“What is the most important character dimension in a great leader?” “What is essential to become the kind of leader where people follow you for the right reasons?” “What vision do you want revealed through how you handle life?”
These are some of the questions I have been pondering. I’m all for competent leaders. Leaders who are skilled and keep working on the skill sets pertinent to the arena they lead in. But what about the deepest regions of their soul? What might be the most important character dimension in a great leader?
Now, let’s place that question alongside a variation of one of those other questions. “Generally speaking, what kind of leadership do people need?” What kind of leadership inspires people to rearrange their life for their own betterment? What kind of leadership will cause people to look back on their time under such leadership, and be deeply thankful? (Remember, not everyone is thankful during their time under great leadership, but will be thankful later. I’m sure there are a few of you who can look back on your teen age years and from your present position be thankful for the influence your parents and/or other key people had in your life…even though you thought it was rather intrusive at the time.)
So, I would like to suggest we first consider what people need from a great leader, and then move towards my thoughts on what the most important character dimension for that kind of leader is
People need ‘Responsible Leadership”.
Let’s think about this word, ‘responsible’. Since the words responsible and responsive are related, I would suggest that a responsible leader is someone who acts responsively. They know how to respond. They are skilled at responding in ways that spur others to be responsible themselves. … responsible with their own priorities and their own energies in relation to the mission and vision common to both the leader and the people they lead.
That said, responsible leaders naturally give disciplined attention to their personal character. They place noticeable energy towards their character formation with the goal to grow more and more towards becoming the kind of person people need to see. The only person I want people see through me is someone who is reflecting more and more the character of Christ in both word and deed.
So, let me try to portray this more clearly. People are more responsive (read responsible) to those who model a non-anxious confidence. They are relaxed. They are unhurried. They are productive. They are anything but lazy. They can either be an introvert or an extrovert. This is not about a personality traits. This is about an inward centredness.
Responsible leaders are centred people
People need Responsible Leaders. Responsible Leaders are responsive leaders with their inner core set on Christ. Responsible leaders are centred people.
Consider, how someone might demonstrate this kind of a relaxed, unhurried, non-anxious, humble demeanour.
First of all, you are not going to see them do the kinds of things that cause people to shrink back. Things like…
… having a self-serving agenda.
… viewing people as a means to get what they think is important.
… being unclear about what is central to the vision they are pursuing.
… having a different persona while on a stage than while alone with you in an informal setting.
… avoid making hard decisions.
Someone who is becoming more and more centred on Christ is more likely to draw the best from people because they do things like…
… let loose their need to be recognized as being seen as important.
… set an example to follow. An example that embodies the vision they cast.
… letting go of outcomes while remaining focused on the patient process of staying engaged with people.
… Value Rest and Play.
You might say that a responsible leader is a man or a woman who is securely anchored in their relationship with God as their Father.
What steps are you taking in your spiritual formation to become a relaxed, unhurried, non anxious, productive, focused leader? Are you confidently sharing your journey towards Christ with your people and calling them to follow you as you follow Christ?
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