Everyone wants to be a leader. Every leader wants followers as well. But we have all seen or even worked for a leader that you just don’t want to follow, right? Maxwell would say that individual is only taking a walk, they aren’t leading. I would go a step further and call them a manager but not a leader.
So, what separates a manager from a leader? What separates a leader from someone that is just taking a walk? Well, I am glad you asked…Here are a few traits you need to become a leader worth following. Now, I could have come up with 100, but I chose 5 of the most important ones so here they are:
Integrity is when your behavior matches your beliefs. It is that moment when there is alignment between what you say and how you behave. Integrity is when your private life and your public life match. I like how one pastor put it, integrity is when those who know you the most respect you the most.
Integrity is so important as a leader. We all have seen a leader fall because of a lack of integrity. Something in their private life came out and it ruined their influence.
Here is why: Ability and talent may get you to the top but integrity will keep you at the top.
No one wants to be one of those stories. No one sets out on a journey looking for that to happen in their lives. Usually, they are blindsided by it.
This is why as leaders, we must work twice as hard on our integrity than we do our ability. Look, get better at your trade, but get even better at your integrity.
Craig Groeschel says this on every one of his podcasts: People would much rather follow a leader who is always real than one who is always right.
I love that statement, because it is so true. Followers want to follow a leader who is real. One who is authentic. One who they can relate to.
As leaders, there is a tension between being transparent and proving to our followers that we have it altogether.
Listen, live in the tension, but it is okay to allow your audience to see that you are a real human being. It is okay that they know you struggle and make some mistakes.
Never stop learning. Be teachable. I don’t care how long you have been leading, you have something that you can learn.
Because here is the big idea: when you stop learning, you stop leading
This is why as leaders, we must keep learning. You can learn something in every season that you find yourself in.
Make the most of it and learn.
4. Emotional Health
Our teams need to see leaders who are healthy, because the health of the organization is only as healthy as its leader.
We all want to build healthy organizations, and the best way to do that is to be a healthy leader.
Be physically healthy. Excercise. Stay active. Eat right. When I am physically healthy, I feel better which helps me lead better.
Be personally healthy. See a counselor (it is okay and really good for you). Find someone who knows you inside and out. Have friends. Be in community.
Be emotionally healthy. Your team needs this from you.
You cannot be a good leader and be prideful at the same time. Here are a few thoughts on being humble:
- Be more impressed with your team than with yourself.
- Don’t build the organization around you, build a great team.
- Work yourself out of a job.
- Give responsibility away
- Celebrate the wins of your team, not just your personal wins
- Listen to your team’s ideas, and not just your own
- Listen to the team’s feedback and be willing to pivot if their feedback is better than what you think.
Being a good leader is being a humble leader.
Be a leader that is worth following!