Notice the order of these words. Character is first. Leadership is last. I don’t know if this was by design, but a good leader follows this sequence. Let’s look at one great leader who followed this order: Jesus Christ.
The character of Christ is one of perfection. We, ourselves, cannot attain such character, but we can learn from His ideals and His passions. When I think of Jesus, the first thing that comes to mind is love. He uplifted the poor and needy, healed the sick, accepted all people – Jew and Gentile alike… He was not self righteous. Jesus was honest and true. He listened to the needs of people. He did not sin. I could go on and on. The sad part is that even though he had great character, character of perfection, others did not appreciate His character. They hated him and sought to punish him. “Crucify Him!” they yelled. They wrongfully accused and created drama against a man who did not deserve it. His character was pure. Make no mistake, Jesus was a leader and it began with His character.
So, first Jesus touched people with his character. Then Jesus moved to scholarship. Jesus was very knowledgeable. He knew the hearts of man. He knew the heart of His Father. He knew society. He knew the words of the Bible. Jesus showed His scholarship in discussions with his disciples and with people. He answered questions. He gave sermons. People came from all around to hear His thoughts. He preached the “Good News.”
Last, Jesus showed His leadership. But his leadership was different from other leaders people had come to know. People wanted a King. But Jesus was not the type of King some had hoped for. His leadership was one of service to others. His leadership was death upon a cross. His glory came with rising again. The Christian church was built and people continue to follow Him today.
If you put leadership first and character last, you get a selfish leader. You get a leader who only thinks of himself/herself and does not think of the people. I don’t want that kind of leader.
If you put scholarship first, you get a know it all. Scholarship in its most ideal form helps society. In order to put scholarship in that light, you start with character.
Character, scholarship, leadership – Great leaders know that character is what draws people to them. Their very character often puts them in a position of leadership even though they may not be named as the leader. People follow them. Great leaders are also knowledgeable. What they don’t know, they learn. Great leaders are often those who put themselves last and focus on serving others. That’s my kind of leader!