Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Essential Qualities of a Leader

According to an Indian student leader P.T. Chandapilla, “Christian leadership is a vocation which blends both human and divine qualities in a harmony of ministry by God and His people for the blessing of others.” The following qualities of a leader are excerpt from my discussion in Lay Institute for Christian Advancement (LIfCA) last Saturday, January 7. Insights are adapted and revised from Oswald J. Sanders’ book entitled Spiritual Leadership.

1. Disciplined

Whatever gift or talent you have, if you don’t have discipline, it will decline. Athletes need to train and exercise to maintain their body and their skills and it takes a discipline on their part to achieve that.

Without this essential quality, all other gifts remain as dwarfs: they cannot grow. (Oswald Sanders)

The road to godliness is a road of discipline.” (Bill Hull)

The heights by great men reached and kept

Were not attained by sudden flight;

But they, while their companions slept,

Were toiling upward in the night. (Anonymous)

2. Visionary

You can’t lead if you don’t have a plan or a vision for your group. You should set a target so you know where you are going.

Vision involves foresight as well as insight. (Sanders, 1997)

A vision without a task makes a visionary.

A task without a vision is drudgery.

A vision with a task makes a missionary. (N. G. Dunning)

Vision leads the leader. It paints the target. It sparks and fuels the fire within. Show me a leader without vision, and I’ll show you someone who isn’t going anywhere. (John Maxwell)

3. Wise and Passionate

I see wisdom and passion should go hand-in-hand. Wisdom should kindle your heart to burn in passion while you cannot be passionate for something you are not familiar with or you don’t know much; that is too dangerous.

If knowledge is the accumulation of facts, and intelligence the development of reason, wisdom is heavenly discernment. It is insight into the heart of things. Wisdom involves knowing God and the subtleties of the human heart. More than knowledge, it is the right application of knowledge in moral and spiritual matters, in handling dilemmas, in negotiating complex relationships…If knowledge comes by study; wisdom comes by Holy Spirit filling. (Oswald Sanders)

Knowledge and wisdom, far from being one,

Have oftentimes no connection. Knowledge dwells

In head replete with thoughts of other men:

Wisdom, in minds attentive to their own.

Knowledge is proud that he has learned so much,

Wisdom is humble, that he knows no more. (Author unknown)

The giants of the faith all had one thing in common: neither victory nor success but passion. (Philip Yancey)

4. Decision-Maker and Prayerful

A leader, in as much as he is supposed to be independent enough to make decisions; he should know that his primary task is to seek his Master’s will through prayers before coming up with a decision. It is easy for a leader to decide by the will of God if he spends more of his time in prayer; fro in prayer you’ll know the very heart of God.

When all the facts are in, swift and clear decision is the mark of a true leader. A visionary may see, but a leader must decide. An impulsive person may be quick to declare a preference; but a leader must weigh evidence and make his decision on sound premises. (Oswald Sanders)

Prayer helps us to increasingly see the world how God sees it. (Christine Dillon)

5. Courageous and Spirit-dependent

There is once a war movie I love which taught me how to be a leader. Mel Gibson in that movie assured his subordinates as they get ready for a battle that he will be the first to step on the battlefield but will be the last one to step out of it. That is a leader. He possesses such courage and the blessedness of being a Christian leader is that his courage is not his own; it is the Holy Spirit who gives him that courage.

Courage is that quality of mind which enables people to encounter danger or difficulty firmly, without fear or discouragement…

…Consider these two contrasting statements: “With the doors locked for fear of the Jews” (John 20:19), and, “When they saw the courage of Peter and John” (Acts4:13). These statements describe the same disciples and the same opposition. What happened between the first and the second? The difference is the Holy Spirit. “All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:4). And when the Holy Spirit is given control of the personality he gives not “a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power” (2 Timothy 1:7). (Oswald Sanders)

6. Humble

Humility is the hallmark of the spiritual leader…The spiritual leader will choose the hidden path of sacrificial service and approval of the Lord over the flamboyant self-advertising of the world. (Oswald Sanders)

Let us learn from two of the great men in the Bible about humility:

John the Baptist: He must become greater; I must become less. (John 3:30)

Paul: I am the least of the apostles and do not even deserve to be called an apostle. (I Corinthians 15:9)

I am less than the least of all God’s people. (Ephesians 3:8)

Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners – of whom I am the worst. (I Timothy 1:15)

7. With Integrity and Sincerity

You life is being watched and imitated by your followers so walk with integrity and talk with sincerity.

Surely the spiritual leader must be sincere in promise, faithful in discharge of duty, upright in finances, loyal in service, and honest in speech. (Oswald Sanders)

You shall be blameless before the Lord your God. (Deuteronomy 18:13)

8. Patient

When fruits or results are often unseen, we tend to rush and pressure our followers. A leader should be patient enough to understand his followers’ weaknesses. Remember how patient is the Lord with our shortcomings.

A leader shows patience by not running too far ahead of his followers and thus discouraging them. While keeping ahead, he stays near enough for them to keep him in sight and hear his call forward. He is not so strong that he cannot show a strengthening sympathy for the weakness of his fellows. “We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak,” Paul wrote in Romans 15:1. (Oswald Sanders)

9. Tact and With Diplomacy

A leader is not a dictator and sensitivity to your followers’ needs and situations is needed for their growth.

The root meaning of “tact” has to do with touching. The tactile sense is the ability to feel through touch. Concerning relationships, tact is the ability to deal with people sensitively, to avoid giving offense, to have a feel for the proper words or responses to a delicate situation.

Diplomacy is the ability to manage delicate situations, especially involving people from different cultures, and certainly from differing opinions. (Oswald Sanders)

10. With Strong Conviction and Inspirational Power

A leader who is visionary is a leader with conviction. Otherwise, his vision will remain as an ambition or unfulfilled dream. But his strong conviction should not remain in his heart alone; his conviction is infectious that it will be felt and embraced by his followers too. This conviction is not a burden to his followers because it will be a source of inspiration among his followers as the leader also possesses inspirational power. He keeps of pushing them and lifting them; encouraging them to joyfully shout their single passion, their single conviction.

The power of inspiring others to service and sacrifice will mark God’s leader. The leader is like a light for others around…Nehemiah had this quality. The people in Jerusalem were utterly disheartened and dispirited when he arrived. In no time he built them into an effective team of workers. Such were his powers that before long we read, “The people had a mind to work.” (Oswald Sanders)

The problem with most leaders today is they don’t stand for anything. If you don’t stand for some thing, you’ll fall for anything. (Don Shula)


Diana Guess said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Beloved Manelle said...

thanks for dropping by, Diana... thank you for your insight too... maybe when it comes to business or other team-related activities, good communication skill is very important...

nonetheless, if we are talking about Christian leadership, it is not a "must" and topmost qualification... inner characteristics are the most important qualifications in Christian leadership. John Wesley says, “My one aim in life is to secure personal holiness, for without being holy myself I cannot promote real holiness in others.” So a leader hoping to be followed and imitated in his walk with the Lord must see to it that he has indeed been walking with the Lord...

Moses was one of the great leaders of Israel. Nonetheless, he had at first hesitance for being one:

Exo 4:10 But Moses said to the LORD, "Oh, my Lord, I am not eloquent, either in the past or since you have spoken to your servant, but I am slow of speech and of tongue."

But because of the grace of GOD and his real commitment and love for the LORD, he became one of the great leaders I've ever known... ^___^

God bless you

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