Qualities of a Successful Leader

Of course, knowledge is necessary for anyone to become a successful leader, but even more importantly he or she must have a sound vision for the future of their ministry or organization along with the ability to create a good working team. Seasoned Belgium account and business writer Erik Van Tongerloo identifies the following as the most important qualities that a successful leader needs:

Planning A leader must want to reach certain goals. Although he or she will need able to visualize both short-term and longer-term goals for their organization, the visualization of the longer-term goals is the most important. To achieve these sometimes may even require some short-term losses or apparent setbacks in the first year or so but will result in success over time.

Ability to Teach A good leader needs a good team. He or she knows the goals that need to be reached and understands the importance of clearly and effectively communicating these goals to their team members. This requires that they teach their team members what their individual and team responsibilities are. It is best when this process is interactive and allows the team members to share with the leader their ideas about how to work in the most efficient way. Respectfully giving commands is the key to success in this area.

Ability to Listen Successfully working with a team demands means that a leader understand the attitudes of their team members. This means trying to understand their motivations and trying to find solutions to their problems or obstacles. A leader that is a good listener and has an open mind has a decided advantage when it comes to these matters. 

For example, if one of more of the team members disagrees with their leader’s decision, it is important for the leader to carefully listen to them and try to come to an acceptable compromise. Leaders need to treat their employees with respect and without discrimination in virtually every area. This is both wise and according to the law.

Delegation The leader of a church or ministry is ultimately responsible for all the work which happens in the organization. This makes it essential that the leader is able to wisely delegate certain tasks to his or her employees, but they cannot give away their ultimate responsibility. To delegate, the leader needs to build a team with different assignments and responsibilities, and in turn these team members need to work toward the end-result of their tasks. Here again, effective communication plays a vital role. 

Self-Confidence Successful leaders learn to believe in themselves and their capabilities. They cannot allow fear of failure to defeat them when something fails, but remain optimistic and move forward toward their next goal. Stress and fear are normal, but they dare not be allowed to cause a leader to sink into damaging self-doubt. They need to confidently search out solutions to the causes of those fears and stresses and overcome them.

Ability to Motivate  A successful leader consistently shows respect to his or her tam members. They want to ensure the work of their team members is recognized and appreciated. This is a primary key to motivating their team members. Determining in advance what kinds of rewards their team members will receive and how with they will be delivered, plus clearly communicating those rewards and guidelines, will lay a clear course for their team members to follow. 

Flexibility and Patience A successful leader needs to be able to give commands about the necessary tasks, yet allow as much flexibility within the details and tactics as possible for their team members. The leader who welcomes and listens to their team member’s input creates an environment where the team members take ownership of their tasks and can be highly motivating to them. This process can slow down initial progress but over time proves to be far more productive. It requires the leader exhibit great patience, but pays big dividends of higher productivity, lower staff turnover and greater joy and satisfaction for everyone involved. 

A successful leader works together with the team and proves the proverb, “there is no ‘I’ in team.” 

(Qualities of a Successful Manager by Erik Van Tongerloo, Helium.com)  

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Gary D. Foster founded and leads Gary D. Foster Consulting, a marketing and management service specializing in helping religious product companies and ministries discover and optimize new revenue streams and to better leverage existing ones. He served as an executive with Focus on the Family, where he managed their award-winning book publishing operation and $110 million direct-mail fundraising division. He also spent 12 years with the Christian Booksellers Association, where he served as President and CEO of CBA Service Corporation. He also served in executive product development and marketing positions with Cook Communications Ministries, Moody Press and Moody Magazine. Learn more about Gary at www.GaryDFoster.com.