What makes a leader a leader? The question has been asked over and over again for years and years. There are many answers to that question and many books have been written about, what is a leader. I have had the privilege of being associated with some great leaders. I have seen them on stage in the public and I have seen them behind closed doors. Orrin Woodward, Chris Brady, Tim Marks, George Guzzardo, Claude Hamilton and Dan Hawkins are all different in personality and how they lead but they all have some similar traits.
I just finished a book that referenced Jim Collins book ” Good to Great ” and he discuss Jim’s level 5 leaders. In Les Csorbas book he refers to these top leaders as having developed a mereness. They develop this mereness in 3 ways.
1. they have developed a core understanding of their humanity
2. when they understand there depraved nature
3. when they grasp that the purpose of leadership is not leadership itself
This first one could be taken in so many directions that you could write a whole book on it and many people have. I would classify this as knowing the basics about how humans act and interact. If you don’t have this basic understanding then it will be difficult to help move someone forward because you will be trying to move them by force instead of by influence. Lets take the very basic of human nature, personalities. When you are leading people in any way this is a basic must know. It’s also a must that you know your own personality so you know why you do the things you do. You must be able to identify if someone is choleric, melancholy, phlegmatic or sanguine. The other popular classification is the D.I.S.C. system. Each of these personalities interpret and process things very different from each other and if you don’t know why you will be taking your self down the path of ignorance instead of understanding. Other deeper subjects would be how humans process thoughts based on their own pre-suppositions and being able to think about that as you’re trying to help you team.
The second point would be tied to faith. When you understand that humans will do amazing and special things because they are fallen and sinful creatures. We hear and see things that people do and we think to ourselves,” I would never do that.” Some things we may be correct on but other things we would shock ourselves if we were in that person shoes. I am not saying that the sinful things we see people do is ok but I am saying that you have to know where the root cause of the behavior comes from. My 2-year-old son is using scratching as his revenge tactic. If I don’t understand human nature I could say, “Well he was born a scratcher.” We say of course that’s not it and we start to guide him out of doing it. If an adult has a bad attitude we just say,” whats wrong with them.” If you understand fallen nature you know whats wrong with them and you are now empowered to help them overcome that. You can’t truly guide someone unless you can see from their footprints.
The third item is an interesting debate. The best leaders start out not trying to be the leader. Meaning they aren’t mentally thinking, “I am the leader.” They are leading by example. When your starting out and you’re trying to be the leader you usually end up being a manager because you’re trying to force your leadership. As your role changes you may have to recognize that you are a leader and therefore there are things you can’t do and things you must do but you’re not doing them just so you can say, I am the leader. You are doing them because you now have more responsibilities than rights.
Leading requires a lot of sacrifice and growth but it has some amazing rewards. I wish you the best of luck in your leadership and I hope this short article will give you some insight into some of the top leaders that I have been associated with, with the Life business.