Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Leadership and Character

What makes a good leader? General Norman Schwarzkopf, the incredibly gifted military leader, powerfully summarizes it this way: "Leadership is a potent combination of strategy and character...but if you must be without one, be without strategy!" Real leadership is not about charisma or charm, for leadership based upon either is at best flimsy and at worst dangerous. Peter Drucker once said, "Charisma has nothing to do with leadership. Hitler, Stalin, and Mao were the most charismatic leaders of the 20th century. If that is leadership, I want no part of it!" Strategy, charisma and skill are all important tools used by leaders, but CHARACTER is what defines a good leader. (Quotes provided by Dr. Jim Harris)

Character is defined as, "qualities of honesty, courage, moral excellence; integrity." A good leader has moral and ethical strength. He is the same person in the dark as he is in the light. A good leader speaks forthrightly, insuring that the truth is clear for all to hear. A good leader does not gain or keep followers by trick or deception, nor by force. Although a leader exhorts his followers in order to accomplish his goals, he does so with honesty.

Can the Character of your leaders be measured? I think it can by asking yourself these three simple questions about your leader(s): 1. Does your leader state clearly his position when asked? If not, does he "talk around" the issue in order to avoid having to commit to a personal position? Do not confuse a simple "I don't know" with avoiding taking a position. "I don't know" is often the most honest answer possible, and is heard too seldom. A good leader is not afraid to state his position. 2. Does your leader maintain his position no matter the audience or the situation? A good leader may sing a different tune depending on the circumstance, but the words will be the same, because they are the truth. 3. Does your leader act in a morally upright manner, both professionally and personally? A good leader believes in the Golden Rule, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." A good leader holds dear his commitments. Although no one is perfect, a good leader strives to keep promises made, and uphold oaths taken. Finally, a good leader will admit fault when required.

How are your leaders doing? How are our President, Congressmen and other elected officials doing? If any of them are of questionable Character, you should do whatever is in your power to have them replaced. 

I hope that you are allowing Jesus to be your most trusted leader. Not only did He prove Himself to be a good leader while walking as a man on earth, He is still. He will always tell you the truth. He will never lie. He will never abandon you. He will fulfill His promise of giving you life everlasting if you will only commit to following Him.

1 comment:

  1. Love all the quotes. Your three step questions are a great way of quantifying leaders. Sadly, I look at people that hold positions of leadership around me (both at work and politically) and I don't think "Yes" is the answer to all three questions.

    We should all remember that politically, we have an opportunity and a right to replace the leaders that don't fit the above criteria. One example: This week Richard Shelby, Republican-Alabama, was one of only three senators to vote for the $1.1 TRILLION dollar spending bill. If our political leaders don't stand up against this ridiculous spending (especially in the midst of the Great Recession), when will they stand up against it? Next election, I will be voting to fire this "leader". . .