6 Quotes from Top Business Leaders and their Sociological Meaning

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Top business leaders may not be social scientists and sociologists but their long journey to success and experience in building their empires have given them some sociological wisdom and theories in their minds on what works or fails in the field of business. They may not have articulated exactly the type of theories and insights they use in the quotes, but they are nevertheless very sociological and empirical from a sociologist’s point of view. Let us examine and analyze sociologically the following quotes from well-known global business leaders:

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This quote emphasizes that media business needs visionary leaders. In sociology, the type of leader with vision is usually the charismatic leader. The German sociologist Max Weber basically classifies leaders into 3 types: Charismatic, Traditional, and Rational-Legal. The charismatic leader is one with extraordinary talents and personal traits. His talent includes a vision of the future.

It is proven that today’s great business leaders are people who think and see ahead of their times. They have the talent to spot opportunities which ordinary entrepreneurs cannot see. Charismatic leaders are creative and innovative people who are willing to break traditions just to actualize their visions. Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, and Jack Ma, to name a few, are examples of charismatic business leaders. In contrast, the traditional leader is usually a conservative person who only follows the tradition and culture of what is handed down from the past to the firm, while the rational-legal leader is one leads only to the laws and policies of the company.

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This quote emphasizes that the customer is the ultimate boss in business. Without customers, the business cannot survive and grow. The resources and capital of the business firm must be used wisely to serve the customers. Managers have no business in the company if they cannot provide the best products and services to the customers.

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This quote stresses that one must take risks in business but only if it is a good cause, if it can lead to a good life, presumably for the customers and the public. A business firm and its leaders cannot takes risks if what they do are contrary to law, custom, and needs of the public. It cannot engage in shady deals and corruption just to increase its profit.  Some companies, for instance, pollute rivers by dumping their wastes at the expense of the inhabitants and environment.

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Bill Gates may not be a sociologist, but he knows that life is not equal. It is part of urban society’s social stratification where people are classified according to wealth or social class and according to their skills and level of education or social status. In a capitalist society, the social structure always favors and rich and entrepreneurs, while the poor and workers are oftentimes exploited and forgotten.

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This is a very good observation by Jack Ma. Not many people can see that complaints are actually gaps in the system and opportunities for the business firm to grow and even create new products and services to address them.

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Jack Ma, because of his vision and long experience in business, is correct. The right people for the job or task in the company are not necessarily the best ones. The best people are actually difficult to train in the company. They usually have a strong sense of entitlement. They tend to be good at commanding rather than obeying people who know the needs and problems of the company. That is why, aside from the necessary qualification, the employees must possess the right attitudes, values, and personalities which are consonant with the company’s mission-vision. A business firm is a system with interdependent parts and functions. It requires a teamwork. If the firm hires the best people rather than the right employees, it can result in disharmony and systemic dyfunction which are not good for business.

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Top 5 Biblical Passages for Christian Business Leaders

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1. Mark 10:43-45

“But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be the slave of all. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

This passage from the Gospel of Mark is considered the central image of a Christian leader– a suffering servant. A leader who serves his/her constituents rather than being served by them. Leadership in the Christian sense is service for the sake of the Kingdom and self-emptying to empower others.

Under this model, the leader does not seek glory and power for his/her self but to promote and protect the common good even if this entails dying to one’s self and disregarding his/her self-interest.

In Catholic Church’s teaching, doing business is a form of service to God and people–the customers. Its ultimate goal is not really profiteering but serving the public by providing consumers with high-quality goods and services in order that they can enjoy the fruits of God’s creation.

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A good and Christian leader must then strive to become a servant of God in the business organization, providing the public with quality goods and services.

As managers, they must not abuse their discretionary powers in the workplace but instead empower others to become servants and leaders too in their respective duties and areas of responsibilities.

2. Philippians 2:3

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves..”

This passage from the Letter of Paul to the Philippians can remind business leaders not to seek selfish ambitions or vain conceit. They must be humble, always conscious that positions of power in the business organization is temporary and meant for service.

Selfish ambition or conceit in the business organization can lead to unhealthy competition, politics, and sidelining of the corporate values just to get ahead of others in the promotion system.

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3. 1 Timothy 3:2

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Now the overseer is to be above reproach, faithful to his wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach…”

This passage reminds business leaders to walk the talk, to witness what they preach in the workplace. A good and Christian leader is one who always provides a good example for others to follow.

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4. Proverbs 27:23-24

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“Be sure you know the condition of your flocks, give careful attention to your herds;  for riches do not endure forever, and a crown is not secure for all generations.”
Business leaders must not be only conscious about their position of power and authority, of the benefits and rewards they could get if they perform well in the company.
They must, first of all, know the real conditions of their employees in the workplace. They should check whether they are properly remunerated with a just wage by the company.
Corporate productivity is often tied up with the level of satisfaction of the workers with their wage and social benefits.
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5. Isaiah 41:10

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“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

In Church’s teachings, work is connected with one’s spirituality: A leader’s duty and role in the company must be part of his/her spiritual life.

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A Christian leader is one who is always conscious that the work of managing others in the workplace is part of his/her quest for salvation. Sanctification is not only expressed inside the Church but anywhere since God’s presence is everywhere. Thus, if business leaders are always aware of God’s presence in the workplace, he/she would never be fearful in his decisions and actions.

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Top 5 Biblical Passages for Christian Business Leaders

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1. Mark 10:43-45

“But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be the slave of all. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

This passage from the Gospel of Mark is considered the central image of a Christian leader– a suffering servant. A leader who serves his/her constituents rather than being served by them. Leadership in the Christian sense is service for the sake of the Kingdom and self-emptying to empower others.

Under this model, the leader does not seek glory and power for his/her self but to promote and protect the common good even if this entails dying to one’s self and disregarding his/her self-interest.

In Catholic Church’s teaching, doing business is a form of service to God and people–the customers. Its ultimate goal is not really profiteering but serving the public by providing consumers with high-quality goods and services in order that they can enjoy the fruits of God’s creation.

serving we are GIF by Green Valley Community Church

A good and Christian leader must then strive to become a servant of God in the business organization, providing the public with quality goods and services.

As managers, they must not abuse their discretionary powers in the workplace but instead empower others to become servants and leaders too in their respective duties and areas of responsibilities.

2. Philippians 2:3

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves..”

This passage from the Letter of Paul to the Philippians can remind business leaders not to seek selfish ambitions or vain conceit. They must be humble, always conscious that positions of power in the business organization is temporary and meant for service.

Selfish ambition or conceit in the business organization can lead to unhealthy competition, politics, and sidelining of the corporate values just to get ahead of others in the promotion system.

grow up trump GIF by Interstellardesignz

3. 1 Timothy 3:2

happy well done GIF by Expo Pass

Now the overseer is to be above reproach, faithful to his wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach…”

This passage reminds business leaders to walk the talk, to witness what they preach in the workplace. A good and Christian leader is one who always provides a good example for others to follow.

angry d&d GIF by Hyper RPG

4. Proverbs 27:23-24

jesus wink GIF

“Be sure you know the condition of your flocks, give careful attention to your herds;  for riches do not endure forever, and a crown is not secure for all generations.”
Business leaders must not be only conscious about their position of power and authority, of the benefits and rewards they could get if they perform well in the company.
They must, first of all, know the real conditions of their employees in the workplace. They should check whether they are properly remunerated with a just wage by the company.
Corporate productivity is often tied up with the level of satisfaction of the workers with their wage and social benefits.
derek jeter leadership GIF by Fast Company

5. Isaiah 41:10

fearless lil kim GIF by VH1 Hip Hop Honors

“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

In Church’s teachings, work is connected with one’s spirituality: A leader’s duty and role in the company must be part of his/her spiritual life.

informing kyle broflovski GIF by South Park

A Christian leader is one who is always conscious that the work of managing others in the workplace is part of his/her quest for salvation. Sanctification is not only expressed inside the Church but anywhere since God’s presence is everywhere. Thus, if business leaders are always aware of God’s presence in the workplace, he/she would never be fearful in his decisions and actions.

preacher convincing GIF by South Park

GIF Credits: Giphy.com

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Fatherhood is Leadership

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Leadership begins at home. How our father brought us up at home can influence our own style of leadership.Our first lesson of leadership comes from our own father. But we have to remember that fatherhood is a social construct and not an inborn trait. So any person performing a paternal role is a father. Our first lesson can come from our single parent Mom who also acts a “father” in the absence of a biological dad. Any member of the LGBT can also act as a “father” if s/he adopted a child. Whatever is the gender of our fathers, it is from them we learn how to lead and care for people.

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From birth up to adolescence, the father’s influence to their children is crucial as social scientists consider this period as the formative years of the child. Whatever the child learns on the basics of leadership, if there are any, is very significant social learning the child can bring as he or she grows up to adulthood.

What kind of a leader you are now is largely influenced by your parents, especially the father, raised you up on how to deal with people. The peer group too plays a significant influence when the child reaches the adolescent period. This formative period or primary socialization can mold a person’s mind concerning leadership. Of course, the formal education of the person in school is also an important factor to his or her leadership formation.

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In patriarchal society, the role of the father is actually a leadership role. Under this social structure, the father is the head of the household, the breadwinner, and political leader of the family. So becoming a father is actually becoming a leader, albeit only in the limited sphere of the household. But whatever the father does in his own family can also be projected to his employees and subordinates in his business firm, if he performs some managerial roles. So it’s crucial that the father must be a benevolent and effective manager and leader to his own home in order that he can also consciously or unconsciously become the effective and generous manager or CEO of his firm. In other words, he must practice what he preached as a leader, starting with his own home management!

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Fatherhood is not an inborn trait. Sociologists believe that fatherhood is a social construct. It can be learned. So the defects of one’s upbringing due to a “bad” father can be remedied through proper education and influence of good people.

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Becoming a Christian Leader

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Introduction

Among all models on leadership, there is one significant image that can be used as a template for all Christians who want to understand leadership and become a leader–the servant model. According to this model, a servant must always be a person who serves other people and not the other way around. A leader is, above all, a servant to his/her followers or constituents! The teaching of the Gospels on leadership is still the best model for all those aspiring to become Christian leaders in their chosen field.

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Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, “If anyone wants to be first, he must be the last of all and the servant of all” (Mark 9:35). “Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant” (Matt. 20:26).

John Maxwell on Leadership

John Maxwell, a well-known Evangelical Christian pastor and popular guru on leadership knows more about the Christian model of leadership, being an expert on the Bible and Christian ministry. Maxwell is a leadership expert, speaker, and author and founder of INJOY, Maximum Impact, The John Maxwell Team, ISS and EQUIP, organizations all focusing on leadership development to help business leaders. Overall, Maxwell basically applies the servant model in the field of business management and aims to form Christian leaders.

Qualities of a Christian Leader

The Biblical model of leadership transcends all other theorizing on leadership. The Christian model has the following important characteristics as illustrated by some Biblical stories:

  1. The Story of the Good Shepherd (John 10:11-12). A Christian leader protects his/her followers from external threats to their personal and social security. With great faith in God, a Christian leader is ready to die for what is good for his/her constituents. A Christian manager, for instance, knows how to protect his/her employees from retrenchment, unjust accusations, violence, threats, politics, and unfair labor practice in the workplace.
  2. The Last Supper (Mt. 26:17–30, Mk. 14:12–26, Lk. 22:7–39 and Jn. 13:1–17:26) . A Christian leader joyfully serves his/her followers. S/he does not desire to be served by those who depend on him/her. Christ washing of the feet of the apostles symbolizes a humble leader who does aim for public praise and social prestige of becoming a leader. A Christian leader does his/her job as a shepherd to his/her followers because it is part his/her response to  God’s calling that those want to be the greatest must be a servant to all. Christian leadership is not driven by the desire for success or wealth but to establish God’s Kingdom in the workplace or society. It requires a strong spirituality of work and a drive to follow what Christ said that He came to earth to serve and not to be served.
  3. The Story of John the Baptist (Matthew 3:1-12). The story of John the Baptist in the Gospels implies that a Christian leader must also be a prophet to society. To be a prophet is to preach the Christian message in the midst of oppression and exploitation of people in the workplace or society. A Christian leader must have a strong social awareness of what is going on in his/her social environment and courageous enough to point out to powerful people and enemies the social injustices they have done to his/her constituents or followers. This personal courage of the leader emanates from his/her strong faith in God.

For Christians, there is no other model but Christ Himself who died on the cross to save humanity from personal and social sins. Christ does not expect people who want to imitate Him as a leader to live a comfortable life. There will be persecutions and all forms of suffering for Christian leaders who aim to establish God’s Kingdom on earth. But Christ assured them with these words:

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“Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions, if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also” (John 14:1-3, NKJV).

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