I recently gave a talk to a group of developing leaders about the kind of characteristics I believe are important hallmarks for great leadership. Truth is, the Junction Church is going to need great leaders to rise up as our church continues to grow.
So here are 6 qualities I look for in developing leaders:
This is of fundamental importance for a leader. Character is all about honesty, integrity, faithfulness & honour. Our personal life should never be a contradiction of who we are in public. In fact, great leaders don’t think in terms of ‘public’ and ‘private’ life. Instead, their lives are lived with consistency, vulnerability & humility. When mistakes are inevitably made, they aren’t hidden. Instead they’re acknowledged and lessons are learned.
Don’t think of charisma as ‘pizzazz’. Think of it in the biblical sense. ‘Charis’ means grace. So charisma is the grace that God gives a person to lead in a specific area. It’s important for each of us to recognise the sphere where God has graced us to serve and influence – and to live in that grace zone, not trying to operate outside of it. When the latter happens, leadership becomes egotistical and motivated by personal ambition – none of which is of good service to others.
Leaders need emotional intelligence. The ability to connect and journey with other people is vital. The leader who unnecessarily offends others through thoughtlessness and lack of tact ends up doing far more harm than good. This can be particularly true of highly gifted people whose talent can easily get wasted through lack of people skills. Leaders must learn the art of developing positive chemistry with others. Nothing works without it.
A sense of calling is vital for a leader. I always say that people never just join the Junction Church the moment they arrive. They actually join when they have every reason to take offence and leave – but choose to stay anyway. When God calls you to something, it’s irresistible. A sense of calling is especially important in leadership. Knowing you’re called to stay gives a leader credibility and gravitas.
It’s honourable to have a good heart that wants to inspire and lead. But great leaders know that this is not enough. They understand how vital it is to develop skills so they can lead with competence. This requires teachability and a heart that’s hungry to learn. Great leaders understand that competence produces confidence. So they constantly work to get better.
Wise leaders never expect less pressure. Instead they work at increasing their capacity to deal with more. Pressure is part of leadership. The greater the responsibility, the greater the pressure. Pressure doesn’t conceal what’s in our heart. It reveals it. This is why good character is crucial because pressure WILL reveal it’s flaws. What marks great leadership from average leadership is the capacity to stay calm and focussed under pressure. The greater your capacity, the greater your leadership potential.