Faithful leaders, personality and free books for you

What’s one of the greatest challenges a leader—especially a Christian one—faces?

Himself.

Because God has uniquely wired each of us with particular skills, abilities and personality types and traits, every leader tends to look a little different. Some are the super-confident, assertive alpha types. Others are incredibly engaging, leading powerfully through charisma and influence. Others still are a little more reserved, and their leadership shines through in how they relate to others moreso than what they say.

conviction-to-lead-mohler

These are not bad things by any means. However, a leader always needs to be aware of how his personality is influencing the culture of his organization—whether a church, non-profit or corporation. Albert Mohler explains this exceptionally well in one of my favorite new books on leadership, The Conviction to Lead (a book I reviewed not too long ago):

…faithful leaders understand that while they will influence the organization with their personality, they must never allow personality to be the defining mark of leadership.

There are two dangers here. The first is the well-known “cult of personality,” in which the persona of the leader becomes the hallmark of the organization. Personality cults take over the culture of the organization, with the leader sometimes becoming more prominent than the organization itself. The other danger is that the leader will rely on personality as a substitute for conviction or competence. Personality is important, but it will fall flat when conviction wanes or competence is lacking. (108)

These dangers are so important for us to understand.

We can all point to examples of organizations where the personality of the founder or leader has overtaken the organization’s culture. And we can all just as easily enough think of examples of either fairly charismatic leaders or ones who lead through fear and intimidation because they’re simply not very good at their jobs.

The point of saying this (and of course Mohler’s writing it) is not to take an opportunity to point at someone else and say, “I’m glad I’m not like that guy!”

We have to remember that personality needs to be both cultivated and stewarded carefully. A leader’s personality can and should influence an organization’s culture. But leaders must be mindful of the negatives they bring to the table as well—because those will spread through the culture as well (and possibly faster than your positives).


Courtesy of Bethany House, today I’m giving away five copies The Conviction to Lead to readers of this blog. To enter, just use the handy-dandy Punchtab app below and answer the following question in the comments:

Who is the best leader you’ve met? Why?

The giveaway closes tonight at 11:59:59 pm (ET) and winners will be contacted via email shortly thereafter.

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  • Susie

    Best leader ? Jesus

  • http://twitter.com/kevinfiske Kevin Fiske

    Without a doubt, Dr. Joe Stowell. I had the opportunity to get to know Dr. Stowell during my time as a student at Moody Bible Institute. The Lord has gifted Dr. Stowell with a unique mixture of vision, approachability, personality, and a pastoral heart that has blessed many under his leadership.

  • Corey

    The best leader I’ve met has to be my Father. He has truly shown me what it means to live the Christian life.

  • nathancreitz

    Best leader I’ve met would have to be David Platt. He is truly reigniting a passion for disciple making around the world.

  • Ben

    The best leader I’ve met, to this point is Rob Turner of Apex Community. A careful balance of conviction and vision, passion and sobriety, you would think in regards to leadership there is hardly left any room for him to grow- but his greatest strength I will strive to in “remembering your leaders, those who spoke the word of God..” is he would hardly finish a sentence, sermon or conversation without realizing more his deep need for Christ.

  • http://twitter.com/jeroa Jorge Roa

    Best leader of all times, Billy Graham. I don’t know if someone can replace him.

  • http://twitter.com/JasonTTucker Jason Tucker

    Wonderful insights from a gifted leader.

  • http://www.facebook.com/willieharrisjr Willie Harris Jr

    Dr. Stephen Davey, he’s a fellow pastor of a church and president of a seminary in my area. He demonstrates humility, boldness, and wisdom.

  • Mozart Dixon

    The best leader I’ve met would have to be my senior pastor, Pastor Carl Godwin. He is the founding pastor of our church and has led God’s flock now for the last 40 years in both it’s ups and downs. The reason I would choose him is, he is one man that I’ve met who I know serves and leads the church out of his desperate need for the Gospel. When he makes decisions and preaches God’s word it is with Gospel focus and a great heart for the lost.

    Thanks for the opportunity to share about this great leader and friend of mine.

    God bless,

    Mozart

  • Duncan Cantrell

    Pastor Bill Douglas. He volunteered to be a father figure to my girlfriend and I when we were alone and without a mentor.

  • Bob

    B Reseigh. Humble, Biblically Faithful. Transparent

  • http://www.facebook.com/jaredtotten Jared Totten

    My current pastor, because he is intent on letting the Bible shape his leadership on every level, from his personal life to how he leads his staff to how he leads his church.

  • Tim B

    The pastor who mentored me because he was a shepherd who knew how to guide his people before God.

  • http://twitter.com/jchrisland Chris Land

    My friend Keith Smith who I served in YOuth Ministry with because he was more concerned about people’s walk with God than success in ministry and events for students.

  • J.D. Arnold

    The best leader I have ever met is Mac Brunson at FBC Jacksonville, FL. As a seminary student, he allowed us the privilege of meeting with him in his study and talking ministry and theology a few years ago. It was great for him to invest in us and allow us to see how he leads his staff and church. Years ago he also took an hour of his time for a phone interview for another seminary student who is a friend of mine. Leaders lead by example and Dr. Brunson is a great example.

  • Timothy Long

    Greg Koukl is a pragmatic expositor of Christian philosophy and apologetics. He’s mentoring an army of Christian ambassadors and teaching them to engage culture for Christ. Great leader.

  • Salvador

    I admire many. Each one has a different strength. The Lord has used all of them in my life. They are all sinners, but they are great instruments of God by His grace.

  • Michael

    My current pastors, who are leading our church through a simple focus on the Word.

  • http://twitter.com/Ken_Lupton Ken Lupton

    James “Buck” Hatch, a prof in Bible college. He exemplified servanthood anf humility

  • kevin

    pastor mike abendroth, w. boylston, ma.

    leading so many of the men who attend his church (and many who don’t) to press in, learn more about the Word and how to handle it, lead their families, lead in the congregation, etc.

  • Dan

    Dwayne Carson.

  • brandon

    Pastor @ little flock baptist

  • micahperry68

    Jesus Christ. Other men and women pointed to the water, but only the Son of God led me to it and gave(gives) me a drink.

  • Kathryn

    My favorite Christian leader is my former Bible Study Fellowship Teaching Leader, Mary Johnson in Washington state. She, too, never went to seminary, but after she became a believer she had, and still has, a passion to study God’s word. She faithfully gave her lectures every week with honesty and genuine humility. Her goal was never to elevate herself but rather, to elevate Jesus. I learned to study God’s word for myself through that ministry but also, I was privileged to serve under her leadership and observe how she impacted hundreds of women every year. She has inspired me and so many others. :)

  • James

    My favorite leader is my pastor who faithfully leads a small church everyday.

  • khalloran1987

    my favorite leader is anyone who is humbly seeking God in prayer on behalf of his people

  • Ann

    Best leader I ever met is a former pastor – he knew what he believed and didn’t compromise..

  • Adam C

    The best leader I’ve met might not be the same person as my favorite leader.
    Best leader I’ve met might be Drew Brees (we don’t have to be super-spiritual here; do we?).

  • http://www.facebook.com/revbkhodge Brian Hodge

    Joseph Stowell. Saw him step in to help a cook in The Cove, while the rest of us stood around patiently waiting, who was understaffed and needed help.