What is it that makes a leader? Some say that leaders are born that way. Others say that leaders can be made. So the key question is really about whether someone can come to possess the qualities that a leader should have. However, before anyone can determine whether someone can learn them or not, we must first identify what the important qualities actually are. Now I am not going to make the judgement for you on whether these qualities can be learned or not, but I am going to present to you what I believe the most important qualities are.
In fact, I also believe that there are different “levels” of leadership, and I also believe that each has their own qualifications. The higher level of leadership that I plan to discuss is what I will refer to as the “executive-leader”. The Bible refers to this type of leader as an “overseer” or “elder”. This level of leadership is typically responsible for the overall vision of the organization. These leaders are the vision-setters, and the trail-blazers. In a corporate environment, these are the people that are often in the Director and Vice-President roles.
The next lower level of leadership that I will discuss is what I will call the “manager-leader“. There is a large school of thought out there that managers are not leaders. I disagree. Managers are largely responsible for leading people where the rubber meets the road. Granted, they are not responsible for creating and setting the vision at the level that the executive-leader does, but they are responsible for spreading and implementing that vision, and without this level of leadership the organization is doomed to fail. The Bible refers to this level of leadership as “deacons”. They are responsible for managing the works of the organization, and are the ones that make things happen in a very practical way. In a corporate environment, these people often fill Supervisor, Manager, and Director roles.
I first want to look at the qualifications for the executive-leader. At this time, I will simply list them out, but I plan to use future posts to break each one down into greater detail. I just ask that as you look through these qualifications, that you keep an open mind, and understand the principle that this will help us to learn about what a leader (even at various levels) looks like.
Qualifications for the executive-leader (overseer/elder):
- Above reproach
- Husband of one wife
- Able to teach
- Not a drunkard
- Not violent but gentle
- Not a lover of money
- Manage his own household well
- With all dignity keeping his children submissive
- Not a recent convert
- Thought of well by outsiders
At first glance, I know that you are probably making assumptions about some of these 14 qualifications. But like I said, please keep an open mind, and not jump to any conclusions too early with these things. I strongly believe that within this list of qualifications lies the principles that apply to all leaders. This list also reads as though these qualifications are only for men, but I also believe that these qualifications also apply to women. I know several very strong female leaders, and see many (if not most) of these qualities in them as well.
Questions to consider:
Before we even dig into each of these qualifications individually, which ones do you feel like you may already possess? Which ones raise a red flag for you as something that you may not agree with? Why do you feel that way? What are you willing to do in order to learn and develop ALL of the qualifications for being a great leader?
See more from the management by God series!