Characteristics of Leadership, Part Two



The queen of Sheba came to visit Solomon, and one day she put him to the test. She brought artificial flowers so perfectly formed that no human eye could detect them from real flowers. She put them in a vase on Solomon’s table, in his throne room next to his flowers. As he came in, the queen of Sheba is reported to have said, “Solomon, you are the wisest man in the world. Tell me without touching these flowers, which are real and which are artificial.”

It is said that Solomon studied the flowers for a long time and spoke nothing, until finally, he said, “Open the windows and let the bees come in.”

There are ways to tell the artificial from the real—let the bees come in; they will know where the real is. If we live with the authentic Jesus long enough, we will recognize the artificial when we see it. (Brooks Ramsey, “When Religion Becomes Real”)

Leaders may fool people for a while, but the real you will show up. In her presentation, Carla Harris added these other characteristics of leaders. If you have followed this blog you know the first one I value highly. I don’t think/believe you can truly lead or shepherd a people if you are not authentic. Carla shared a story about Carla “the singer” and Carla “the investment banker.” In addition to her work on Wall Street, Carla is a singer who has recorded three CDs and sung at Carnegie Hall. At the start of her career, she was hesitant to identify as a singer in her business role. But she noticed, whenever this aspect of her identity was brought up with clients, she naturally built a connection and differentiated herself from the other bankers. If you bring your authentic self, one aspect will help you connect.


A = Authenticity

  • Authenticity is at the heart of every powerful, impactful and influential leader.
  • Bring your authentic self to the table. Authenticity builds trust. Trust is at the heart of any successful relationship.
  • Each part of your personality makes you unique because it is how God created and wired you.
  • Take time in prayer and reflection to understand who you are. Reflect a couple of times every year– especially when you have life-changing events. This has been a great personal season for me seeking answers to these questions:
  • Who are you when things get tough?
  • Who are you when things get easy?
  • Are you a great problem-solver?
  • Do you like working on a team or alone?


D = Decisiveness

Having served in many capacities over my fifty-plus years on this planet. I have run across all kinds of leaders. Those who have this approach to deciding. “When in charge, ponder. When in trouble, delegate. When in doubt, mumble.” Yeah, those people drove me nuts. Make a call already will you? Then there were these kinds of leaders, “Take time to deliberate; but when the time for action arrives, stop thinking and go on. “ Andrew Jackson.

Then I have experienced those leaders who took time to get the needed information then had the courage to pull the trigger and live with whatever may come. For any leader, whether or not you like it, you are the leader because you have to actually lead. Which means making decisive moves. Will they all work out?  Of course, not, nothing in life always goes your way. So, why would leadership be any different?

  • Decisiveness
  • Meg Whitman, former CEO of eBay says, “The price of inaction is greater than the cost of making a mistake.”

Powerful, impactful and influential leaders must be comfortable making decisions. If you have trouble deciding, your team will lose the ability to produce fruit and trust in you. Even in the face of incomplete information, pray for direction and then trust your judgment, your experiences, and your people. Let these questions guide your time of discernment:

  • Who can I call? Who has seen this before?
  • What experiences have I had that could inform this decision?

But please for all that is good and proper, make a decision! Every experience you have will bring you one of two things: a blessing or a lesson.

Part one:

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