History is full of stories filled with leaders who achieved extraordinary feats and devastating loss. Many individuals have built phenomenal businesses which have created employment, provided healthcare, and impacted millions of lives all over the world with generous donations.
There is no shortage of individuals who have modeled generosity (i.e., Chuck Feeney) however the true greatness is found in the character of who they are. Regardless of whether an individual is male or female, these characteristics are universally applicable.
- A healthy leader will have a non-anxious presence. You will see and sense their confidence. No matter what happens, they remain unruffled. God has given us all many gifts. Some people have the gift of discernment, intuition and Godly wisdom. The closer you walk with Jesus, the more your life will be filled with His spirit and the more you’ll be able to sense those who are filled with His love, compassion and grace. Regardless of what happens throughout your day, you’ll find that the things which matter to Him, matter to you, and the trivial things of this earth (like your heel breaking while your walking) becomes nothing to get upset about. You simply break off the other heel and now have a “new” pair of flats!
- A healthy leader has the gift of patience. Great leaders understand that all good things require the process of time, care and consistency to grow. Being cognizant of their own shortcomings and having learned from experience, they recognize that everyone is in their own process of personal and spiritual growth. They are deeply loving, others oriented, and have the ability to remain connected as they guide them along the journey regardless of where they’re at while administering mercy, love and grace throughout the process.
- A healthy leader faces reality and is solution oriented. There are those people who choose to remain shielded within their own protective bubble and refuse to receive any form of feedback. However this is a form of denial and is very unhealthy. It’s often seen in those struggling with a deep seated insecurity, sometimes accompanied by pride. It’s like a woman going to her doctor for her annual exam and saying, “Don’t tell me if I have cancer or abnormal cells… just tell me the good stuff.” Sounds crazy right? Yet that’s exactly what many, many people in leadership positions do today. A healthy leader assertively seeks feedback. They want to know what they don’t know and how they can improve. In the corporate world, these are called 360 degree assessments. Those who do these are wise. Some people are uncomfortable with these, but a confident leader knows that feedback is facing reality and will only help and deepen their leadership capabilities and strengthen their impact with others.
A healthy leader recognizes that, alone, they are incapable of doing everything themselves. Therefore in their constant quest for continual improvement, they always seek out the relational support from others. They are quick to apologize when wrong and deeply care about providing the highest standards of fair and quality service to all.
The research is clear that this is why they are trusted. So pay attention to these things, because leadership is never about being at the “top” like the world tells you…. it’s about serving others.
If you want to know who the real leader is, look for the one who, like Jesus modeled, “washes other’s feet.”
Christy Demetriades, Ph.D.