"Heart is everything, capacity grows and every good gift comes from God anyway! It's what we do with our gift that is the greatest importance to God." It’s Time, Dianne Wilson
I had the opportunity to ask this question to a group of leaders I was mentoring recently: “What kind of leader inspires you?” If you are a leader, it has probably been a while since anyone has asked you that question. However, in all likelihood it was the experience of being around an inspiring leader that gave you the leadership bug in the first place.
The qualities that my mentoring group noted as inspirational surprised me. These qualities had very little crossover with what is typically featured in seminars on best practices in leadership:
I quickly saw that the most valued leadership qualities listed fell into the category of what I would call HEART. Heart wins over capacity, gift, efficiency, or expertise (qualities classified as leadership aptitudes) every time. This exercise was a bit of a wake up call. I realized that some of the things I spend the most effort developing in order to become a better leader are the things the people I lead value the least.
Now let me be clear. Leadership aptitudes are important. Without them, any goodwill or team chemistry attained through the traits listed above will quickly erode due to frustration and disorganization. But what people experience as inspiring leadership has more to do with how you as a leader make them feel about their potential and capacity than about how you run the machine of your department or team – even your church.
After this discussion with my mentoring group, I made a conscious effort to become the kind of leader who, according to their own words, inspires them. I also made a decision that HEART will come first when considering someone for a leadership role. Capacity can grow, and competence can be taught, but HEART is one of those intangibles that brings life to a team. I want to be the kind of leader that inspires others to reach higher rather than driving them to work harder.
What kinds of leadership qualities inspire you? If you are a leader, let your own answers serve as a jumping off point for your own growth. Do you display the qualities that you count as inspiring? If not, how can you be intentional about growing in those areas?