I read an article recently about the importance of leading people from your heart and with your heart. It’s like the old adage: “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” Certainly, skills of the trade matter – but they are usually not at the top of the list of what people are looking for in their leader. Sometimes you never get a chance to use the skills of the trade if those who follow discern that you heart is not in the right place.
So, in Christian circles, what are followers looking for in their leader – what are the traits of the heart that need to be in place. According to Dan Reiland, there are five that are most important:
1.) Authentic faith. People will follow your leadership when they see that you trust God. They want to know that your trust in God has been tested and will be there in good times and difficult seasons.
2.) Genuine love. Those who follow want to know – often by clear demonstration, not mere words – that their leader truly loves them and cares about them.
3.) A disposition of grace. People want to follow leaders who dispense grace in massive quantities. Grace must be the spirit by which we lead people.
4.) Trustworthy character. People will follow leaders that demonstrate personal character and integrity. The quickest way to diminish your influence as a leader is to have a failure in this area.
5.) Being filled with hope. Followers want to know that their leaders believe the gospel and have a high degree of trust in the Lord’s promises.
Interestingly enough, (and this is not a defense of sub-par performance) leaders will accept slightly sub-par performance from a leader when they are convinced that his or her heart is in this right place.
When you are called upon to lead, make sure you lead from the heart.