Maybe you’re like me. I’ve been in leadership so long and read so many books and articles, that I know what the basic leadership qualities are. But as you know, almost all these qualities are illustrated in the Scriptures with stories that are put there to help us learn about them from God’s perspective.
So here are ten leadership qualities that are illustrated by biblical characters. This might help you in your small group study, or your own reading, to know which characters illustrate clearly which qualities.
1. The leadership quality of faith is illustrated in the life of Abraham. Abraham was called the Father of Faith. The Scriptures say that against all hope, in hope Abraham believed. If you’re having a faith challenge, study his life.
2. The leadership quality of humility is demonstrated by the life of Moses. Moses is said to be the most humble person who ever lived. And yet I don’t think anyone would describe him as weak. Moses helps you discover that humility is not denying the power you have, but rather acknowledging that it comes through you, not from you.
3. The leadership quality of integrity is expressed in the life of Joseph. Joseph is a great example of leadership ability winning over adversity. He refused to compromise himself with his boss’s wife. That’s called integrity.
4. The leadership quality of courage is illustrated by Esther. While women have never fared too well in the light of religion, the Scriptures present them as strong, brave, and very courageous. When you’re looking for an illustration of courage from a woman’s perspective, look at Esther.
5. The leadership quality of decisiveness can be found in the life of Joshua. Joshua was a leader in training. His mentor was Moses. When Moses died, he was pushed to the front and he demonstrated decisiveness when he said, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”
6. The leadership quality of optimism is demonstrated in the life of David. We all know the story of David and Goliath. And yet few of us realize that David wasn’t going to be allowed to fight Goliath at all until he rehearsed the history and what he’d been able to achieve. He believed that past performance could predict future outcomes. He was certainly an optimist when he took a handful of stones and a sling-shot to face Goliath, armed with new technology.
7. The leadership quality of wisdom was illustrated in the life of Solomon. God gave Solomon the choice of anything he wanted. Instead of a long life with money, he chose wisdom, the kind of wisdom he would need to lead the people. Leaders who need wisdom would do well to study the life and sayings of Solomon, both his successes and his many failures.
8. The leadership quality of enthusiasm was expressed in the life of the apostle Peter. Read 1st and 2nd Peter and even the language gives you some sense of the enthusiasm with which he lived his life. Enthusiasm is a great equalizer. Without it, great talent and even great plans can die.
9. The leadership quality of passion was demonstrated by the life of Paul. The apostle Paul was a great man of passion. His passion was to know and love Jesus Christ and to live life in light of that. Leaders must have passion, the willingness to suffer for a cause that is all out of proportion to the responsibility of others. If you’re looking to get your passion pumped up, study the life of Paul.
10. The leadership quality of vision is exemplified in the life of John. The apostle John had a vision for the future; a future where there will be no more sorrow or tears, no more pain, or separation, or death. If you’re looking to cast a greater vision than what you can see at the moment, John would be a great study.
Lest you think the Scriptures are outdated and don’t relate to real life, remember, that all the great qualities are illustrated in the lives of these ordinary people who lived well during their times. It’s the same challenge you and I have as leaders; to live well where we are, in this moment.