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By Rod Denton, Equipping The Next Generation


Qualities of a Great Leader, Part 1: Six Foundational Qualities

This is the first installment of a 4-part series about great leaders that took me 36 years to write. Here is the outline of the 30 leadership qualities I will cover:

  1. Six Foundational Qualities
  2. Five Spiritual Qualities
  3. Two Relational Qualities
  4. Seventeen Essential Leadership Qualities

When God wants to get something done, He finds a person, but not just any person. He looks for a person with certain qualities.

Consider the following examples:

  1. But select capable men from all the people—men who fear God, trustworthy men who hate dishonest gain—and appoint them as officials over thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens. Exodus 18:21.  Jethro to Moses (also Deuteronomy 1:9-13)
  2. Brothers choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. Acts 6:3.  The 12 Apostles to all the disciples
  3. And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others. 2 Timothy 2:2. Paul to Timothy.
  4. Elders and Deacons Paul to Timothy – 1 Timothy 3:1-13. Paul to Titus – Titus 1:5-9.

Even in the world of human endeavour, there are many examples of leaders who had a clear picture of those that they wanted to join with them on their great adventures.

Sir Ernest Shackleton, the great Antarctic explorer once placed this advertisement in a London paper.

“Men wanted for hazardous journey. Small wages, bitter cold, long months of complete darkness, constant danger, safe return doubtful. Honor and recognition in case of success.”

They all returned to their homes safely, and were given honor and recognition.

The Italian, Garibaldi, set out to liberate his country from the clutches of bad government. While enlisting men to join forces with him he was often asked, “What’s going to be in this for me?” He would answer, “No pay, no rank, no residences. I will offer you hunger, thirst, forced marches, and even death.” And then he would make this appeal. “Let him who loves his country with his heart and not only with his lips, follow me.” History reveals Garibaldi recruited an army that placed the worthiness of its cause above its temporal comforts and though many gave their lives, they also freed their land.



Great leaders who achieve great things
are characterised by certain qualities.

Ever since I accepted a calling into full time Christian ministry in 1980, the greatest issue upon which I have focused is “who is the person God uses?” I wanted to become that person and I wanted to develop leaders who would become such people. Now many years later, I am aware of a significant number of men and women with whom I have served, who are now scattered around the globe, being used mightily by God. As I reflected, I have noted key qualities that I have found to characterise people who are making an impact with their lives.


Foundational Qualities

1. Servanthood

  • Those who wish to be great among you must be your servant. Mark 10:42
  • The Son of Man came not to be served, but to serve and to give His life as a ransom for many. Matthew 20:28
  • Don’t promote on potential or qualifications, promote on performance and heart.


2. Obedience

  • If you love Me, you will obey Me.   John 14:15, 21, 23
  • An obedient heart reflects a teachable spirit.
    • Don’t give a person authority until they have come under authority.
    • Don’t appoint a person to lead until they have learned to follow.


3. Humility

  • Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that He may lift you up in due time.  1 Peter 5:6
  • God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. James 4:6
  • And being found in appearance as a man He humbled Himself and became obedient to death – even death on a cross. Philippians 2:8


4. Love

  • Teacher, which is the greatest commandment… Jesus replied, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind… and love your neighbour as yourself.” Matthew 36:39


5. Availability

  • So they left everything and followed Him. Luke 5:11
  • “If there is anything of power in the Salvation Army today, it is because God has had all the adoration of my heart, all the power of my will, and all the influence of my life." General William Booth.


6. Faithfulness

  • I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do. John 17:4
  • Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful. 1 Corinthians 4:2



Do you have these qualities? Which ones are strongest? Weakest? What step can you take today to develop one of these leadership areas?

In my next post, we will look at five spiritual qualities that great leaders have.


This article was originally published here: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/qualities-leadera-paper-took-36-years-write-denton-rod


rod dentonABOUT THE AUTHOR: Rod Denton has served as a pastor and as a teacher in the development of emerging leaders in Australia and 9 different countries across Asia with Asian Access. He now serves as a consultant for Rod Denton Equipping The Next Generation. Rod also serves part time as the Mission's Resource Consultant with the Salvation Army. More information: www.roddentoneng.com.au

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