What makes a good leader?

Recently, one of our young people interviewed me for a school project on leadership—specifically, what does it take to be a good leader? I think this is an important question, because in different ways and at different times we all need to show good leadership in our lives, and we can all use a reminder of a few key ways we can be a Christ-like leader.

A Christ-like leader must be focused on Jesus, and point others toward Him. In 1 Corinthians 11:1, Paul reminds his readers to “follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.” We will never be perfect leaders, but Christ is. If we are motivated by a desire to constantly seek him, and we reflect that to those we lead, we are on the right track.

A Christ-like leader must be humble. Philippians 2 teaches us to “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves.” We must strive to emulate the attitude of Christ—he is God himself, and yet he showed astounding humility in his earthly life. He spent time with the lowly, did not accumulate wealth, and always extended love and compassion.

A Christ-like leader must genuinely seek the good of others. The same passage from Philippians says we should value others, “not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.” The servant-hearted attitude of a Christ-like leader means the needs of those they lead are more important than their own. This must be genuine; it is not something which can be faked. We must earnestly desire the good of those we influence above our own.

Do not be discouraged if and when you fall short of this ideal. It is not about being a perfect leader, but about earnestly striving to follow Christ, and encouraging others to do the same.