Leadership Traits

I have recently had several conversations about leadership vs. management. My daughter told me a story about a “manager” in another department that refuses to let his student worker “unplug from her position” in the call center three minutes early so she can catch the noon shuttle back to campus. He told her to bring her things for class and take the 12:20 shuttle. She offered to come in early so they still would get their 4 hours of work from her but he refused. This is a college worker, working on campus, who is trying to make it all work and has someone as a supervisor who is only capable of being a manager. A leader would have helped her and worked out a solution. There have been books written to describe leadership, so I’m not going to do it in a short blog post. The verse for today talks about: “teaching, rebuking, correcting and training”; all good signs of a leader. Taking the time to ensure that your people understand their job is a management function. Taking the time to build their skills and knowledge so that they can grow/advance is leadership. Rebuking, which is the expression of disapproval or criticism is a management skill of correcting unwanted behavior. Leaders that have courage, will not only help others correct mistakes, they take the time to coach their staff toward improvement and will allow mistakes to serve as learning points and not disciplinary moments. Managers will spend time correcting every little thing that people do, sometimes we use the phrase “micro-manage” to describe these people. We have all worked for someone who wants things done a certain way and within a certain time period. A real micro-manager takes their “certain way” and makes changes to everything we’ve done. A leader will correct someone by showing more effective processes, they will explain what and why certain things are important but most of all, they will acknowledge when they too are wrong. Training employees is critical for the overall organization’s success. Teaching is about learning new skills and training is about taking what you know and making it better. Leaders view training as an opportunity to let people experiment and get comfortable with concepts and processes. The signs of a good leader can be found in these traits, modeled by the greatest leader there will ever be.

16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.  2 Timothy 3:16-17

This is one of those verses that sum up the bible – “All Scripture is God-breathed”. It’s amazing to think that these are the words of God given to us through His writers. If you look back through the scriptures, you will see Jesus use teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in all that He did. Whether he was addressing large crowds, small groups, His disciples, His mother or the Pharisees, He was working toward righteousness. The men referred to in these verses are us. We should use these traits to become equipped for every good work. No one will manage us, there is no one to “make” us do it; Jesus (our leader) has given us examples to follow. As sinners, it is easy to fall away from the teachings, no one really knows when we fall and there is no one to discipline us. Our coach and our leader, who is there all of time, is God. He is the one who inspired the scripture and sent His Son to be our savior. We need to embrace the One whom we call “teacher”; He is the one that makes it all right in our Father’s eyes.

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