This is an excerpt from the book Spiritual Leadership: Principles of Excellence for Every Believer, by J. Oswald Sanders.
It's a textbook for a class I'm taking, and each chapter is pretty short, but it packs a punch every time.
I read chapter 5 last night, entitled "Can You Become A Leader?" and loved this list.
I think it's challenging and thought-provoking, not only in looking at myself and how I lead, but in thinking about how I want to be led. Many of the characteristics of a good leader aren't limited to a leader, either, but are qualities that should be cultivated anyway, no matter what position you are in.
Can You Become A Leader?
- How do you identify and deal with bad habits? To lead others, you must master your appetites.
- How well do you maintain self-control when things go wrong? The leader who loses control under adversity forfeits respect and influence. A leader must be calm in crisis and resilient in disappointment.
- To what degree do you think independently? A leader must use the best ideas of others to make decisions. A leader cannot wait for others to make up his or her mind.
- How well can you handle criticism? When have you profited from it? The humble person can learn from petty criticism and even malicious criticism.
- Can you turn disappointment into creative new opportunity? What three actions could you take facing any disappointment?
- Do you readily gain the cooperation of others and win their respect and confidence? Genuine leadership doesn't have to manipulate or pressure others.
- Can you exert discipline without making a power play? Are your corrections or rebukes clear without being destructive? True leadership is an internal quality of the spirit and needs no show of external force.
- In what situations have you been a peacemaker? A leader must be able to reconcile with opponents and make peace where arguments have created hostility.
- Do people trust you with difficult and delicate matters? Your answer should include examples.
- Can you induce people to do happily some legitimate thing that they would not normally wish to do? Leaders know how to make others feel valued.
- Can you accept opposition to your viewpoint or decision without taking offense? Leaders always face opposition.
- Can you make and keep friends? Your circle of loyal friends is an index of your leadership potential.
- Do you depend on the praise of others to keep you going? Can you hold steady in the face of disapproval and even temporary loss of confidence?
- Are you at ease in the presence of strangers? Do you get nervous in the office of your superior? A leader knows how to exercise and accept authority.
- Are people who report to you generally at ease? A leader should be sympathetic and friendly.
- Are you interested in people? All types? All races? No prejudice?
- Are you tactful? Can you anticipate how your words will affect a person? Genuine leaders think before speaking.
- Is your will strong and steady? Leaders cannot vacillate, cannot drift with the wind. Leaders know there's a difference between conviction and stubbornness.
- Can you forgive? Or do you nurse resentments and harbor ill-feelings toward those who have injured you?
- Are you reasonably optimistic? Pessimism and leadership do not mix. leaders are positively visionary.
- Have you identified a master passion such as that of Paul, who said, "This one thing I do!" Such singleness of motive will focus your energies and powers on the desired objective. Leaders need a strong focus.
- How do you respond to new responsibility?