Today’s blog post is a continuation from Friday’s post on the Character Qualities of a Leader. Obviously this is not a complete list of qualities a leader should have; it is however, a good place to start. What’s more, these qualities are all based on biblical principles. After reading them, let me know what you think and what other qualities you might add to the list.
Four Character Qualities of a Leader
On Friday, we looked at the importance of knowing who you are and to start living who you are and not who you are not. Over the past several weeks I fell in love with a new movie (it’s actually a re-make of a movie based on a novel); anyway, the movie is The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty. I love it, seen it three times now this month. It’s about this guy who lives in a fantasy world about doing great things; but in real life (I like that, “In Real Life” that’s what this blog is about – living a Real Life)… so, in real life Walter lives a rather boring life and as the movie progresses his two lives merge so that he discovers he can live a great life when he realizes who he is and who he is not (basically, go watch the movie – I hope you love it too).
And that brings us to Character Quality two for leaders…
Quality 2 – ACCEPT RESPONSIBILITY
So we have a big problem in our culture today; people want to pass the blame, “pass the buck” on their problems or issues or even on their mistakes. What’s more is that bad parenting teachs kids to not be responsible for their behavior, actions or attitude. It’s not easy being a teacher in today’s culture, I would not want to have parent/teacher meetings on a quarterly basis with a bunch of parents that believe their children do nothing wrong (I know not every meeting is like that, but I suspect that more and more we are moving toward that paradigm).
But it’s not just bad parenting, it’s bad leaders too; leaders that pass the blame for their own poor performance. Leaders that will not take ownership for their mistakes and they own too much of their success. Working with leaders who will not be responsible will create an unhealthy work environment. When the leader doesn’t take ownership for his mistakes the team around him will lose trust.
God has a different model of leadership that will work no matter what role you are in. It’s called “servant-leadership” and it’s what Jesus modeled for us during His earthly ministry. In fact, Jesus even taught His disciples to be servant leaders and they in turn are now teaching us to be servant leaders.
Galatians 5:13 (NIV)
You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love.
But what is servant leadership? It sounds like an oxymoron (you know, like: Great Depression, Act Naturally, Clearly Confused, Jumbo Shrimp, Pretty Ugly, Only Choice, Random Order, Open Secret, Goodbye Reception, Least Favorite, Honest Thief, etc.) Nevertheless, God wants us to server those we lead.
“Servant leadership is both a leadership philosophy and set of leadership practices. Traditional leadership generally involves the accumulation and exercise of power by one at the “top of the pyramid.” By comparison, the servant-leader shares power, puts the needs of others first and helps people develop and perform as highly as possible.”
Servant leadership requires the leader to keep the pulse of the team he is working with so he can inspire and motivate; so he can encourage and care; and so he can give hope and purpose in times of despair. Servant leadership is seeking the best for others and the organization.
So how did Moses do with servant leadership?
Hebrews 11:25 (NASB-U)
(Moses) choosing rather to endure ill-treatment with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin,
Moses, as we saw on Friday, grew up. He discovered who he was (and who he was not). What’s more, he learns to take responsibility for his life and how to serve others through his leadership. He endures ill-treatment with the people. He refuses the pleasure of sin. He inspires the people of God. He serves them with his life.
But what about us? This is what I have learned in the past several years; I cannot blame anyone but myself for the things I have not been able to accomplish with my life. I have to take full responsibility for the course of my life. There have been dreams I wanted to achieve but didn’t. There have been missed opportunities in life. There have been failed attempts in areas of ministry. Time and time again, I can look back and see where I made mistakes, where I didn’t follow-through or I didn’t communicate well enough. I have to own my life and what I have accomplished with it up to this point. I also cannot live off of other’s spiritual commitments. I have to own my spiritual life and my spiritual development.
Responsibility for our life means we have to take responsibility for all ares of our life (Our Physical Health, Our Mental Development, Our Financial Planning, Our Emotional Well-being, Our Relationships and Our Vocational Aspirations). We need to stop passing the blame for the things we are to be responsible for in life. Take those seven items I just listed and write them down. Now, what is your plan for each area to develop it? Do you have a plan? If you don’t have a plan for each area then you are not being responsible for your life.
Complete these statements:
- To have good physical health I will…
- My Financial life plan is to…
- I will develop great relationships with my family by…
- I will develop my work skills by…
- I will develop my mind by…
- I will join a small group to become emotionally healthy. YES / NO
Thanks for reading today’s post; tomorrow, we will look at the third Character Quality of a Leader, their priorities.