Let’s begin by talking about the importance of honesty, which goes hand in hand with integrity in a good leader. Honesty is simply the quality of being honest. Being honest is being free of deceit and untruthfulness; sincere. Honesty is a facet of moral character that connotes positive and virtuous attributes such as integrity and truthfulness. Honesty is the single most important “building block” in the leader-follower relationship. As leaders we are guiding our followers to a higher level of regard in their church, business, and community. Many of our followers made the choice to follow us and have had our covering over their lives long before we were approached by them or them by us. Why did they choose us? They chose to follow us because they could trust us. They likely have been paying attention to every move we have made. Do we practice the principles we teach? Do we walk the talk or just talk to look smart? Without honesty, leaders cannot lead with integrity. Leaders who are dishonest will likely lead their followers to other negative actions.
I cannot stress enough how important humility is in a good leader. Humility is being free of pride or arrogance: the quality or state of being humble. Being humble is having or showing a modest or low estimate of one's own importance. This can really be hard for so many leaders. I believe that leaders who struggle being humble, forget that they were once in their followers’ shoes, entering into unfamiliar territory unsure of themselves. A good leader humbles him/herself and meets their followers where they are at. They walk with them thru the unfamiliar territory humbly teaching leader’s how-to walk-through adversity and success. Too many leaders tend to walk around with a better than you attitude and arrogance that is very unappealing. I myself had to learn how to be and remain humble and I am grateful for my mentors who worked with me on this aspect of my walk. Today I have given my wife and all my followers permission to call me out when and if I ever become arrogant and big headed. One of my mentors use to say this to me whenever he saw me, Randy you’re enough. Not more than, not less than, just enough. Truth be told, we are all equal. No one is more than or less than, we are all just enough.
The primary job of a leader is to equip his followers or disciples. Paul talks about this in the book of Ephesians. While equipping upcoming leaders, we as leaders must give them certain gifts. These are not their spiritual gifts. These are gifts that only a good leader can provide. In many ways these gifts are likely gifts that healthy parents might instill in them. Yet, in many cases these gifts were never given to them. One of these gifts that a good leader displays, is they must CARE for them.
CARE is teaching them good Communication skills. Communication is the key ingredient in leading others. It involves the art of not only talking and listening, but truly hearing what the other person is saying, not only with your ears and heart, but with your eyes as well. Paying attention to their body language and facial expressions will often times tell you so much more than they’re words. Another powerful tool of communication is the art of being curious. Most people have the answers within them. When listening to what they are saying, listen with a great amount curiosity. Next, instead of telling them what you believe they need to do, ask them curious questions and keep asking them. The goal is to allow them to come up with the solution. When they do, they are much more apt to own and follow through with it.
Next CARE is Affirming and giving Recognition to those we are leading. Many of the best leaders have come from broken homes and have a tremendous passion for what they are doing. Coming from broken homes equates to very little if any affirmation or recognition being given to a person. Therefore, it is critical that even the smallest things a person accomplishes is celebrated and recognition is given to the right person when it is due to them. My wife and I are always celebrating the baby steps of our followers. Why? More often than not they cannot see their own growth. All they tend to focus own is their mistakes. As leaders it is important that we remind them of the growth we see in them and how far they have come. It is also very important that we as leaders teach our followers to remain humble when being affirmed and given recognition.
Perhaps the best CARE one can give their followers is being a good Example. How many of you were told repeatedly by your parents or caregivers to “do as I say, not as I do?” For myself it was as much a part of my daily conversations with my parents as saying good morning was. The fact is, I believe many people use this statement even today when they are called out for not practicing the principles they are teaching their children, students, or followers. In other words, they are not practicing the principles in all their affairs, only the ones that fit their immediate needs. My wife and I lead several couples and individuals. The one thing they all honor about us is that we do practice the principles we teach in all our affairs. It is like a breath of fresh air, a drink from a cool mountain stream. They also know we are only human and will falter on an occasion, and when we do, we are quick to apologize.
These are just a few examples of what a good leader looks like and some quality traits that good leaders display. The bible is full of what traits good leaders are to display. Paul talks a lot about them 1 & 2 Corinthians & Ephesians. Another good resource is The Five Dysfunctions of Team by Patrick Lencioni. Remember; A good leader, leads leaders, who lead people. What kind of leaders are you building?