Firm but Flexible
Bible Character: Jesus
Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices – mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law – Justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former. Matthew 23:23
Jesus’ leadership is so hard to emulate because he struck a balance between firm and flexible. Somehow he could practice authority and be a servant at the same time!
Truth telling can be tempting to avoid. It would have been easier for Jesus to avoid reprimanding the teachers and Pharisees in the verse above, but he knew he needed to be honest, even authoritative. Jesus’ purpose was to move the Pharisees and teachers away from concentrating on a bunch of rules, but that does not mean he did not appreciate measuring one’s conduct.
Love comes in many forms, and one of those is maintaining high standards. A misconception is that being flexible means lowering standards. Having a strong resolution to uphold the organization’s principles, and consistent implementation of the standards is priority.
Having the ability to adjust is a key to flexible leadership. It starts with being a continual learner, which allows you to be able to change quickly.
In Matthew 20:28 Jesus says, just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many. NIV
Servant leadership focuses on maintaining a person’s human dignity and empowering that individual, giving them the ability to make choices on their own. Even though servant leadership was Jesus’ main form of influence, he often used other styles when needed, allowing him to be firm but flexible.