Peter Drucker states:
“A single universal ‘leadership personality’ or set of ‘leadership traits’ simply does not exist. Name a leadership trait that seems “absolutely essential” to being an effective leader, and someone else can name ten situations of effective leadership where the leaders don’t have those personality traits. Effective leadership is best understood not by focusing upon personality traits in the leader, but upon the relationship between the leader and those being led?” (“Effective Leadership in the Church,” 18).
While it is true that an effective leader should be evaluated based on the relationship between him and his people, personality traits do exit. This is simply because God did not create human beings with equal qualities or abilities. In other words, not everyone has similar capabilities as others. One can say that there are some basic traits that a leader should have in order for people to follow him. After all, a leader’s goal should be to guide his people. If there is no one to follow a leader, what is the point of a leader in the first place? Therefore, one can argue that there are certain basic traits that one should have in order to become a leader.
Character is one of the essential traits that a leader should have. One can notice in the life of Samson that his character was corrupt and pervert. He had anger issues, he was not teachable, and he had many sexual relationships. He did not build relationships with people based on trust, because, one should notice that: “Leadership is ultimately based on trust” (Blackaby, Spiritual Leadership, 104). For one to be a leader, he must have a character that resembles godliness.
A leader’s failure is often related to a character flaw. One can gain respect from others or some level of trust based on their positions. But this trust or respect that is gained based on the positions cannot last for a long time, unless and only if the character is “flawless.” It is true that every human was and is born in sin nature, but at the same time, God, through His word, gave the necessary guidelines for a leader to follow (1 Timothy 3:1-7). Blackaby states: “Today most leadership experts agree that character, or integrity, is foundational to business and leadership success” (104).
In today’s generation, many follow a leader because of the leader’s promises and commitments, and most importantly, his character. Character is like a body that has many members. Character, according to Oxford Dictionary states that it is “the mental and moral qualities distinctive to an individual;” it is a “person’s good reputation.” In the secular world, politicians will work hard in gaining peoples trust. They do so in making oaths and commitments. If they fulfill what they have promised for, then people would always want to elect the same person. But, in the spiritual world, it is different.
Unlike the secular world and secular leadership, spiritual leadership is distinctive because of an important Person that is involved in it: God. People respect their leader or pastor, because of the office he is holding to, and also because of his character. If a pastor is noticed with flaws in his character, undoubtedly, members will, either seek to speak with him or walk away from that Church. With the trait of character, a leader, if he possesses it, will build trust with his people by having integrity, by being honest.
Lacking one of the elements in the character will cost a leader in loosing his trust and people, whom God has placed under him. Therefore, character is essential.
With character comes attitude. In other words, if one’s character is right, based on his walk with the Lord, then his attitude toward them that are under him will be right as well. If a leader succeeds in his role accomplishes his vision, he must not boast in it, thinking that it is his “own” accomplishment. Rather, he must acknowledge that he was successful because of the blessings and help that he received from his authority: Jesus Christ. A leader should submit to Christ as his authority. He must notice that a person to become a leader cannot be achieved on his own, but that it can only be achieved through submission to Christ, and thus receiving guidance and help from God. People not only notice the character of a leader but also his attitude toward God and toward his flock.
A leader might gain much popularity or respect, but if his attitude does not match with his character, then there is a danger to his leadership role.
Question: What do you think are the important personality traits of a leader and why? Leave a comment below!