The Evolution of a Leader

Evolution of Leadership - 1There must be hundreds of books on leadership published each year and there is no shortage of those that focus on the subject within the context of ministry.  It seems like I have read them all, but surely I have not.  What strikes me about those volumes that I have read is that they all resonate with the same message.  Underneath it all, they say the same thing.  Christian leadership, first and foremost is Christ-like.  Now doesn’t that sound absurdly obvious?  Yet somehow, in all my reading and research, my study of the subject, I missed that basic point and I had even considered myself a student of leadership.

Evolution of Leadership - 2With my extensive military background, my discovered spiritual gifts, and the passion with which I considered the topic, I was a person informed in the art and science of leading others.  I have received Professional Military Education, trained in the Reserve Officer’s Training Corps, and attended at least five other specific military schools geared to developing the student as a leader.  I had command over troops and equipment and had executed significant military operations notably well, yet the concept of servant leadership was unknown to me.

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Leadership Characteristics

Leadership Characteristics - 4Whoever first claimed that leadership abhors a vacuum was certainly an insightful person. The glaring absence of direction and decision-making when there is no leader present is a situation that cries out for correction. Whether it is simply a circumstance where someone in the family must decide where they will go for dinner, or the critical moments in a championship game when an individual must step forward and rally the team from near defeat and onward to victory, leaders are needed everywhere. It is virtually impossible to identify a condition in life where some element of leadership is not needed. Because of this overwhelming cry for those who will help point the way, more often than not individuals who had no designs on a leadership role, find themselves serving in influential capacities, rife with demands and expectations; expectations they are little prepared to meet.

While I cannot claim any scientific basis for my findings, I have observed over the course of careers in both the military and ministry that there are a handful of common characteristics found in certain individuals who proved themselves successful in leadership roles and where these same traits are noticeably absent from the lives of those who struggled with the mantel of leadership. In a nutshell, these qualities are: Courage, Tenacity, and a Plan – these are the primary ingredients for any leader.

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