Monday, March 16, 2015

Leadership is more than Personality and Charisma - Day 15: 100 Days of Leadership


I like my personality. I won’t lie. It’s God-given. It’s unique to me. It makes me who I am. Yes. I like it. Though, here is the thing: Leadership is not about personality.

Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner say, 'Leadership is not about personality; it's about behavior; an observable set of skills and abilities'.

There’s no doubt personality is uniquely a part of a leadership toolbox. I am who God has made me. Though what Kouzes and Posner are saying is that ultimately, your behaviour is what will separate you from a mediocre leader and a great leader. To say it differently, the choices you make in the way you behave and act will ultimately determine your effectiveness as a leader.

I used to think charisma was the crucial gift needed for good leadership; you know, the ability to make people laugh, speak an arousing message to those listening and to have people love me. Well, charisma and personality aren’t everything. Now, of course we shouldn’t throw the baby out with the bath water and suggest that a God-given personality and a charismatic type style of engaging with others is futile, far from it. Though, here’s the key: behaviour trumps charisma. Behaviour also trumps personality.  

Let me clarify, that behaviour is not about whether you ‘behave’ yourself, but rather what Kouzes and Posner suggest, ‘an observable set of skills and abilities’. So good leadership then is not about personality and charisma, but how you utilize skills and abilities to enact change.  

What does the Bible say?


Jonah 1:1-3a - The word of the Lord came to Jonah son of Amittai: “Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me.” But Jonah ran away from the Lord and headed for Tarshish. He went down to Joppa, where he found a ship bound for that port.
What will I do now?
Take a closer look at the story of Jonah. Jonah became a leader of influence when he chose through his behaviour to honour God and preach to the city of Nineveh. What are you doing to ‘utilize skills and abilities to enact change’? What do you need to stop doing?

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