TEST OF LEADERSHIP
by Lisa Maki
It is easy to claim to be a leader, and even be one. Yet true leadership is tried and tested during crisis. It is during difficult times when the real character of a person comes out. It will expose whether she is really a leader or not.
Below are several areas where a leader is proven to be genuine or fake. You can use these to examine yourself, or as a standard for other leaders.
How she responds to attacks
The higher your leadership role is, the more attacks you will get. How you will respond to these attacks will determine the type of leader you are, or whether you are really qualified as a leader. When people throw malicious or lying words to you, do you defend yourself and argue with them, or do you just let it be?
A true leader knows when to attack and when to retaliate. And even when she attacks, she does so with tactfulness and grace. She plans her moves wisely before taking any action. When she defends herself, she does so without sounding and acting defensive. Rather, she will defend herself to promote the truth.
A true leader knows which battles to fight. She will not respond to every attack but will weigh which ones are worth fighting for, and which ones will just be a waste of her time.
How she handles conflict
A true leader is prepared for conflict. She knows that it is part of her role. In fact, she thrives in conflict. It is where her leadership skills are harnessed.
When conflicts arise among her peers, she is quick to detach herself from any personal biases. She listens to all sides and won’t even make any judgments until she has heard everyone involved. She won’t force people to iron things out, until it is the right time.
When conflicts arise among her people, she is quick to be the peacemaker. She talks to those involved and assess the situation with wisdom. She won’t jump into conclusions right away nor force to fix things just for the heck of buying peace. She will dig deeper into the root cause of the issue rather than just look at the surface.
When the conflict is between her and somebody else, her first option would be to talk to the person involved, and even call for a witness if need be. If things are not resolved, she won’t go out of her way to badmouth the other person. Instead, she will keep the matter to herself and wait for God’s perfect time to resolve the situation.
How she deals with her personal problems
A true leader knows how to separate her personal life from her professional life and/or ministry. She doesn’t go around telling everyone all the problems she is going through. She has very few people in her inner circle who knows her well, but the rest know her from a distance. She does this not to isolate herself from people but to protect herself and those close to her.
This is one of the biggest mistakes I’ve seen from ministers. Since they are expected to be the nicest people on earth, they feel it is required of them to be transparent to everyone. They receive everybody as a family member, only to put themselves in harm’s way. I’ve heard of a story of a pastor who was killed by one of the people he was helping and feeding on a regular basis.
True leaders know the importance of boundaries and they set these boundaries early on in the relationships that they build. In doing so, the people under them respect them more. They know that they have truly won her trust once she allows them into her inner circle, or at least close to it.
How disciplined she is
A true leader cares for those around her and therefore she will take good care of herself so that she can live longer for others – to help them, and to ensure that she completes the mission that God has set for her to accomplish. She lives a healthy life – eating healthy food and engaging in physical exercises. She looks fit and healthy from the inside out.
A true leader is healthy physically, emotionally, and spiritually. She has a consistent prayer life, including the study of God’s Word. This is the secret of her strength. She draws it from the true source of strength, Jesus. Despite her busy schedule, she is able to juggle all her roles successfully, and this is because of her being disciplined in every area of her life.
How consistent she will remain
It is easy to plan for things, talk about them, and even start them. However, to sustain it is a true test of leadership, more so when the going gets tough. When you are in a bad mood, will your style of leadership change? Will it affect your decision? Will you change your mind over something just because of what you feel? Will you stop what you’ve been working on for a long time just because it is not working the way you thought it would?
Consistency is one of the true tests of leadership. How you can stick to what you said you will do ... how you can continue to fulfill your commitments ... how you can persevere in the midst of trials – these are all areas where you can prove or disprove your consistency.
How she will fight for her people
All the great leaders in the Bible fought for their people. Abraham fought for Lot and won back everything that was stolen from him. Moses prayed and asked God to spare his people from further punishment. David did the same thing. In fact, He asked God to punish him instead. Jesus died on the cross to save men from their sins.
A true leader will surely fight for his people, even to the point of suffering. In Jesus’ case, it was to the point of death.
How she behaves in public
A true leader knows she is on call 24/7. She knows that people are looking up to her, watching her every move. She is cautious of how one single word or little action can affect those around her. She is careful of guarding her reputation so she can be without reproach.
1 Timothy 3:2 instructs church leaders to be above reproach. A church leader is not only holding a higher office but she is representing Jesus Christ. Anything she does wrong affects how others may look at God.
All these character traits of a true leader will only be possible if the leader is firmly grounded on Jesus and His Word. None of these traits can be sustained if the leader is relying solely on her strength and efforts. She will eventually fail. She will end up being a hypocrite, pretending to be someone she is not. Only in total surrender to Jesus and total obedience to His Word will a leader be able to exercise her leadership in a way that will give glory to God, who is our ultimate leader.
Lisa Maki is a Professional Development Coach. Please visit her website at ...