A young lady was chatting with me one day and said "I've decided I want to be a leader, who do I start leading?
I said, "START WITH YOURSELF". If you want to start leading, you must always start with yourself.
Starting with yourself might sound a bit selfish, but I was on an airplane a few months ago and the flight attendant gave her pre-flight safety instructions saying "you have to take care of yourself before you can take care of someone else". A light bulb came on, as I realized how true this was. You can't give what you don't have and you can't teach what you haven't learned. In this situation, putting yourself first, puts you in a position where you can give more effectively, of your time, your encouragement, your resources and your expertise.
Becoming the person others want to follow might involve fine tuning your ability to cast a vision or pulling your socks up in the area of your organizational skills. Starting with yourself equips you with the experience, confidence and integrity you need to be a leader. Start learning and growing yourself, you are with yourself more than anyone else.
Allow God to develop your character. Our character is basically what we do over and over. It is what other people have come to expect of us, like being on time, for example. If we are always on time for everything, people naturally come to expect that of us. They know they can count on us in this area. So punctuality becomes one of the traits of our character. In the same way, if we are always late, a lack of punctuality becomes part of our character. We must remember that character is developed by habits, and changes in character come about by developing new habits.
A person who has not developed character will act one way when in church with Christian friends and another way when at home with the family.
You and I may have a gift that can take us places that our character cannot keep us. Our character is seen in how much strength we have to do the right thing even when we don't feel like doing it or don't want to do it. Character is revealed by what we do when nobody is watching.
One test of our character is, will we treat somebody right who is not treating us right? Will we bless someone who is not blessing us - or someone who is even cursing us?
Over the past several years in ministry I have had many opportunities to get offended with people. Each time I was struggling, the Lord would remind me of 1 Corinthians 13 - the love chapter. It says things like, love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil..... I soon realized after reading this chapter that I wasn't operating in the God kind of love towards these people, and that I needed to change.
1 Peter 2: 22-23 "Who committed no sin, nor was deceit found in His mouth, who when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously.
Characteristics of a Leader:
1) Spiritual Life - A leader must develop a deep personal relationship with God & put Him first place.
2) Personal Life - What goes on in our personal life will determine what comes forth in our professional life. What happens in private always has an effect upon what happens in public.
3) Social Life - What a leader chooses for entertainment - what we read, what we do for fun and relaxation, what we talk about with friends and family, what we watch on the movie, TV or computer screen - shows our character. Jesus told His followers, be careful what you hear. Garbage in, garbage out!
4. Marital and Family Life - Treat your spouse right, take care of family responsibilities, spend time with your children, get your priorities straight, and assure that your sex life is healthy and keep your home in order. 1 Timothy 3:1-5
5. Financial Life - As leaders, we should pay our bills on time. We should not be in debt. This does not mean we can never purchase anything that requires payments, but it does mean that we should not live on plastic and spend more than we make. A spiritual leader must be a tither and a giver beyond the tithe. We must be generous and willing to meet needs as God gives us the opportunity.
6. Speech - A leader must speak the truth.
7. Integrity - Character in dealing with others. We must keep our word.
How will you know when you have become a leader?
Turn around and see if anyone is following you!