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  • John Whitehead

Traits of a Leader

There is a lot of talk about leadership in businesses, churches and in personal development.


The countless books, along with opportunities for training and development, seems to be never ending as seminar after seminar is created, sponsored, and made available to an eager and passionate public.


I have spent a considerable amount of time attending these seminars and events to learn about the “traits of a leader”, in the hope of becoming a better leader myself. As I do, I have come to realize there are certain traits that exist in people who either are positioned to lead or consider themselves leaders.


Among these are passion, confidence, and competence, followed closely by an air of arrogance and smugness.


If these attitudes exist, the question is why? The answer may simply be because these are the attributes of those who are in the role of leading in our lives. You see, we reflect those we follow. This is true for each of us whether we want to admit it or not.


We must ask ourselves; would I follow someone like me? A quick and certain yes may point to an arrogance and smugness that exist in us. You may say, I am not being arrogant or smug. I am just confident and self-assured. This may be true of some, but it most likely cannot be said of most.


Ironically, the biggest challenge for people in positions of authority, may be insecurity. In fact, arrogance and smugness is a by-product of insecurity.


Why? Because we can hide our insecurities behind our arrogance and smugness.


How do we fight against this? We practice humility and meekness. You may be thinking these are not the characteristics of a leader I would follow. I contend, these are the characteristics of the greatest leader of all time. Jesus of Nazareth.


You see, it was Jesus who led with passion, confidence, and competence, but the difference is He never allowed those attributes to lead to arrogance or smugness.


How did He do it? He did so by not allowing His position to become His focus. In other words, He did not allow His authority to go to His head.


I believe Jesus knew humility and meekness were a better way. He understood serving others was the most effective way to lead.


If we are going to reflect the “traits of a leader”, we need to see and understand, our actions and attitudes will speak louder than our words.


As I think about that, I wonder if I have this tendency to be smug and arrogant. As with everyone, my answer is I hope not, but I know I cannot see these things in myself. They will be seen by those around me.


I believe each of us must ask ourselves, do I have the “traits of a leader”. If we think so, does that mean we are smug and arrogant or humble and meek.


In searching my own heart as I desire to learn to lead effectively. I have learned seeking the “traits of a leader” means learning from men and following Jesus.


My question is, if you are seeking to learn and lead effectively, what example are you following?


Philippians 2:5-8, "In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be

used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature[b] of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death — even death on a cross!




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