God places a premium on character and faithfulness, not talent and ability. Man may commit to talent, but God looks for something entirely different in his selection process for today’s leaders. Learn the Potential Principle for becoming a leader.
I want to dispel a myth. Character is not essential to leadership. Hitler was a very evil leader with many leadership qualities. There have been many leaders that came up way short on the character scale. So it is possible to lead without character. But character is what makes you a leader worth following. Your gifts, talents, and abilities may have great potential, but it is your character that will determine your legacy. It is extremely important to give great attention to who you are on the inside.
We have a couple of different summer camps and a college-age internship that we operate out of our ministry each year. I am heavily involved in some of these. One that I am particularly passionate about is our internship called Applied Life Leaders Academy. The interns live in dorms on our campus and for 9 months we immerse them in the things of God in an attempt to help mature and prepare them for the road of adulthood. This program involves much teaching in the classroom and a lot of mentoring. At the end of the program each year is graduation and the interns are given an opportunity to share and appreciate God for what has happened in their lives. It’s funny, even though our classes and lectures are amazing and powerful, you rarely hear interns mention them. What you hear interns talk about is the influence of their leaders. They specifically mention the character and lifestyle of their leaders.
I wanted to point this out for a reason. Too often we put importance on the wrong things. We put our attention on people’s ability, giftedness, talent, and intelligence. To be a leader worth following requires one area that must take precedence over these all. CHARACTER! Character is the will to do what’s right even when it’s hard. Character is about will because it requires a willingness to make tough decisions-decisions that sometimes run contrary to emotion, popularity, and current trends. Having the will to do what’s right requires that you determine what’s right before the struggle to do what’s right ensues. Leading with character requires a series of predecisions. A leader worth following must determine ahead of time what is nonnegotiable as it relates to right and wrong. Wrong is always wrong and right will always be right!
I want to motivate you to be a leader that leaves a legacy worth following. In other words, you are practicing what you preach. If you want to really influence your generation, don’t get caught up in all the hype and glitter. Not all that glitters is gold. What is underneath is what truly matters.