Leadership is a much debated topic. One thing is for sure, everyone has an opinion about what makes a good leader or a poor leader. Here is something to consider if you are in a position of leadership or aspire to one:
“You’ll never lead anyone effectively until you learn to lead yourself.” Daniel Skognes
Think of effective leaders you have worked with in the past. I would wager that they share some common traits:
1. Effective leaders are good listeners. They are open to opposing points of view and don’t surround themselves with “yes men.”
2. They empower their people. They hold them accountable, but allow them to make mistakes within appropriate boundaries of authority. They don’t micromanage them.
3. They lead by example. No job is too menial and they put the needs of others ahead of their own ambitions. They lead by serving others.
4. They don’t fall into the trap of thinking, “We will do this because we have always done it this way. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” They anticipate change and embrace it. They don’t operate with a spirit of fear, but with a spirit of faith. They are willing to adapt and overcome.
5. They remain cool under fire. They allow neither their own emotions nor the emotions of others to dictate what they need to do.
6. They see potential in others and help them achieve their goals.
7. They set realistic goals for themselves and others, but always stretch for more.
8. They tell the truth even when it hurts, but they speak the truth in love.
9. They show respect for others even when they don’t deserve it because they understand that showing respect says more about themselves than it does about the other person.
10. They maintain a positive attitude in spite of the problems, obstacles, and attitudes of others.
11. They understand that nobody is perfect and they are transparent about their own shortcomings.
12. They exhibit courage in making decisions.
13. They are able to keep a confidence and they continually work on putting a bridle on their own tongue.
14. They surround themselves with wise advisors, and seek God’s help.
There is a proverb that says that a man who rules his own spirit can rule a city. Next time you observe a leader, think about what you like or dislike about them. The truth is, we all are leaders in some capacity. Whether you lead an organization, a family, a city, a nation, or just yourself, start with the attitude of a servant leader. If you start from a point of humility, you will likely grow and contribute in a positive way to this crazy world we live in. Leading with love comes at a cost, but the rewards are worth it. Don’t allow yourself to be the tyrant that you despise. It starts with you.