By: Undre Griggs, Jr.
Imagine someone you believe to be a great leader. They could be someone you personally know or they could be someone you read about or admire from afar. It is likely they each have a few core traits that helped lead them to success. It may be their drive, willingness to learn, and their ability to leave their comfort zone. They may be forward thinking and adventurous; willing to challenge the status quo. But what does the Bible say makes an effective leader? We will explore this over the next couple of months as we list the top ten (biblical) traits of an effective leader.
For someone to be an effective leader, people must be willing to follow them. Generally speaking, we find people are willing to invest in someone or something they believe in. The best salespeople will usually be selling a product they believe in and personally own. The people willing to follow someone tend to have the same mindset; they must believe in what the person is saying. One of the easiest ways to accomplish this is by always telling the truth.
Proverbs 16:28 (ESV): A dishonest man spreads strife, and a whisperer separates close friends.
The culture a leader creates will disperse among the team; as either a benefit or detriment to the overall success. If the leader is dishonest, there will be divisiveness and a lack of trust. People will be uncomfortable repeating or acting on the information the leader provides. They will be unsure if someone says something contradicting what the leader told them; because they know their leader is unreliable. On the other hand, if the leader is honest, there will be inclusiveness and fewer arguments. Everyone will be on the same page because the leader has told everyone the same thing. The vision will be clear because it does not change with the audience, nor does anyone dare lie because they know it will be evident to all.
Proverbs 19:9 (NIV): A false witness will not go unpunished, and whoever pours out lies will perish.
Honesty comes down to expressing our intentions and then keeping them. A leader has to be willing to hold themselves and their team to their word. It is no different than a parent raising a child. If a parent wants to make sure their child acts a certain way, they should behave that way themselves. They have to incentivize the constructive actions and discourage the damaging actions. The best way to accomplish this is with our personal example; as it is always the strongest testimony people will react to. If a leader wants to build a culture of honesty, they must start by being honest themselves.
Ephesians 4:25 (NKJV): Therefore, putting away lying, “Let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor,” for we are members of one another.
An honest environment is an environment where people are more concerned about each other than themselves. For a leader to successfully create an honest environment, everyone must be willing to speak and hear the truth. There can be no favoritism, no exceptions to the rule. Whether you are the leader or the intern, whether you started yesterday or have been there from the beginning; everyone should be held accountable to the vision the leader set forth.