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.