Leadership Tests for Tomorrow’s Leaders

Leadership Tests for Tomorrow’s Leaders

There are many young people with great leadership potential who disqualify themselves before their time. Leadership, good leadership, is the result of developing good character. Being a teachable follower is a good indication that you will become a teachable leader. This means staying humble, because, “humility comes before honor.”Pr. 18:12
The following is a test of biblical standards for a future leader. There are other factors, to be sure, but the following five are foundational.
Ask yourself:
  1. How do I treat those who are in leadership over me now?  Scripture tells us that ’ … there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.” Rom. 13:1  This can be challenging at times, when, for example, our boss or teacher is harsh and demanding. But that very challenge can develop patience and humility in you. A real test is when you’re in a group who is bashing someone in authority and mentally, you agree with their criticism. Let your character be strengthened by resisting the temptation to join in. If asked for your opinion, say something positive. This won’t insure immunity from criticism when you are a leader, but you won’t have lots of negativity on you when you move into your career.
  2. How much do I honor my fathers and mothers? “Honor your father and mother. Then you will live a long, full life in the land the LORD your God is giving you. Ex. 20: 12  This attitude is so needed today, because our culture worships youth. If something isn’t young and new, it is discarded. When this happens, a new generation cuts themselves off from the treasures of wisdom.  In the East, elders are greatly valued for their experience and wisdom, and are sought out by the young and inexperienced. Here in the West, arrogance towards the older ones may be normal for youth, but it isn’t a strength. In fact, it is a great weakness that cuts a generation off from solutions and practices that make life better. This can even apply to former employers or professors. Honoring them, despite their human weakness and even poor leadership, means appreciating the good things you received from them, and speaking about them with respect.
  3. How well do I keep a confidence? If you want people to trust you, be trust worthy. If someone tells you something in confidence, consider it a sacred thing. Prov. 11:13 says, “A gossip betrays a confidence, but a trustworthy person keeps a secret.”  If you envision yourself one day holding a position of great responsibility, practice being responsible now. That includes refusing to gossip. If someone tells you something, assume they do not want you to share it with anyone. Keeping confidence also includes keeping your word. If you say you are going to do something, do it. If you can’t keep your word, communicate with those involved about it.
  4. How well do I serve? Jesus said,  “You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles LORD it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Mark 10:42-45 If the greatest Leader of all came to serve, then this should be the hallmark of our leadership. True service puts others first. So too, true leadership is not about being in control but about being committed to the success and wellbeing of others. You can develop a servant attitude right now. It will not only strengthen your character, but will establish in you a servant leader’s heart.
  5. How am I influencing others? Another idol in the West, besides youth, is celebrity. We have confused being famous with being a good leader. Those in positions of great visibility influence many, but not always in a good direction. Jesus warned us, “If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.” Matt. 18:6  Good leaders steward their influence. Look around your life to see who is watching you. Younger friends, co-workers, classmates are already being influenced by your words and attitudes. Steward this great responsibility by demonstrating integrity, faithfulness and courage. If you make this your practice, then when greater responsibility is placed on you, you will have already developed this important awareness.

There will be many other tests on the road to great leadership. But those who follow the Greatest Leader of all can become like Him.