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A Leadership Interview

Posted by Ron Edmondson on March 17, 2012

I am frequently interviewed by students who are in leadership classes. Occasionally, I feel the questions may be of interest to others. Recently, a Christian student in Ohio asked me these questions:

What makes a good leader?

The ability to attract people to follow and the vision, discipline, and wisdom to take them somewhere. Good leaders are willing to sacrifice of themselves to help people accomplish something of value, which they may not be willing or know how to do on their own.

How have you grown as a leader over your lifetime?

Experience, both good and bad and the investment of others in my life. I’m a wisdom seeker.

What mentor has influenced you most and why?

Without a doubt, Jesus. He is the ultimate leader. His principles of servitude, intentionality and vision are unmatched. In an earthly sense, my high school principal took a special interest in me while I served as president of the student body my senior year.

How important is character in leadership?

I’m not sure one can separate the two. I certainly understand most of the definitions for leadership would allow a person of poor character to be called a leader, but my personal opinions won’t allow it. Certainly to be “great” leadership, one would need to desire to be a person of noble character.

What would be your advice to me as to how I can grow as a leader?

The best advice I can give is to find something to lead. Volunteer at church or in the community. Most organizations need more willing leaders and the best way to learn leadership is to do it. Also, do what you are doing now. Become an intentional wisdom-seeker. Surround yourself with people who you believe are leading well. Ask a good leader to mentor you. Read the books and blogs that talk about leadership.

What should I avoid to be a good leader?

Avoid the temptation to settle for mediocre. It’s easy to lead the mundane, lackluster, or half-hearted efforts. Leading at higher levels is hard. It’s messy, because it involves change, risk, and fear. Push through those things, ground yourself in Scripture and in accountability to others, build discipline in your life, and you’ll keep improving as a leader.

How would you have answered these questions?

Dave Kraft would add  the essentiality of being Gospel centered…seeking to be led by Him, empowered by Him and honoring Him in every leadership task and decision. Leadership is all about Jesus and not all about me!



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Reader Comments (1)

I like the above thoughts and agree with them. I would add these few things to a definition of a leader (I run a non-profit organization that mentors 300 under-served youth through 100 high school mentors at camps, year round mentoring and educational day camps):
1. A leader takes ownership of the outcome. When a project fails, they must figure out why. When it succeeds, great leaders reward their team. They don't have to do everything, but they must make sure everything gets done.
2. Leaders must confront redemptively. They must not let younger, inexperienced leaders settle for doing 2nd rate work or effort. This requires discernment, prayer, and courage to deal with what may be "little things" that make a big difference. Handling conflict in a way that builds intimacy is a sign you are growing up as a leader.
3. Leaders must "go slow to go faster." Sometimes the most important task a leader must do is to be quiet and listen. For task focused people like me, this is one of the things I struggle to do most.

August 15, 2013 | Unregistered Commenternewlifeben

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