072: 5 Powerful Traits That Make Leaders Great. [Podcast]

Learning to be leaders of character.

As the political winds are shifting toward who will become our next President of the United States, we have an idea of the kind of leader we want in the highest office. But as we take a look at the candidates of both sides of the aisle, there are those we love and those we don’t. There are good leaders, average leaders and bad leaders.

As a pastor, I deal with leadership issues on a weekly basis. Decisions have to be made, and people are looking to me to help them along in life. I’ve made some very good choices and have been praised, and I’ve made some choices that those in leadership have pulled me aside and have said… “Jason, let’s have a talk.”

In today’s episode I want to answer the question, what makes a great leader? I want to walk you through 5 principles that make great leaders.

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In Today’s Episode:

1. Great leaders are humble. Before I was a pastor, I worked with leaders who were all about the power. They were unwilling to listen or unwilling to bend. In-fact, I was let go from a job at Kmart simply because I was a Christian. Other employee’s said my boss had it out for me.

Humility is something we don’t see a lot of in today’s leadership. Whether it’s in government, business or even at home. It’s easy to take your position and abuse it simply because you’re the leader. But in today’s business environment, churches and government we need humble leaders to step forward and lead.

Humility is the pursuit of meekness. In other words, a quiet strength. This only comes by submission of one’s self to God or absence of self with a desire to lift others into a better life.

2. Great leaders are slow to speak. Listening is something a lot of leaders lack. Again, let’s take a look at politicians. The media asks a question, they sidestep with their own agenda and message. There’s nothing wrong with touting you own message, however if a leader is truly to listen, they have to be slow to speak.

“Be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.” James 1:19 (NLT) Listening is the greatest way to show respect for those we’re leading. Listening exudes confidence. And when trouble or conflict arises try and see the issue from the other person’s perspective and take what St. Francis of Assisi said to heart, “Seek to understand before seeking to be understood.”

3. Great leaders learn. There’s a longing question that people desire to be answered; “are great leaders born or made?” My answer, both. There are those who are natural at leading. It oozes off them like something that we wish we could tap into, but can’t. But, the vast majority of leaders are those who’ve learned how to lead through trial and error.

A couple weeks ago I did a podcast about the topic of leaders are readers. But it’s more than that. Leaders should be listening to podcasts. They should be taking courses to perfect their knowledge. They should be going to conferences to interact with likeminded leaders. But if leaders don’t learn, they’ll never accomplish great things and people will stop following.

Antoni Cimolino, artistic director of the Stratford Shakespeare Festival, insists “There is something to be learned every day, both by looking in the mirror at yourself and by looking at the people around you.”

4. Great leaders are don’t act impulsively. To be a leader that enacts change and empowers others, acting impulsively won’t get you there. While it’s not bad to employ the out-of-the-box mentality smart leaders won’t do so impulsively. This will only slow down forward progress.

It’s wise in ascertain situations to act quickly, however that decision is born out of time, patience and knowledge. It’s acting quickly that shows wisdom in those decision making moments. Once you’ve made your choice, then act quickly. Don’t rely on your emotions to make your decision. Act impulsively and you’ll regret it later. Act quickly–after making sure you know the direction you want to go–and you’ll find a team willing to follow you no matter where you lead.

5. Great leaders care about their character. This is one area we see leaders fail over and over. Just look at Joshua Dugger last year. Take a look at Ted Haggard from years ago, or even former President Bill Clinton. They all had moral failings and we learned the truth about their character.

If you want to take your leadership to the next level, watch your character. “But if you fail to keep your word, then you will have sinned against the LORD, and you may be sure that your sin will find you out.” Numbers 32:23 NLT

Character is something that’s missing in today’s society. It’s up to us to step up to the plate. But remember what you do in private will haunt you in public. Jesus told us to make sure we keep our yes, yes and our no, no. Character is about aligning your beliefs with your actions.

“Your beliefs become your thoughts,
Your thoughts become your words,
Your words become your actions,
Your actions become your habits,
Your habits become your values,
Your values become your destiny.”
― Mahatma Gandhi

We all desire to see success. Sometimes success is elusive. But remember that leadership is learned and improved over time. Take these five traits to heart and you will take your business or church to the next level. I guarantee it.

Question: Where can you improve on your leadership? Where can you improve upon in this list? Comment below and let’s have a conversation! Leave a comment by clicking here!

Resources in this episode:

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  • Paige Strand

    I’m definitely not religious, but I agree with many of your points.

  • Paige, thanks for the comment. Glad you enjoyed the post. Blessings.