What does it take to be a good leader?
This question was brought to my attention this last week when a rising KU swim captain asked me about my experience as a captain for the softball team. She asked me to define effective leadership. I said something along the lines of, “An effective leader is someone who understands the responsibility of their role… They lead both by example and with words, holding themselves to the highest standard.”
As a captain and leader on my team, I am expected to work as hard as I physically can on the field and in the classroom. Leadership sets the standard. How is my attitude? How is my work ethic? As the Spiderman quote goes, “With great power comes great responsibility.”
Luke 12:48 says, “From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.”
Leadership can be extremely rewarding when there is success and harmony among the team. If I am held to a higher standard, I am never settling, but putting my whole heart and everything I have into my team.
Yet the higher the responsibility, the more it hurts when you fail. When things aren’t going well, the blame falls on leadership. I have come to learn that leadership is not equivalent to perfection. I am not expected to never make an error on the field or never strike out. The standards I am held to pertain to how I handle adversities when they do come.
When wondering how to be an effective leader, we should look to a Heavenly example. Jesus, the perfect Leader, humbled Himself to death on the cross so that those He loves may have life. (Philippians 2:1-11) From this, we understand that a good leader is always putting others and the team before him or her self.
Jesus says in Matthew 20:26, “Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant.”
In our current groups, whether it’s sports, the church, or any other area of life, is this the approach we take to leadership? Or do we seek it for a position of power? Of worldy status?
God does not call everyone to high, authoritative positions of leadership. He gives each of His children unique gifts in order to bring Him Glory and that is beautiful. But whether or not you are in a “leadership role,” as a Christian, we are held to a higher standard. We are ambassadors of His Kingdom and want to represent Him in the best way possible. We must recongnize the great responsibility as believers.
While we know we cannot be perfect, as a Christian is not equivalent to perfection, we must hold ourselves to the highest standard. We must put others above ourselves in every situation possible. We must not dwell on our sins, but rather, focus on how we are going to respond when they do happen. We must recognize our responsibility of carrying Jesus’ name and choose to live lives in obedience to God.