Monday, April 14, 2008

What Makes a Good Leader?

There's this ongoing debate/discussion that asks, "Are good leaders made or born?" I say "yes". What I mean is that some leaders have the gift, while others need to develop it. And then there are some people that should just never try to lead people, no matter what!

This past weekend I was talking with my friend Clint, who I have watched over the past 10 years grow into a great leader. He told me this amazing story and I think you'll also get something from it.

A few days ago, Clint's 10 year old daughter, Keegan, asked him if he could get her into see our pastor. You may be thinking "big deal, just talk to him after church." Well, we have a rather large church (30,000 people in 13 campus locations around the country), but Clint does have access. So, he asked her why. She said that she wanted to ask him what makes a good leader. Keep in mind that Keegan is ten years old. When I was 10, I was thinking about a new bike or something as trivial.

So, they worked it out. Actually, to be able to make the meeting, she had to get up at 6 a.m., but that was no problem at all for her.

Our pastor handled this as only he can. "Does anybody know where I can get a hug from a 10-year old?" She eagerly responded, "Hey, I'm 10!"

After the hug, she asked him the question, "What makes a good leader". His response was something like this:

"It takes three key things: 1) Integrity, so like when you have a test at school and somebody has the answers, you don't look at them, even if you know you won't get caught; 2) The ability to cast a vision clearly so others can see and follow it, and 3) Being a servant to the people you lead. They are not there for you, you are there for them."

Then he signed to her a copy of one of his books on finding God's purpose for life, and got another hug.

This story really impacted me in several ways.

First, what motivates a ten-year old to be bold enough to ask a question few adults ask?

Second, there are many books on leadership, but these three things boil it down nicely.

Third, a true leader always makes time for people.

I have a feeling that Keegan is already a leader, and if she keeps seeking and learning, she'll be a great one.

Now, what are you going to do today to be a leader?

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