Character is foundational to the success of leadership. We know this to be true, but what is the substance of our character.
Psalm 15:2 contributes three key elements: a way of life, work ethic, and manner of speech. Character is defined by the three phrases.
We must walk with integrity.
We must work righteousness.
Speak truth in our heart.
When the whole of our life and leadership are developed on the foundation of these three areas, our character is being defined as God would define it.
Accountability introduces a number of thoughts.
There is the implication of what is required. We are required to be trustworthy, faithful, examples, and people of integrity.
There are certain expectations. If we expect little/more, we get little/more. When leaders make decisions, we expect to be held accountable.
There is an understanding of responsibility. If we are accountable, then certain responsibilities are connected to our decisions and actions.
We will all give an account for our deeds in this life, good and bad. How much more so for leaders who answer to God for leading His people?
Leadership tends to introduce several interesting twists in the development of leaders and followers.
How do we want others to treat us? With respect, integrity, love, appreciation, patience, etc.? If this is true, then Jesus would say treat others this way first!
We must not be influenced or directed by the practices of culture in our relationships.
It is easy to react, instead of acting as we should. Additionally, we must be careful to guard against overreacting.
Leaders must learn to act in keeping with the way we want others to act.
Leadership involves responsibility. The claim of many is that the greater the responsibility, the fewer the rights.
We live in a culture where taking responsibility is not a common practice. We could say we live in a culture where the common practice is one of blaming others. Not much has changed since the beginning.
However, quality leaders seek responsibility and take responsibility for their actions.
Leaders give credit to the team when there is victory, but take full responsibility when there is a defeat.
Rarely do we find such integrity and leadership. Yet, when we do, influence abounds. The result? People follow!
Styles of leadership are numerous, one of which is transformational leadership. The idea is leadership that transforms the people around them, shaping the direction of the future.
Transformational leadership characterizes leaders who have integrity and exemplify consistency in their example. They encourage, support, and help followers look beyond their own self-interests and focus on the good of the team.
Of all leadership styles, this one connects to the heart of spiritual leadership.
Are we transforming others to live closer to God?
Are we striving to transform the lives of others by the character we demonstrate?
We often develop relationships because we believe there is a payoff down the road. Samuel Johnson wrote, “The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good.”
Our leadership gains momentum if we learn to avoid favoritism, develop consistency, fairness, and the highest level of integrity.
Why is this important? Because God shows no partiality. He does not look at the color of our skin, nationality in our passport, age, gender, or the amount of physical prosperity. He simply examines the heart of each person. Do we?
Integrity is more than honesty. It involves strong moral principles, a moral uprightness.
There is an incorruptible nature to a spiritual leader who demonstrates integrity. They take responsibility for who they are and what they do.
Integrity displays an undivided and unshakeable character of Biblical soundness. This character exudes humility and follows a path of consistency.
Integrity is best taught to children at a young age. Leadership must exemplify it.
Integrity stands for, speaks, and lives truth and will not change, even if it stands alone.
Christians are what we are “in the dark.” Think about it!
Businesses offer a raincheck for out-of-stock merchandise. The benefit helps build loyalty between the customer and business.
Loyalty is one of the most vital characteristics of leadership. How do we build the kind of loyalty needed as leaders?
Demonstrate trust: We must trust in God and also learn to trust in others.
Develop consistency and integrity: Without these, loyalty will be impossible.
Dedicate ourselves: We must be dedicated to God, others, and reaching the goal.
These are only a few steps, but if we will take them we can build a solid foundation for loyalty.
What brings discouragement to leadership? Failure? Inability? People?
Discouragement causes us to lose confidence and enthusiasm. How do we prevent discouragement?
- Focus on higher priorities and a greater cause.
- Work to create confidence and enthusiasm in others.
- Develop a work ethic of diligence and integrity.
- Determine to do “what” is right not just “be” right.
- Remember we will make mistakes. Deal with them properly and move ahead.
Following a few simple ideas can encourage others and bring greater encouragement to our leadership. Then we will see more times when we are up, rather than down.
Connecting with people is vital to good leadership. Several elements will help establish this connection.
1) Be transparent.
2) Provide hope.
3) Consistency is essential.
4) Relate to people individually.
5) Find ways to genuinely compliment others.
Leaders who connect lead with passion and integrity. They know and are known by others. Love for others drives a leader’s heart. Reaching the goal motivates a leader’s actions. Staying connected keeps a leader balanced.