Qualities of great leaders

Published 7:22 pm Monday, March 5, 2018

Alexander the Great once said, “I am not afraid of an army of lions led by a sheep; I am afraid of an army of sheep led by a lion.” And it’s interesting that our leader  is Jesus who is the “Lion of Judah.”

Bruce Larson, in his book “Wind and Fire,” talks about sand hill cranes.

They are large birds who fly long distances across several continents and he suggests three reasons for their ability to endure the hardships of such a journey.

First, one bird could not endure the hardships of the entire journey, so they rotate leadership. Second, the leader takes the brunt of the turbulence, so they choose strong leaders who could endure the turbulence for a time. Third, whoever the leader might be, the rest of the flock honks their encouragement.

And I’m sure you’ve heard the story of the geese, who fly in a V-formation.

They spend the summer in the grain fields of Alaska and Canada.

An engineer studied their flight patterns and, using a wind tunnel, calibrated the efficiency of their V-formation. Each goose, by flapping its wings, creates an updraft for the goose behind it. So the leader, who has no one in front and receives no updraft, falls back to allow another goose to take the point.

It’s not easy to lead or take the point, and Joshua, in the Biblical book of his name, quickly discovered that when he became the leader of the Israelites.

Leadership is a complicated and difficult position.

John W. Gardner, former Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, who directed a leadership study project in Washington, D.C., has pinpointed five characteristics that set leader managers apart from run-of-the-mill managers. (Success Magazine)

They are long-term thinkers who see beyond the day’s crisis and the quarterly report. Their interest in the company does not stop with the unit they are heading. 

They want to know how all of the company’s departments affect one another.

They put heavy emphasis on vision, values, and motivation. They have strong people skills. They don’t accept the status quo.

The Bible begins, “In the beginning, God created….” So, made in the image of God, we are created to be creative and not simply say, in the seven last words of the church, “we’ve never done it that way before.”

Look around — if ever in our history we needed great leadership, it’s now.