewise of the fish, as much as they wanted. (John 6:5, 6, 10, 11 NKJV)

One of the biggest misconceptions I see in those who desire leadership positions is the idea that positions give us power. Positions give us things like access, opportunity, responsibility, authority, and accountability, but not power. Position titles are only lables that help us identify who is responsible.
Leadership is influence (John Maxwell) and influence is power (Jeremie Kubicek). If you are a leader who has personal power with those you lead, you will either overpower (try to weild authority and manipulate others to follow your commands for your own gain) or empower (distribute your power to others to help them accomplish organizational goals and increase their personal professional development).
Jesus shows us empowered leadership starts with a leader who is empowered. In this passage, Jesus is supernaturally empowered by God. He has personal power with his disciples because he adds value to their lives through teaching and development. He also has a powerful influence of the crowd of people who were willing to travel out of town with no provisions and stay all day just o hear him speak.
 
With all of this power at his disposal, Jesus chose to empower rather than overpower. He empowered his disciples to find resources for the miracle. He gave his authority over the crowd to his disciples to make everyone sit in order. Jesus created an environment where power could flow easily. He delegated to the right people, he put people in the right positions, and he distributed the resources available for the benefit of all rather than taking it for himself.
As leaders we must learn from Jesus’ example and empower those we lead. Our skills, talents, gifts, and abilities may put us in a leadership position, but that’s not enough to achieve growth and success. Truly successful leaders are those who increase their leadership through empowerment and development of other leaders.

Leading with Expectation

Then Jesus lifted up His eyes, and seeing a great multitude coming toward Him, He said to Philip, “Where shall we buy bread, that these may eat?” But this He said to test him, for He Himself knew what He would do. (John 6:5, 6 NKJV)

Jesus had vision. When he looked at the people, he didn’t simply see a crowd. He saw a ministry opportunity. Great leaders not only see an opportunity for themselves, but their vision reveals opportunities for everyone involved.
There was an opportunity for God to be glorified. Jesus had the opportunity to solidify his claim as the Messiah. The people had an opportunity to see God at work, have their needs met, and glorify God. The disciples had the opportunity to exercise their talents and obedience, participate in a miracle, serve the people, and grow in their faith.
 
Jesus had ministry vision that perceived the internal needs of everyone involved. He also had a clear vision of his own abilities to perform the miracle and his disciples’ ability to participate. Simply put; he knew what he would do. He knew the outcomes. He knew how to position the crowd to receive and position his disciples for ministry success.
 
This clarity of vision creates expectations. When we are clear on our vision as leaders we develop healthy expectations for opportunities and success. We “see” or envision our teams, opportunities, and successes in the spirit even before they become a reality. We don’t have “pie in the sky”. Instead we have a compelling expectation that allows us to lead with confidence.
 
Whether you are leading yourself to life changes, leading a team, church, or business, take time to get a clear vision that allows you to lead with expectation. Here are some methods that have helped me in the past.
 
1. Look at everything. See every resource and opportunity from every angle to gain understanding. Vision always starts from where you are and then reveals where you will be.
2. Take inventory. As you look, make an inventory of skills, gifts, talents, key relationships, needs, and opportunities. It may help to do a quick SWOT Analysis (thats where you identify your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats).
3. See the path. Use all the information you’ve gathered like guardrails that give healthy limits and keep you centered on the vision. This will help you eliminate unrealistic expectations and minimize the likelihood of failure. This vision will help you determine how far to stretch yourself and/or your team to get great results without burning anyone out.