“Now the overseer must be above reproach, the husband of but one wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money.”
1 Timothy 3:2-3
With this being an election year, the American people are looking for a leader. But what exactly is a leader? A leader is someone who not only is effective in positively influencing others, but who also demonstrates the character of a leader. People want leaders they can trust to do what they say. One’s character is what makes trust possible. This is true for all leaders, whether they are political, business or church leaders.
I believe that there are 5 basic characteristics of a leader:
First, they must have integrity. It means they say what they mean and do what they say. Too often leaders lose credibility because they do not follow through on their commitments.
Second, they must have wisdom. This is more than knowledge and reflects a leader’s ability to analyze information and make positive and correct choices and decisions. Leaders lose influence when they make poor decisions or bad choices.
Third, they must have humility. Leaders must put the needs of others above themselves. Nobody likes a self-serving leader. Leaders lose support when they focus on their goals instead of the needs of their followers.
Fourth, they must encourage others. Leadership is not about the leader, but it is about the followers. Leaders who serve and encourage their followers are more successful than those who don’t. Leaders lose followers when they focus on themselves.
Fifth, they must empower others. Leaders who won’t delegate or develop other leaders restrict their own potential and that of others. Leaders lose momentum and growth when they don’t tap into the capabilities of others.
The conduct of a leader is also reflective of their character. There are 7 ways a leader ought to conduct themselves according to 1 Timothy 3:2-3 above:
1. Be above reproach – no one doubts their character
2. Be self-controlled – they are disciplined
3. Be respectable – people look up to them
4. Be hospitable – they are open and welcoming
5. Be able to teach – they instruct and educate others
6. Be gentle – they respect others and are not harsh with their words
7. Be a servant – they focus on people, not money
These qualities from the Bible define the conduct of a true leader. We must always endeavor to look for them when following leaders or electing them.