Leadership is less about the words or actions of the leader and more about the character of the leader.
• Encourage others. (Romans 14:19)
• Set an example with your speech, life, and faith. (1 Timothy 4:12)
• Remain pure. (1 Timothy 4:12)
• Embrace humility and gentleness. (Ephesians 4:2)
• Promote peace and unity. (Ephesians 4:3)
• Avoid arguments and quarreling. (2 Timothy 2:24)
• Gently instruct others. (2 Timothy 2:25)
• Maintain emotional control. (Titus 2:6)
• Demonstrate integrity in your actions and speech. (Titus 2:7–8)
• Live your life above reproach. (1 Timothy 3:2)
It’s not the job description you would expect to see for a leadership position, is it? When you think about today’s leaders in politics and business—and even the church—these attributes don’t typically come to mind first.
Leadership outside the church often looks different from what God intended it to be inside the church.
That may explain some of the differences between the “job description” above and what we routinely see in the marketplace.
Ironically, though, in the business bestseller Good to Great, Jim Collins said his research seemed to infer that business leaders would do well to model this biblical approach to leadership. Collins said every good-to-great company studied was led by what he describes as a Level 5 leader, stating:
Those who worked with or wrote about the good-to-great leaders continually used words like quiet, humble, modest, reserved, shy, gracious, mild-mannered, self-effacing, understated, did not believe his own clippings; and so forth.
It’s interesting how similar that list is to the “job description” above. Neither list reflects the larger-than life leadership that we tend to expect from people in these positions. And that, of course, challenges me to think about my own leadership. I may be gifted to lead, but my character will determine the ongoing impact of my leadership. That’s something that can’t be measured in an interview or through a personality profile or on a resume. Character is proven over a lifetime.