Leader responsibility in the workplace: Exploring the shepherd metaphor in the book of Jeremiah


Leadership and responsibility go hand in hand in the workplace. Secular literature has explored this aspect in great length and has emphasised the various aspects this characteristic of leadership entails. In this article I briefly refer to some of the areas and aspects of responsibility that come the way of leaders in the workplace. However, this article aims at making a contribution from a biblical perspective, more particularly by exploring some aspects of the shepherd metaphor in the book of Jeremiah. From looking into this metaphor there are three aspects of leadership which emerge that I wish to address, namely: to lead people, to care for people and the less obvious third aspect of exercising justice and righteousness. Not only are leaders responsible for exercising justice and righteousness in the area of their leadership; they also have to see that justice and righteousness prevail and are safeguarded in settings where they have leadership responsibilities. The aim of this article, finally, is to relate these insights which emerged from the investigation of the shepherd metaphor in the book of Jeremiah to the context(s) of the modern-day workplace.