The Heart of a Leader
Conversations about leadership are plentiful these days. I enjoy the many perspectives, wisdom, and insight I glean from so many leaders. People are interested in what attributes, character qualities, and talents make a great leader. Many questions are being raised: What makes a great leader? Can anyone lead? Who is best equipped to lead?
An important aspect of the leadership conversation is the role our heart plays in how we lead. The word heart, aside from its physical function and definition, in literature and in the Scriptures has meant the very core and center of life. It refers to the inner qualities of a person: the mind, understanding, underlying attitudes and guiding motivations. The inner qualities of great leadership flow out of an understanding that God fashions our hearts individually (Ps. 33:15a).
God creates leaders. He creates leaders with distinction and unique characteristics for His good pleasure and purposes. He is forming and shaping the hearts of His leaders. God places them in positions of influence, power, and authority. Great leaders understand this and they are compelled to carry out His will in their lives.
A truly great leader rests in the assurance that God is the leader of our lives. He establishes our ways and He determines our future. We are mere followers after the great leader Himself. God allows leaders the opportunity to lead and have influence. Great leaders know inherently that, A leader is one who influences a specific group of people to move in a God-given direction (J. Robert Clinton). Our role and responsibility as followers of God is foremost to lead others in the truths of His ways.
Truly great leaders love God. They are intimately connected to Him, listening and waiting on His lead. The convictions and actions that stem from remarkable leadership begin here with God, in the heart. Great leaders recognize that apart from the will of God their plans pale.
A truly great leader’s life plan is in accordance with God’s plans. Their actions are in alignment with the good that needs to be done in whatever organization, community, or enterprise they are involved with. A leader who is intimately connected to the heart of God understands that the good that needs to be done is part of God’s greater plan. A great leader recognizes that, A good man (woman) out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things (Matthew 12:35a, parenthetical mine). This is the aim of the leader, to put into action the good of God that needs to be done.
Leaders led by God assume a humble posture, because at the very core these leaders understand they lead by the grace of God. Great leaders exercise humility; because they know their every breath, is determined by God. They understand the sacrifice made by Jesus, the Son of God, on their behalf. In his stripes they find strength. In his calling they find courage. In his death they find life. Great leaders follow in his footsteps, because he is the one who opens heaven’s gates, holds the answers to all the mysteries of the universe in his hand, and orders their each and every day.
In the heart of a great leader, humility is coupled with the ever-increasing knowledge that God is omnipotent. A truly great leader knows that it is God’s power in us that is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think. Great leaders understand the incredible dynamic between walking in humility and having access to the power of God Almighty. Humility coupled with God’s power fuels endless possibility, vision for today, and hope for the future.