What are the characteristics of a good leader? part 2

15th of August

I wrote last time about honesty and humility. I wrote that it is very important to show respect for others. I mentioned delegated responsibility and used the wisdom of the father- in- law of Moses as an example. A clear communication is important. I listed some of the duties of all the Christians, but said that a leader has another position. You can be a leader on many different levels. My intension is to write to both Christian and secular leaders.

When I write this, I function as a leader for a day-institution consisting of approximately 80 patients. I have five persons in part-time positions working for me and with me. I meet with them both in the beginning and at the end of the day. It is important that we plan the day and everybody should know their duty. Some of the plans are put on a board for everyone to see. We are working with people and many things are unpredictable. It is therefore very important for us to summarize the day at the end and to give everyone a chance to talk about the different incidents. Some incidents might have been very emotional and I want us to talk them through at work in order to sleep at night. As a leader I have to be sure that everyone gets a chance to talk and no one should be run over. I should encourage, but also come with positive criticism. There are times when I talk with one of them alone since I do not want anyone to feel embarrassed. Jesus is my example and I do think of how He met with people. He did not condemn them, but showed love and respect.

I have a formal responsibility towards my boss and the community I work for. They have certain rules and regulations that I need to follow. I must also work within the framework of a budget and be sure to pay the bills on time.

I look upon the people I work with as a team. There are certain decisions that I have to take as a leader, but they are just as valuable as I am. We are just having different positions.

When I became a leader in 1995, I was going through an extreme situation at home, but I made up my mind to leave those problems at home and I refused to take them with me to work. When I entered work, I was friendly and smiled. Was I false? No, Jesus has promised us to be with us always and He helped me to go through with this.

To-day I have to drive quite far in order to reach work. It is an excellent opportunity for praying. I pray for the day and use my authority to proclaim Jesus as Lord. I am not allowed to talk about Jesus to my patients unless they ask, but no one can stop me from praying.

I want to be trusted both by the patients, my colleagues and my boss. I have made mistakes, but I can confess them and most of the time they are caused by my ignorance. I have therefore learned from the mistakes.

I am very conscious of the fact that I am a Christian and represent Jesus. The people I meet might not know so many other Christians and I have a burning desire to give a true picture of my Lord and Savior. I have not always succeeded in doing so, but my desire is there.

I do not write about my own situation in order to give a perfect picture of myself. I am far from perfect, but it is easier to use examples from a situation I know.

What does the Bible say about leaders? We can go to Paul. He writes in 1.Tim.3 that a bishop should be blameless, the husband of one wife, temperate, sober-minded, of good behavior, hospitable, able to teach, not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money, but gentle, not quarrelsome, not covetous, but should rule his own house well, having his children in submission. He should not be a novice, lest being puffed up with pride he falls into the same condemnation as the devil. He must also have a good testimony among those who are outside. Many of the same criteria are the same for deacons, but they should also be holding the mystery of the faith with a pure conscience. They should be reverent and not double tongued. The women should not be slanderers, but temperate and faithful in all things.

We see here that those in high positions should be good examples for the rest of the people in the church. Every leader should have this in mind both in the church and in the secular world.

Quite a few pastors have problems with their children and this scripture might be a little difficult for them. I have many times warned pastors and told them to think more of their family and less of their ministry. I believe that God, wife and children come before the ministry.

Paul warns the church and says that no one should become a leader too early. I have talked to many, especially young people, with a desire to become “big” without going through the necessary phases. I believe that a leader must have some experience in coping with difficult situations. The wind blows stronger on the top of the mountain. Last Friday I had to tolerate criticism from the people above and underneath. The issue had nothing to do with me, but I had to stand in the gap as a leader.

A leader should concentrate on the solutions more than on the problems. When you navigate a ship towards the harbor, you concentrate on the harbor. I am not saying that the leader should become unrealistic, but he or she should have clear visions and goals. They are supposed to navigate the “boat” forwards.

Some leaders work with people with lots of ideas and he or she should be able to listen, but it is the leader who counts the cost and have to take the final decision.

A leader should be open, but there are times when he can’t tell everything he knows. Right now I know that certain people want to make changes that I think are bad both for the patients and for the people I work with and I will do everything I can to prevent these plans to come to pass. I want to save them from unnecessary worries. I look upon myself as a protector. Once a decision is made, I think I should inform everybody involved. I belong to a church with very little information and that opens up for rumors. Concrete information leads to security.

A leader must be courageous. He cannot be afraid of oppositions. He must never think that everybody will like him. If he has that need, he will not become a good leader. If you fear man, seek help, but do not apply for a position as a leader. It will stop you from making the right decisions.

A leader must not have a craving for control and power. You can be decisive and mild at the same time. Is it possible? Yes, Jesus was the lamb and the lion. I believe that it is the combination of the two that make you a good leader.

I am sure that you will think of many other characteristics and that’s fine. Add them to the list. I want you to check the list before you apply for any leading position. To those of you in leading positions: Ask yourself daily if you have followed the list and if not, correct yourself.

I want to remind those of you who are saved that

I CAN DO ALL THINGS IN HIM WHO STRENGHTENS ME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Mother Else