Character is foundational to everything. You can be a gifted person, a talented leader, a natural enthusiast, an amazing speaker, but without godly character it all falls apart.
That's the basis of the fourth part of James Lawrence's book, 'Growing Leaders'.
It's almost always the case that we'd rather follow a less competent leader who we can trust than an highly competent leader who we don't trust.
It is one thing that people will less want to follow a leader who does not show godly character, but the most important reason why character is important is because God sees our character, and God calls us to a holy life. Add to this the fact that people will model themselves on those that lead them and that it is character issues that nearly always lie at the root of why leaders go off the rails and it quickly becomes apparent why character is so important.
A godly character in a leader in one who shows love, integrity, a servant-hearted attitude, compassion, is faithful and forgiving.
So how do we become more Christ-like in character? Lawrence argues that people rarely change for the better without healthy reflection. This isn't about self-reformation, but Christ transformation. He suggests four things we can do to help us to become more Christ-like.
- Godly change through meditation on the scriptures.
- Godly change through reflecting on life
- Godly change through taking time out
- Godly change through relationships
So we need to keep growing godly character, but the fact is that we all have flawed character. None of us are perfect. So how do we deal with that?
- Be clear about expectations
Our expectations of ourselves are often different to those we lead (who expect perfection often!). Define expectations together and agree on them.
- Be honest about faults
- Be open to feedback
- Be vulnerable
- Be proactive in preparing for the worst
- Be proactive in preventing the worst excesses of our character flaws