Shuffling into work on a dreary day, you discover a small piece of paper on your desk from your boss. Looking closer, you realize it’s a note of encouragement, acknowledging the hard work you’ve done and the steps you’ve taken to become a dedicated staff member. With note in hand, the day begins with a new sense of joy and commitment. This is benevolent leadership in action.
As we develop our entrepreneurial dreams, uncover new callings, and pursue new vocations, it’s important to learn new leadership skills. That’s why a commitment to being ethical and becoming a benevolent leader is crucial.
Benevolent people are kind people, but their kindness translates from thought to real-life action. By combining community, meaning, and moral ethics, benevolent leaders make a tangible difference in the lives of their followers.
Benevolence in the Bible champions others to rise higher and become all that God created them to be. It is service focused, outcome oriented, and intentionally honest. God is benevolent, kind, and slow to anger (Psalm 103:8). By studying examples of benevolence and learning new leadership styles, we are transformed into leaders of integrity.
Meaning of benevolence
There are several credible leadership styles that are backed by research, including servant leadership and transformational leadership. However, another style to add to the “toolkit” of new skills is benevolent leadership.
Benevolent leadership is a newer style initially researched by Fahri Karakas. It focuses on creating meaning for individuals with the goal of attaining the common good, inspiring hope, and pursuing whole-hearted intentionality. Rather than simply making the choice to serve others because it’s on the “to-do list”, benevolent leaders make decisions out of a deeper sense of love, kindness, and charity.
Benevolent leadership in a practical sense involves making fair choices based on ethics, encouraging positivity and togetherness, and choosing to champion the good. Viewing others as unique individuals who each have something equally different and equally beautiful to bring to the table makes a tangible difference.
Putting people at the core of any business or entrepreneurial pursuits takes practice. This style prioritizes leadership from the start and recognizes the difference committed individuals make in a successful workplace.
When the phone rings, the bills pile up, and you’re trying to figure out if your new idea is even going to work, you might be thinking that being “benevolent” and making meaning for your team should be last on your list. Adopting this style might take a bit of work, but being a faithful servant is always worth the effort. Scripture shows us that being benevolent is a crucial skill:
“For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.”
[Galatians 5:13 (ESV)]
“So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.”
[Matthew 7:12 (NIV)]
“Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.”
[Ephesians 4:32 (NLT)]
Benevolent people are kind people, but their kindness translates from thought to real-life action.
So what does this look like on a daily basis?
- Become a mentor: Rather than merely showing up as the “boss”, learn to champion others and encourage them to transform into the best versions of themselves. Be willing to humble yourself and work for the team so that you’re acting as an equal to your staff members. Consider taking a coaching or mentoring class to develop this skill.
- Learn meaning making: Cultivate a work environment that fosters collaboration and community. Find moments to celebrate, and choose activities and assignments that will create new opportunities for growth, trust, and togetherness.
- Commit to being ethical: No matter what life throws your way, it’s never worth it to cut corners. God calls us to a higher level of ethics, or “doing what’s right.” Be intentional about intertwining honesty and transparency in everything you do. Start developing accountability structures for your team and consider pursuing independent accreditations in your field.
- Strike a balance: For entrepreneurs, it can be easy to start running on empty as you pursue new challenges. When this happens as a team, the results can be devastating. Recognizing the validity of a healthy work-life balance, actively listening to your employees, and fostering an empathetic atmosphere will prevent burnout.
- Find inspiration: Even a small spark of inspiration can light a flame of motivation. Choose inspiring assignments and encourage wellbeing for the common good.
This leadership style has numerous advantages, including:
- Heightened engagement
- Organizational commitment
- Equal responsibility taking and sharing
- Increased happiness and positivity
- Additional efficiency and motivation
The best leadership style is the one that is right for your staff members at that specific time. By diversifying your skill set and enacting benevolent leadership techniques, you’ll be equipped to influence and inspire as you pursue your God-given dreams.