While the complete qualities of a leader are multiple and depend upon the preferred style of the leader and his or her personality (among other things), Stephen Kindel, in his book Leadership for Dummies, identifies the four most basic leadership qualities that all leaders share. In fact, without any one of these, you disqualify yourself as a leader! These four traits are perhaps the only four that span all leaders, immune to the demographics of place and time.
Leaders are people who:
- Embrace responsibility. There is no leader where there is no person willing to accept the obligation to see a project/cause through to the end. Sure, most leaders donâ€™t look at their causes as obligations. But just try and bail out, and you may quickly change your mind about what you call it. Moses, Joshua, Nehemiah, Paul, and Peter are just a few examples of biblical characters who were not afraid to put their arms around a challenge and, with Godâ€™s help, lead others to an exciting new level of opportunity.
- Elicit the cooperation of others. The Lone Ranger only lived in TV land. Okay, he enlisted Tonto, but only to show up at the end in case of an emergency. In reality, we need not only the help of others for what we know needs to be accomplished, but the wisdom and insight of others for what they think needs to be done. Our impact is broadened when we multiply ourselves through the efforts of others. Remember Acts 6? When dealing with the unmet needs of the Greek widows, the apostles created and enlisted deacons to help with this task.
- Listen well. Nehemiah is a great example of this! Upon arrival in Jerusalem, he took a midnight ride, scanning the situation, then listened to the elders and rulers about their perspective. It was only after this process that he spoke, using the word "we" in describing his plan of action.