Being a Gentle Leader


As someone who strives to lead like Jesus, what would it look like if you incorporated the value of gentleness into your leadership?

Gentleness isn’t the first value you’d consider pairing with leadership, is it? Sometimes we view gentleness as slightly wishy-washy or weak. But it’s really not. If you look at the definition of the value of Gentleness, you’ll discover a new perspective…

Gentleness:  even-tempered; considerate; honorable, strength under control.

Gentleness is Strength under Control

As leaders who strive to lead like Jesus, what would it look like if we incorporated the value of Gentleness into our leadership?

Do you see Jesus as gentle?

  • He demonstrated self-control, always acting with purpose.
  • He was honorable, treating others with love and respect, regardless if they reciprocated.
  • He was even-tempered and diligent in every crisis.
  • He covered and protected those who needed healing.
  • He asked great questions and responded with grace.

Jesus definitely demonstrated strength under control.

How can we add some gentleness to our leadership in a world that doesn’t look favorably toward this value?

5 Ways to Incorporate Gentleness into Your Leadership

1. Gentle leaders use self-control to address difficult issues at the right time.

Gentleness chooses to address difficult issues at the right time – the best time for the one in need. Control yourself. Wait. Gentleness is strength under control.

2. Gentle leaders speak the truth with love and respect.

Gentleness speaks the truth in love. When shining a light on a tender issue, gentleness maintains respect and kindness.  You can still be truthful when addressing those delicate topics. But be gentle by using love and respect as you do. Gentleness moves with respect.

3. Gentle leaders are reliable and even-tempered in a crisis.

Gentleness remains even-tempered during a crisis, yet stays alert for possible dangers. Work to keep your tone and pace deliberate in a crisis. You need to be reliable when dealing with the hurricanes and tsunamis of life. Keep your head up and in the game, but don’t over-react when facing challenges. Gentleness reacts in a positive and reliable manner.

4. Gentle leaders can be trusted to cover and protect tender spots.

Gentleness protects vulnerable spots but addresses the hurt that needs healing. Sometimes a hurt needs a chance to breathe – to be explored within a trusted relationship. Can you be trusted to be gentle with hurts? Can you be trusted that you won’t poke or prod or expose a hurt in an unfriendly atmosphere? Prayer is a wonderful way to cover and protect tender spots. Gentleness is trustworthy.

5. Gentle leaders ask questions and demonstrate grace.

Gentleness takes its time to consider all the facts, but is quick to forgive and ask for forgiveness. Study the life of Jesus. When challenged, He often responded with a question. Instead of judging, He extended grace. Exercise your ability to ask for and extend forgiveness. Gentleness approaches conflict with grace.

Regardless how your current leadership role might be defined, whenever you influence the thinking, behavior or development of others, you are taking on the role of a leader. This is what it means to lead like Jesus.

"Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”  Matthew 11:29

Now, consider the impact you can have when you influence others as a gentle leader. Ideally, they’ll experience the strength under control that Jesus demonstrated, creating a safe environment to heal, learn, and grow.

By Robert and Lori Ferguson 

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