Almost 10 years ago I was attending a leadership council meeting comprised of the “C” suite and associate owners of the business. We had a single goal in mind – to pick a successor for the CEO/President’s position. As we were discussing the traits we wanted to see in the next leader, certain traits went up on the easels in each of our working groups. However, none of the lists raised as much controversy as the one that was crafted in my group.
Imagine for a moment, being the youngest partner in the company (by a good 6-10 years) and then coming out with a bold statement that what I wanted was someone to lead the company that was:
TRAITS OF GREAT LEADERS (1 Tim 3:2-3)
- Above Reproach – without blame or fault.
- The Husband of One Wife – not having affairs
- Temperate – moderate or self-restrained
- Prudent – wise or judicious in practical affairs
- Respectable – of good social standing and having a positive reputation
- Hospitable – receiving or treating guests or strangers warmly and generously
- Able to Teach – more than just a doer or commander
- Not Addicted to Wine – or other substance for that matter. These addiction impact their reputation and judgment.
- Not Pugnacious – not looking to pick a fight.
- Gentle – kind and amiable.
- Peaceable – inclined or disposed to avoid strife or dissension
- Not a Lover of Money – not greedy.
Each of these was challenged as we went around the room. The challenges were mostly based on what was understood to be strong leadership in a growing & aggressive service business. The traits of leaders some of the others wanted included cut-through, profit-obsessed, egoistical megalomaniacs. But, as each was presented and defended… the group could see the merit in these principals and were persuaded to at least include them in the wish-list for a future leader.
During the discussion, there was never a mention of where the attributed originated (1 Timothy 3:2-3), but the current CEO did pull me aside and let me know that Jesus wasn’t available for the job!
What’s most striking about this comment to me is that our current CEO understood that importance of Christian core values and where they originated. However, where he fell short was to realize that each of us carry with us the Holy Spirit everyday. While we may not be mature enough in our faith to possess all of these traits right now, The Spirit does and is willing to help us shine the Light of Christ in the workplace.
So, the next time you’re pursuing a promotion, ask yourself… have you fulfilled the traits of a great leader? What must you do today to better prepare yourself for your next role? What impression would you like to make when the next group of people are looking to select the next CEO?
May God richly bless you and your business!