What do Bill Hybels, Tiger Woods, and Lance Armstrong all have in common?
They all had skills that outpaced their character. They are all examples of the adage, “Talent can take you where character can’t sustain you.”
There’s a great description of leadership in Psalm 78:72. It says,
David shepherded them with integrity of heart; with skillful hands he led them.
Two critical aspects of every great leader; integrity and skill. Character and competency. King David, whom this verse references, was a great leader with some major flaws. When he fell short it wasn’t because of his lack of skill, it was always a lack of character. Christian leaders should take notice.
We’ve seen an onslaught of Christian leaders falling and failing in the past decade. In every instance, a failure of character was to blame. My question to leaders is are we at least as diligent about training and developing our leadership character as we are about improving our leadership skills? Are we seeking out conferences and workshops and online training with equal fervor in order to improve our integrity of heart? We should be consistently asking, “What does it look like for me to be a leader with character? Am I praying for those on my team? Am I depending on God’s power or am I working in my own strength?” Try this: think of a leader you know who would live up to that description. What qualities does that leader possess? I would bet they are consistent, honest, truthful, fair, humble, and a good listener, among many other high-character descriptors.
Interestingly, character is making a comeback in secular leadership circles. From Jim Collins, to David Brooks, to Simon Sinek, to the Ivey Business School, all have written on the importance of a sort of spiritual integrity when it comes to great leadership. So, in the secular world there is a renaissance of the centrality of character in leadership. My concern is that while secular leadership is becoming more sacred, sacred leadership is becoming more secular. Best business practices are infiltrating the church and replacing tried and true biblical definitions of leadership. The truth is God’s view of success is different than the world’s.
I believe it’s time for Christian leaders to double down on the centrality of character in leadership. I want to share a series of blog posts called the critical importance of character in Christian Leadership. I hope you find it useful.
Part 1 – What is Character? >>