Monday, May 19, 2014

10 Characteristics Shared By Great Leaders

David Murray summarizes some interesting findings about leadership from the recent book, View From The Top:
Although not an overtly Christian book, Lindsay regularly returns to the way the research can be read and utilized to encourage Christian leaders. 
I personally found many applications that could be made in ministry, especially in the areas of mentoring, EQ (relational intelligence), and servant leadership. 
But now to the 10 characteristics or features that most of these leaders had in common. 
1. A mentor Having a mentor early in a career is by far the most important contributor to a person’s success. It matters far more than a privileged upbringing, the college attended, extraordinary early life experiences, or what they did did in their teenage years. 
2. Two loving parentsThe majority of leaders interviewed came from households with two loving parents with the critical factor being the amount of time they spent with their parents. 
3. College Virtually everyone in the study graduated from some college. Only 3% of the leaders did not graduate from college, and among this small group, most attended for some amount of time. Many of the leaders who grew up in poverty had used education to neutralize their disadvantage. Two-thirds of the leaders attended state colleges/universities (i.e. non-Ivy-League). 
4. Sports A surprisingly large proportion of leaders were varsity athletes – 41% in high school and 23 % in college. 
5. Global awareness Most leaders had a wide worldview, often achieved through learning a second language or international travel. 65% traveled abroad for the first time between the ages of 16 and 30. 
6. Servant spirit The most successful leaders did not use their leadership primarily for personal benefit or advancement but for a greater cause. 
"Those who use their authority to control others or simply for their own gain are not leaders at all, but only power-wielders. 
Transformative power (at an institution, in a personal relationship, or in our daily work) almost always comes from great sacrifices. And moral authority—which is the leader’s greatest currency for influence—develops not through usurping power, as some might contend, but through self-giving sacrifice."
7. Generalist While increasing mastery of their specific field of expertise, the best leaders maintained a generalist orientation. They are “dabblers of sorts, conversant in other kinds of business, knowledgeable about current affairs, and able to connect across divides.” 
8. Exposure and Experience Leadership cannot be taught but it can be caught. The key to developing leaders is to expose students to leadership and to experience it. There is no substitute for trying to do it, and the earlier people try, the more likely they’ll get good at it. 
9. EQ (Emotional Intelligence) In leadership, IQ takes second position to emotional or relational intelligence.
Leading others is significantly easier when followers enjoy being around the leader, and interpersonally gifted people are at a significant advantage in power… The higher the level of the job, the less important technical skills and cognitive abilities were and the more important competence in emotional intelligence became.
10. Positive attitudeThey are positive about their work, exuding energy and enthusiasm. They are positive about people, investing in them and encouraging them, and they are positive about the future, tending not to look backwards but forwards. 
Get the book here.  

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