Developing your leadership

Posted on November 10, 2011 by


Oswald Sanders’ book, “Spiritual Leadership”, is a classic and one that you really should have on your bookshelf.  Following is a checklist of characteristics that come from that book, and they are immensely practical.  Whenever I consider this list, I am really convicted of a dozen things that I could improve in my leadership ability.  It can be an overwhelming list, but one good idea might be to share this with another leader with whom you share an accountable relationship and work together on one or two qualities for a month, checking in regularly and sharing how you have practiced that particular principle each week.  You’ve doubtless heard the phrase, “Leaders are born, not made.”  I disagree.  Though we may be born with some particular gifts, we really can learn leadership skills and develop into capable leaders.  But it takes intentional effort.  Hopefully this list will be of value to you as you endeavor to become more the leader that God has given you opportunity to be!

  1. Have you ever broken yourself of a bad habit?  To lead others, one must be a master of one’s self.
  2. Do you retain control of yourself when things go wrong?  The leader who loses self-control in testing circumstances forfeits respect and loses influence.  He/she must be calm in crisis and resilient in adversity and disappointment.
  3. Do you think independently?  While using to the full the thought of others, the leader cannot afford to let others do his/her thinking or make his/her decisions.
  4. Can you handle criticism objectively and remain unmoved under it?  Do you turn it to good account?  The humble individual can derive benefit from petty and even malicious criticism.
  5. Can you use disappointments creatively?
  6. Do you readily secure the cooperation and win the respect and confidence of others?
  7. Do you possess the ability to secure discipline without having to resort to a show of authority?  True leadership is an internal quality of the spirit and requires no external show of force.
  8. Have you qualified for the beatitude pronounced on the peacemaker?  It is much easier to keep the peace than to make peace where it has been shattered.  An important function in leadership is conciliation – the ability to discover common ground between opposing viewpoints and then induce both parties to accept it.
  9. Are you entrusted with the handling of difficult and delicate situations?
  10. Can you induce people to do happily some legitimate thing that they would not normally wish to do?
  11. Can you accept opposition to your viewpoint or decision without considering it a personal affront and react accordingly?  Leaders must expect opposition and should not be offended by it.
  12. Do you find it easy to make and keep friends?  Your circle of loyal friends is an index of the quality and extent of your leadership.
  13. Are you unduly dependent on the praise or approval of others?  Can you hold a steady course in the face of disapproval and even temporary loss of confidence?
  14. Are you at ease in the presence of your superiors or strangers?
  15. Do your subordinates appear at ease in your presence?  A leader should give an impression of sympathetic understanding and friendliness that will put others at ease.
  16. Are you really interested in people?  In people of all types and all races?  Or do you entertain respect of persons?  Is there hidden racial prejudice?  An anti-social person is unlikely to make a good leader.
  17. Do you possess tact?  Can you anticipate the likely effect of a statement before you make it?
  18. Do you possess a strong and steady will?  A leader will not long retain his position if he/she is vacillating.
  19. Do you nurse resentments, or do you readily forgive injuries done to you?
  20. Are you reasonably optimistic?  Pessimism is no asset to a leader.
  21. Are you in the grip of a master passion such as that of Paul, who said, “This one thing I do”?  Such a singleness of motive will focus all of one’s energies and powers on the desired objective.
  22. Do you welcome responsibility?
Posted in: Leadership