4. Great leaders learn.
Great leaders are great learners. They read. They listen. They reflect.
And to be a learner requires a certain level of humility. Those who think they know everything don’t learn anything.
I’ve heard it said that at the beginning of World War I the American soldiers were mocked as being among the worst but, by the end of the war, they were considered the best. The reason? They learned as they went! That’s why one of their mottos is “Improvise, adapt and overcome!”
What was true in World War I is true today. In his excellent book Team of Teams, former General Stanley McChrystal lays out how the U.S. forces had to totally re-engineer their fighting strategy to beat Al Queda. And that’s exactly what they did. Instead of a hierarchical fighting force (with all the accompanying bureaucracy) they became a team of teams who fought as tightly connected networks of warriors. They learned from their enemies and then beat them at their own game.
We, too, must learn, re-engineer and grow to beat the enemy of our souls (1 Peter 5:8) and lead others to victory!
5. Great leaders love.
I can’t help but think of Debbie Bresina. She’s been working at the ministry of Dare 2 Share for 23+ years. Three years ago she became the president of Dare 2 Share. (I was president before then.) Since her installation as president I have watched her lead in a profound and powerful way. And one of the keys to her effectiveness is that her leadership is defined by love.
Debbie genuinely cares for our staff and it shows. Her love for God and for them flows through everything she does.
Don’t get me wrong. She’s not a mushy pushover. I know of nobody else whose resolve for impact and outcomes surpasses hers. People sit up straighter when she walks in a room because she asks hard questions and expects hard results.
But she understands that driving toward outcomes alone is not enough. You can’t “kill the goose to get the golden eggs.” Instead the “goose” must be nurtured and cared for.
Debbie loves the staff, prays for them, listens to them, encourages them and leads them. And our team would run through a wall for her because of it!
Maybe that’s why Jesus told his disciples in Matthew 20:25-27 the golden key to becoming a great leader. He told them, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their superiors exercise authority over them. It shall not be this way among you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant.”
These are what I believe to be the five marks of a great Christian leader. What did I miss?
This article originally appeared here.