How Important Is Character In Leadership?

There was a recent study that suggested that power increases “moral hypocrisy.” That giving a person power makes that person feel entitled and causes a disconnect in their judgment. It also says that those in high-power positions tend to judge morality of others while not practicing what they preach.

As if everyone NOT in power practices what they preach.

Though I don’t agree completely with the study I will say this: character is a necessity in leadership.

The Necessity of Character

I didn’t agree with the study because the media tends to shine a light on those who slip rather than those who don’t. But that’s what drives ratings!

But understand this: everything you build will be built on the bedrock of your character. And if that rock isn’t sturdy everything on it will fall in due time.

One time God comforted King Ahaz because two other kings were trying to destroy him. He said something that truly blew my mind:

“This invasion will never happen, because Aram is no stronger than its capital, Damascus. And Damascus is no stronger than its king, Rezin… Israel is no stronger than its capital, Samaria. And Samaria is no stronger than its king, Pekah son of Remaliah. You do not believe Me? If you want Me to protect you, learn to believe what I say.” ~ Isa. 7:7-9 NLT

In other words, “An empire is no stronger than the character of the person leading it.”

Everything you build will be built on the bedrock of your character!

The Impact of a Leader’s Mistake

The Bible says, “Dead flies will cause even a bottle of perfume to stink! Yes, an ounce of foolishness can outweigh a pound of wisdom and honor.” (Eccl. 10:1 NLT) Ironically, common oil is not so liable to injury that if it were touched it wouldn’t be that contaminated. But the more delicate the oil (or the more highly prized) the more it matters.

In other words, when a leader (or person of influence) falls everyone feels it! In fact, one study suggests that $12 billion of stock value has been destroyed since the Tiger Woods scandal. Wow!

Apart from vision, resources, tenacity, charisma, and etc… and since we as leaders can’t make excuses for ourselves… sound character is a necessity.

That’s why God takes such a LONG time in developing His leaders! He cares more about your character than your career.

What do you think?

About the Author

Mike Holmes is the author of I Shall Raise Thee Up: Ancient Principles for Lasting Greatness. He’s also a blogger that writes on business and leadership development from a Biblical perspective. It’s leadership by the Book! When he’s not writing blogs or speaking he can be found writing bios in the third person. Check out his website/blog here.

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About the Author

I'm Brandon. I'm the Lead Pastor of Grace Hills Church in Northwest Arkansas, which my wife, Angie, and I planted in January of 2012. I previously served as a Pastor at Saddleback Church and still manage Pastor Rick Warren's online, global ministry to pastors, Pastors.com. I also lead a blog about blogging, a blog about social media, and a blog about men's issues. And I've written a book - Rewired, which challenges the church to adopt social media to spread the good news about Jesus. I sometimes take on church website design projects and I coach pastors and leaders as well. I'd love to hear from you!
4 Responses
  1. I go more with fear of God for leaders than character.

    Psalm 127: 1 Unless the LORD builds the house, They labor in vain who build it; Unless the LORD guards the city, The watchman stays awake in vain.

    There are many biblical leaders with strong character but they fall because of great power they forgot to fear.
    .-= Ely Biado´s last blog ..Read Again =-.

    1. Brandon

      It seems to me that for a Christian, character is forged by a fear of God, but I’d say that if leaders fall, it was because of a flaw in their character, not in spite of it.

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