What are the characteristics of a good leader? Part 1
1st of August
I have listened to a lot of teaching saying that all of God’s children are leaders. Some of that is true since Jesus gave His disciples the same authority and power that He had Himself. He gave us His name and His authority to use here on earth. We can read in John 14:14 that whatever we ask in His name, we will receive. We can use His name, but we are not to misuse it. God will naturally not answer requests that are in opposition to the Word of God. When Jesus sent out the seventies, He gave them authority to trample on serpents and scorpions and nothing should by any means hurt them. (Luke 10:19)
Jesus works on the earth to-day through His bride, the Church. Every believer can perform the deeds of Jesus by the help of the Holy Spirit. We have gotten different gifts of the Spirit, but the Spirit is the same. Mark 16:17+18 describes the deeds of the believers. These deeds are for every believer to perform. Some people think that only leaders should lay hands on the sick and drive out demons, but it is supposed to be done byevery believer.
When a Christian leader was born again, he received a new nature, the nature of Christ, but so did every other believer too. We have all received the same nature and the same spirit. A leader has a different position and a different function than other people. I will write about leaders in general and leaders who are chosen by God to lead within the body of Christ.
Many leaders should never have taken the job as a leader. They might be there for the wrong reasons. There are others who would be wonderful leaders, but never got a chance to become one even if the qualifications were there.
A leader has a lot of responsibility and lots of power. That is the same for all leaders. You can visualize a pyramid and the leader is on the top. On each level underneath, you will find another leader. A good leader must be able to delegate responsibility. We can read about this in Exodus 18. Moses’ father-in-law, named Jethro gave Moses some sound advice. He had watched Moses doing everything himself and he told him that this would be way too much for him. I will quote verse 21+22: “Moreover, you shall select from all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness, and place such over them to be rulers of thousands, rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties and rulers of tens. And let them judge the people at all times. Then it will be that every great matter they shall bring to you, but every small matter they themselves shall judge. So it will be easier for you, for they will bear the burden with you.” Any organization follows to-day this principle. The numbers might be different, but the principle the same. In a big church they have the head pastor and many district pastors and cell-group leaders. If the church has many different activities, you might find a leader for the mission, another leader for the social work and one for the outreach activities etc. It is important that each leader knows exactly what is expected of him and the area of their responsibility. A leader should be very clear in his or her communication and easy to understand. I have discovered that many spiritual leaders need coaching in communication. They concentrate so much on the spiritual side that they forget how to deal with people. A lot of conflicts might arise because of communication problems. The main leader might accuse minor leaders or even blame the devil for problems caused by his lack of communication or a bad one. In some churches they find it difficult to question the main pastor since he is considered to be God’s representative on earth and others treat him as he was God Himself. It is important to remember that a faultless leader does not exist. Every leader must remember this. He or she must be humble. This should be natural in every Christian context, but the reality is unfortunately different. Many churches are divided since the leader lacks this ability. A lot of hurt has been caused by proud leaders, leaders that cannot admit their own faults. I have several times quoted 1.Pet.5:5. It says that God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble. If a leader cannot take responsibility for his own mistakes, he will blame somebody else who is lower in rank. I have counseled several people with a guilt complex and they have suffered under unjust leadership. Jesus was sinless, but He never made Himself big. He was very humble and He is our example, the One we should follow.
A leader has lots of power, but he must never misuse this power.
Many children have been misused by adult leaders both in the secular world and in the spiritual. It might be everything from slave work to sexual abuse. We can read about missionary children who were abused by those working in the boarding schools or other institutions. It is very sad and those in charge had chosen wrong workers and maybe even leaders.
Who chooses the leader? Many times one is chosen because one knows somebody who knows somebody. I know of a congregation where few are chosen if they are not related or befriended with one of the pastors. Other churches watch the person and look for faithfulness in lesser positions before he or her is given the responsibility of a leader. In most places you have to undergo an interview. The criteria for applying might be quite clear in many cases. A doctor must have the knowledge and training as a doctor and he must be authorized. The same is with an accountant. I could go through most of the trades and it would be the same. Education and training are often important criteria for applying. The interviewer looks for the grades and the references, but these criteria do not necessarily make the person a good leader. I have seen very bad leaders with high education and a lot of practice, but they lacked a lot of other necessary qualities. I was recently used as a reference for a person. This person had good education and was highly qualified, but was not a good leader. I could recommend this person on a lower level, but not on the top. The reason was that she was too stubborn and arbitrary. She mixed her own personal life with the job and was not neutral. She had favorites. She was not stable and that caused confusion. She was friendly and actually fun to be around, but that is not enough for a leader.
A leader must be predictable and 100 per cent honest.
We are constantly reading about dishonest leaders who have stolen from work or used money for personal purposes. We can even hear about this within Christian and humanitarian relief organizations. Corruption is quite common in some countries, so common that it is almost accepted. A corrupt and dishonest leader is in my eyes a bad leader.
A good leader is a stable leader. If a leader is under stress over a period of time, it might affect his stability and maybe he should step aside for some time. Maybe he should ask for help. When one is unstable, one can make the wrong decisions and treat his co-workers in an unjust manner. If you are humble, you can ask for help. A person with a healthy self-image is a good leader. A proud person or one with a low self esteem will often blame others and that can lead to a very bad personnel policy. A good leader treats others with great respect. You will not come with sexual comments to one of the opposite sex then or give a funny look if a person doesn’t understand you right away.
ARE YOU A GOOD LEADER?????????????????????????????