FOUNDATION OF LEADERSHIP IS CHARACTER
Without a good foundation, a house will fall. It’s not a question of “if it will fall,” but rather, “when it will fall.” The same is true with leadership. Leadership begins with building an effective foundation in one’s life. Without that strong foundation, the leader will one day surely fall. Character is an essential ingredient of leadership and forms the foundation of the leader’s life and activities. Withoutcharacter, a leader will be disqualified.
We generally think of character as moral qualities, ethical standards, integrity, and principles. But really, it is so much more. It is the sum of our capacity to deal with life as God designed us to live.As Dr. Henry Cloud defines character, “It is the structures and abilities within ourselves that make up how we operate in life. “ Character is “who you really are,” not who people “think” you are.
Several people in the Bible are described as having noble character. They are distinguished by their persistent moral virtue.
- RUTH “And now, my daughter, don’t be afraid. I will do for you all you ask. All the people of my town know that you are a woman of noble character.” Ruth 3:11
- HANANIAH “I put in charge of Jerusalem my brother Hananiah, along with Hananiah the commander of the citadel, because he was a man of integrity and feared God more than most people do.” Nehemiah 7:2
- DAVID “And David shepherded them with integrity of heart;with skillful hands he led them.” Psalm 78:72
- JOB “Then the Lord asked Satan, “Have you noticed my servant Job? He is the finest man in all the earth. He is blameless—a man of complete integrity. He fears God and stays away from evil. And he has maintained his integrity, even though you urged me to harm him without cause.”
Character development should begin in our growing up years at home. It is developed through our parents or caretakers raising us with encouragement, praise, consistency, correction, and accountability. It is through their love for us that they purpose to “train us for life.” They are preparing us for adulthood. When we eventually leave their homes and step into the “adult world,” – they should have instilled in us character traits of responsibility, honesty, faithfulness, diligence, work ethic, commitment, punctuality, dependability, and so much more.
When we reach adulthood few of us grew up in perfect homes. Some of us perhaps grew up without parents and the nurturing that we required was not given. Others of us had parents with their own character deficiencies, so we were left underdeveloped. While our upbringing was not our responsibility, it is now our responsibility to reach out to God and God’s plan to build a Christ-like character. In coming issues, we will look at different character traits needed in our life and the process of how to develop them.