“Leadership is not about titles, positions or flowcharts. It is about one life influencing another.”- John Maxwell
There are many leaders in our Army.
Leaders can be found in our corps, in our social service departments, in our thrift stores, in our headquarters…all the way up to IHQ and the office of the General.
But, like most things, not all leaders are the same.
Today I would like to delve into the qualifications and characteristics that make a good leader trustworthy. What are these qualifications? What sort of characteristics would you expect from such a person? I’m so glad you asked.
Perhaps you have heard the phrase “trust is earned”.
Sometimes though in our Army, and in any organization for that matter, we are expected to trust those who lead, but can this be done consistently? Have you ever had experiences that left you second guessing that trust? I am certainly not advocating a spirit of paranoia and doubt, but I would caution that not everyone who is placed in a leadership position has the same motivations and agendas.
3 Leaders You Can Trust:
1. Leaders Who Have Integrity
The Salvation Army needs more leaders to be men and women of integrity. I say this for all areas of leadership. From the local officer position all the way up to the General. We need people who will do what they say they will do while being men and women of Holiness. Without the characteristic of holiness, a leader’s integrity cannot be completely fulfilled. Thus, leadership must begin on our knees before our heavenly Father. Because we will be held to account for what we do on earth. Leaders who operate with ulterior motivations and do not have holy integrity, will falter and perhaps inflict casualties within our body of soldiers. We are very good at pointing out the bad in others, but this godly principle of living must begin with us! Without holiness and integrity our sphere of responsibility and leadership will crumble and find a limited impact for the Kingdom.
2. Leaders Who Are Authentic
Not only is it crucial to have trusted leaders who possess integrity, but those who also have a level of genuine authenticity. Do you know leaders who act one way while in the pulpit or place of leadership and conduct themselves contrary to that place of authority? What we say and what we do should line up, and with it our REAL responses to the world around us. There is no time to be a phony leader or a phony Christian. We cannot have leaders of any level merely giving lip service to God, but their motives and conduct are completely contrary to their bravado. This Army needs more authentic leaders! We need people who are real, people who know what it means to struggle with life, people who get it. This army is in need of leadership that has empathy not apathy. We need more candid conversations and less brow beatings and starchy high pulpit speak. We have to have a spirit of trust and an understanding that our Army is made up of people who are fallible and require compassion and grace. We need more leaders who will go to the gates of hell for people and soldiers in need instead of delegating or sending others to do their jobs. The leader that can be trusted will come to your level and spend time talking with you about the things that matter. Can you be a trusted leader? Do you have a heart to serve? Are you moved with compassion for those you lead? Then be authentic, and leader with authenticity, this Kingdom of God doesn’t have a place for two-faced leadership.
3. Leaders Who Are Accountable
Leaders who pass the buck are not leaders of accountability.
If we as leaders do not possess a spirit of accountability in us, then we cannot be trusted.
James 3:1 tells us that the higher our area of responsibility goes, so does our level of accountability to God. “… let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment.” (James 3:1 NKJV)
They say that power corrupts absolutely. This does not end at places of political power and in government, this is true of the Church and of The Salvation Army as well. Be aware of the power that is entrusted to you. Know that final authority is not you – but rather God. Even if you do not have someone who is currently over you in authority, your actions and motivations will be judged in accordance to Godly principles when we stand before Him. I do not say this to sound threatening or vindictive, I say this because I believe there are those in numerous places of authority who are power hungry and motivated not by a spirit of service but to be served. This is a very real danger in all levels of leadership. If we are to be leader who can be trusted, we must possess a level of accountability towards those we serve in leadership both above and below us (for lack of a better term). Is it still Thy Kingdom come, or has it come “My Kingdom come”?
Questions to Ponder Today:
Can we be trusted leaders?
Who are we accountable to?
Do I struggle with authenticity in my ministry and place of authority right now?
Is integrity and holy living a part of my identity as a leader?
Am I currently giving lip service to God, but my spiritual life is a wreck?
IF I struggle with these areas of my leadership, how can I correct that?
These are just three qualities of Godly leadership…I know that there are more and that this is just a primer. What do you think? What list would you suggest? We look forward to reading your comments, thoughts and concerns!
Something more for our Army to Ponder today.
To God be the glory!
**Disclaimer: The thoughts written here are not necessarily the thoughts and expressions of the Army (But I hope they are), but are the thoughts and expression of the author. Reader discretion is advised.**