If we see leadership as the world does, we missed the mark of Christ. If we focus on titles, positions of prestige and power or sequence of functions that focus on result and not the man. If we remove nepotism, favouritism and materialism, we need spiritual focus. Leadership is Jesus life exemplified His utility influence others! If we are focusing on someone presently in world or church leadership positions (Trump?) that pushes more than they inspires and lead.
God through Paul leaves us with the kind of qualities necessary for leadership in the church, if not in our workplaces or communities, then certainly in our homes as parents. If we as leaders will be open with our experiences, we will admit that there are times when we do not demonstrate the qualities of a Godly leadership Christ exemplified. Surely, there are a great many books out there, but here are a few I think are a good start.
- A good leader seeks God’s direction. Is there anything more important in a leader than he or she seeking God’s direction? Proverbs 16:1 says, “The plans of the heart belong to man, but the answer of the tongue is from the Lord.” Verse 3 adds, “Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established.” In addition, verse 9, “The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.” A good leader seeks the Lord, commits his way to the Lord, and the Lord establishes the next steps.
- A good leader is modest, not arrogant. We have all encountered the know-it-all leader, the “submit-or-else” type of leader. However, Proverbs 16:5 says, “Everyone who is arrogant in heart is an abomination to the Lord; be assured, he will not go unpunished.” I do not know about you, but I definitely do not want to be referred to as an abomination to the Lord. That is some scary stuff.
- A good leader is a peacemaker. Proverbs 16:7 says, “When a man’s ways please the Lord, he makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.” Yet so many leaders are not interested in examining an opposing viewpoint or other ideas. We have lost the ability to empathize with others, and compromise has become a bad word. There is something to be said of sticking to principles. I believe God calls us to be steadfast. However, He does not call us to be jerks. In addition, when our “boldness” is interpreted as “coldness,” we are not doing it right.
- A good leader is fair and just. “Better is a little with righteousness than great revenues with injustice” (Proverbs 16:8). I believe in goals and working hard to achieve them. However, the end always justifying the means is simply not true. A good leader is more interested in doing things the right way.
- A good leader surrounds himself or herself with honest, trustworthy counsellors … and then listens to them. “Righteous lips are the delight of a king, and he loves him who speaks what is right” (Proverbs 16:13). Do you know leaders who surround themselves with “yes” people? Personal insecurity drives them to seek only positive reinforcement for every decision they make. A smart leader surrounds himself or herself with smarter people, who are willing to speak their minds and offer sound counsel. After all, “Without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed” (Proverbs 15:22).
- A good leader is a good learner. Proverbs 16:16 says, “How much better to get wisdom than gold! To get understanding is to be chosen rather than silver.” A good leader should always be learning, growing and improving. The day you feel there is nothing left to learn is the day that pride and arrogance have taken root. In addition, we have already discussed how the Lord feels about arrogance.
- A good leader is humble. We have seen countless prominent examples of Proverbs 16:18: “Pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall.” From politicians and celebrities to CEOs and pastors, many have grabbed headlines as their empires have fallen. In most of these cases, it is pride that has crept in. They thought themselves invincible, but quickly found out that no one is. “It is better to be of a lowly spirit with the poor than to divide the spoil with the proud” (Proverbs 16:19).
- A good leader is sensible and kind. “Good sense is a fountain of life to him who has it, but the instruction of fools is folly. The heart of the wise makes his speech judicious and adds persuasiveness to his lips” (Proverbs 16:22-23). Being smart and sensible makes a good leader more persuasive and effective. A good leader uses “gracious words” (verse 24), not speech that is “like a scorching fire” (verse 27).
- A good leader is slow to anger. We have all seen the caricatures in movies and television of the angry boss; the person, who yells for no reason, barks orders, berates, and demoralises the staff. Perhaps you have even worked for such a person. The Bible says, “Whoever is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city.”