Ten Commandments for Leaders

Ten Commandment For Leaders

J.N. Manokaran

Leadership is a privilege, honour, responsibility, accountability, stewardship, decision making etc. There are as many successful leaders as failed leaders. There are many organization, movements and institutions that failed because of bad leadership. The Ten Commandments provides us real insights for effective leadership.

Principle 1: Accountable to God (No other gods)

There is only one God who is Lord of all the earth. All human beings are accountable to God. Paul gives a very clear principle that we work not for man or for wages, or for survival or for a company or for government or for humanity, but for the Lord. (Col 3:23) That makes our work (mundane or great, home or otuside) as sacred offering and worship unto the Lord. There is no need for supervision, monitoring and even CCTV cameras.

The commandment begins with the reminder of relationship with the Lord. He brought out the people of Israel out of Egyptian slavery. Likewise, Christians are delivered from the slavery of Sin, Satan and World and so free only to serve the Lord. So, they are not bound by principles of culture, world, media or selfishness.

Principle 2: Only model Lord Jesus Christ (No other gods)

The Nation of Israel were reminded that they have no other gods and cannot create their own gods. Then for leaders, there are no other models except the model of Lord Jesus Christ. His model is that of incarnation and servant leadership. He identified with humanity, that he suffered pain, hunger, fatigue, thirst and death. A leader has to identify with the people whom they serve. They are not above the rest as the world thinks. Servant leadership is attitude and mindset that serving is the noblest principle of leadership. It is not controlling, commanding and demanding pampering for our egos.

Servant leadership includes sacrifice. Like Lord Jesus the Good Shepherd should be willing to sacrifice, even to the level of giving the life. (John 10:11)

Principle 3: Not misuse authority and privilege (Do not take the name of the Lord in vain)

A leader should not misuse his authority or office or privileges and perks bestowed upon him. The vested authority can be misused for personal gain or promotion. By virtue of the position, people like to get things done quickly, while others have to wait. Jumping the queue, refusing to abide by the rules and regulations, claiming exemptions from what others do…etc. Annas and Caiphas the Chief Priest during Lord Jesus time on the earth misused their position as Priests to convert ministry in the temple as market and instigated people to demand crucifixion of Lord Jesus.

Principle 4: Rest (Remember Sabbath)

This principle helps a leader to reflect and understand that s/he is not created for work. It stops a person from becoming workaholic and equate such addiction to commitment and loyalty. Taking adequate rest as necessary for the individual is important. Providing that same privilege of rest for co-workers, personal staff and family members is important. Some leaders refuse to give rest for servant maids, domestic helps, personal car drivers and even office staff.

Principle 5: Value of relationship (Honour your parents)

Relationships are important and some see as sacred. Relationships are at the best, when based on love, dignity and honour. Treating others with dignity, especially, the lowest in the hierarchy of the organization. Honouring people when that is due is also important. (Romans 13:7) Many people are not honoured or recognized. Worse, some are even insulted. There are many who retire with bitterness. In market economy, the older people, are thrown out as their strength has been sucked out by the organization or company.

Relationships should not be manipulated for power politics. Black mailing relationships are dangerous. Abusive relationship destroys a person. Dominating relationship does not allow others to grow.

Principle 6: No personal enmity, anger and bitterness (No Murder)

In leadership love and forgiveness are key. Attitude of revenge is dangerous for a leader. Anger has to disappear as sun goes down. If not, anger broods and becomes resentment. That develops as bitterness. The bitterness conspires and becomes tool for vengeance. That could result in violence also.

Many leaders kill the careers and future of their colleagues or subordinates. There are leaders who kill or destroy the opportunities of others to display their talents, skills and abilities. Some leaders, write adverse confidential report that are false which is character assassination that is equal to murder. Some leaders close doors of growth and progress for their subordinates. There are Christian leaders who have not studied much, so do not allow their subordinates to study above them. One such organization has over 1000 staff in India. None of them have doctoral degree. While the same organization in other parts of the world boasts of so many specialized leaders who have doctorates.

Principle 7: No adultery

Leaders are warned against sexual distractions. David blundered with Bathsheba while Joseph ran away from Potiphar’s wife. Using the authority to gain sexual favours from subordinates, or using sex to gain increment and promotions from higher ups is sin against God.

Principle 8 No stealing

Leaders try to get credit that is due to their subordinates. Instead of giving credit and honour to those it belongs, they usurp it. Stealing other people ideas and presenting as their own is also sin. Several students in Bible colleges steal thesis and present it as their own. Using the time, resources, equipments and connections of the organization for personal benefit is stealing. There are Christian leaders who copy (in fact steal) ideas for projects, and even sponsors of others.

Principle 9: No lies

Leaders have to be transparent and truthful. It does not mean that all secret information should be put in public domain. Misrepresenting facts and not disclosing full information is equal to telling lies. One company came to Chennai and recruited young people who have finished their schooling promising permanent jobs. Lured by money and job, these teenagers joined the company which shut doors after ten years. Now, in the mid-twenties, these young people are jobless, no new skills, less education and no opportunity to work. They blame the HR leaders for suppressing the fact that the job is not permanent and not sharing about the risk involved. The same has happened in several Christian organizations. Many young people lives were miserably spoiled and some beyond redemption.

Principle 10: Do not covet

Leaders are not supposed to covet other organizations, their staff, their infrastructure, resources, networks and reputation. The Parable of Talents teaches us clearly that some are given Five, some Two and some only One. The challenge is to use what is given with gratefulness; with the attitude of stewardship; for the glory of God; optimally, wisely and strategically.


The Ten Commandments gives us best practices for being a good, effective, God honouring leader. Only such leaders build the Kingdom of God on earth, bring peace and prosperity to humanity. Others build their own petty kingdom bringing division, destruction and even devastation.




About J.N. Manokaran

Preacher, Teacher and Writer. Serving Lord Jesus Christ through Community Bible Study
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