I have a shortlist of things that I watch for in leaders that influences my view of their leadership health. Here they are in no particular order.

How do they treat people below them? Leaders are usually very good at appropriate relationships at their level or above in the leadership chain. The question is whether they treat those below with the same honor, dignity and care. Leaders fail the test when they treat those below differently than they treat those above. 

Are they consistent in their actions and do their actions reflect their stated beliefs? What leaders say is far less important than what they do. People watch actions far more than they listen to words because words are cheap while actions are powerful. Words that are consistent with actions are very powerful. Team members then know \their leader is serious.

Do they build strong teams or are they the linchpin of the ministry? Teams send a message that the ministry is about what we can do together while strong leaders without strong teams sends a message that what we can do is about the leader. Leaders who build strong teams value the contribution of others while leaders who don't, don't.

Do they display a humility in their leadership that invites dialogue, disagreement and push-back or are they insular and defensive? The first indicates personal health while the second indicates dishealth and a focus on self along with insecurity.

Do they ask questions of others and listen carefully or do they talk a lot and expect others to listen? The more a leader talks rather than listens the less healthy and effective they are. The best leaders ask many questions, listen carefully and think deeply about what they hear.

Are they collaborative in their leadership decisions or do they have a need to get their own way? Collaborative leadership indicates a desire to draw out the best from others toward shared solutions while non-collaborative decision making devalues the opinions of others and elevates the opinions of the leader.

Do they clearly articulate the mission of the organization or do they have trouble explaining the focus of their ministry? If I ask staff members do I hear a the same message I heard from the leader? 

Do they live life intentionally or accidentally? This goes to the question of how carefully they think through their priorities. Leaders with high intentionality are thoughtful leaders who know what is important for them to pay attention to. That differs from leaders who are easily distracted, follow the flavor of the month and seem to be random as to what they pay attention to making it very difficult for their staff to know what is truly important.

Many people lead. Not many are truly good leaders. These are the kinds of things my "leadership radar" tunes into
  • Oct 26, 2011
  • Category: News
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