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Books for those in ministry organizations who desire to take their leadership, teams, governance, and ministry effectiveness to the next level.

25 Nov '13

The ten top traits I look for in leaders

Posted by T.J. Addington
Leaders come with many different kinds of wiring and lead with varied styles. I celebrate those differences. When hiring or promoting, I care much about how a person leads but I care even more about what lies behind their leadership. There are ten traits that I look for in leaders that are for the most part personal traits that spill over into how they lead.

A Kingdom heart
In ministry settings a kingdom heart is crucial. Our leadership is not about ourselves but about Jesus and what He wants to accomplish on this earth. A kingdom heart is one that understands we are not building something for ourselves but for Him.

Humble
Humble leaders can focus on others and the mission because they are not building a kingdom for themselves. Humble leaders have the capacity to live and lead with personal transparency and have a "nothing to prove and nothing to lose" attitude. They are open and non-defensive when challenged.

Intentional
There are two ways one can live: intentionally or accidentally. The best leaders understand how God has wired them, what He has called them to do (and not do) and organize their lives around the most important rather than simply responding to life. Everything about their priorities and time management is intentional and focused.

Clarity
Clarity is required for intentional living. Clarity about how God has gifted and wired us, clarity in our leadership priorities and organizational clarity all contribute to the ability to be deeply intentional. 

Accountable
Those who lead others and expect them to be accountable must be accountable themselves. To lead one must be willing to follow! Lack of accountability is about hubris while accountability is about humility and a healthy commitment to health. This includes accountability for results

Reflective
The best leaders are deeply reflective people: about themselves, others, the organization, methodology and life in general. They are thinkers rather than simply doers. Their actions come out of thinking and reflection rather than simply responding to events around them. They are thinking, reflective practitioners.

Inquisitive
The best leaders are deeply inquisitive, always asking questions, probing people in their organization and in others, desirous of learning and growing. They ask the question "why" often and don't assume that conventional wisdom is always wisdom. 

Team focused
Healthy organizations are formed around teams that work synergistically together under good leadership with accountability for results. Thus leaders must be willing to work with and through team rather than working independently.

Generous
Leaders give themselves away to help others be successful and the organization reach its objectives. They are servants to those they lead and understand that it is as others succeed that they succeed. Thus they mentor, coach and help others grow with a generous spirit.

Healthy EQ
Unhealthy EQ is the greatest killer of leadership as it creates relational chaos in its wake. No matter how brilliant an individual is, if there are EQ issues, they will not end up on one of our teams. Healthy EQ, on the other hand builds healthy relationships which leads to healthy collaboration and the building of healthy teams.