Some leaders attract followers – others attract leaders. And still others have the uncanny ability to turn followers INTO leaders. So, what kind of leader are you? Test yourself with this list of qualities that I consider to be signs that you are a ‘Leader of Leaders.’
#1 Leaders are INSPIRED by your LIFE.
If you are a leader of leaders, your apparent success may be inspiring; but even more inspiring is your life! Leaders are not only impressed by what you’ve built, but by your demeanour (your attitude, consistency and character) during the building. Your wisdom – when confronted with overwhelming and perplexing circumstances – along with your attitude toward others, your marriage and family, and the ongoing fruit of your life, will all challenge others that they too can live their lives well. You stretch and inspire other leaders through your big capacity. They believe that If you can absorb the pressure, stay healthy and continue to grow, so too can they.
#2 Leaders are STRENGTHENED by your CONSISTENCY.
If you are a leader of leaders, it means that you have kept turning up, and proven resilience against impossible odds. You have never allowed the difficulty, opposition or pain (of leadership) to poison your spirit. You’ve truly modeled longevity and just as the apostle Paul put it in his letter to the Ephesians: ‘..having done all, you are still standing’. You inspire others that they too can hold fast in the battle with an unquenchable spirit – a spirit that has weathered the storms, but remained un-weathered.
#3 Leaders are CURIOUS about the ‘secret’ to your SUCCESS.
A leader of leaders sparks curiosity and people want to know…how do you do it? What makes you tick? Why do you do it that way? People will travel from afar to come and see it for themselves, or to get one opportunity to quiz you over a coffee. There’s just something a little different about you. Of course, if nothing you do stands out from the rest, then you will never spark curiosity. But an innovative leader has ideas, peculiarities, and methods that make others inquisitive. It is my observation that curious people attract curious people. As a kid, my siblings always called me “nosy” because I was always asking questions – I always wanted to know! That nosy-ness has helped frame the way I still live and lead today. My experience with other leaders is that a true leader of leaders will ask the most questions and are the most curious.
#4 Leaders are ENVIOUS of your ACCOMPLISHMENTS.
Perhaps we all define success differently, but your accomplishments are not something to be ashamed of. Only insecure or mean- spirited people are critical of genuine God-breathed success. Not all envy is evil. In fact, the Amplified bible translates ‘blessed’ as ‘happy, fortunate, and to be envied.’ This is not the type of envy or jealousy that eats people up on the inside; but a righteous envy that inspires others toward greater heights, and compels them to live their own lives of significance.
#5 Leaders are ASTOUNDED by your OPENNESS.
If you are a leader of leaders, then you are not ‘guarded’ but have a healthy mix of wisdom about when to speak and when to hold your peace. You avoid the gossip train and don’t try to prove your leadership by having to know everything about everyone. You have nothing to hide and your authenticity makes you easy to follow. You are a locked vault when it comes to confidentiality, but an open book when it comes to accountability and transparency. Other leaders can follow someone who is genuine, unguarded and at times can even laugh at themselves. Such leaders are not ‘precious’ and over sensitive. People do not have to tip toe around you, and you are more likely to put a room at ease than to stiffen everybody up. You often lead with your smile and are quick to show gratitude to those who serve.
#6 Leaders are WARMED by your HUMILITY.
As a leader of leaders you are not filled with your own importance and your feet are still firmly placed on the ground. You have a quiet confidence that emanates a well-rounded security; yet you are self-effacing and aware of your own humanity. You have time for people. And though you have clearly matured, are more seasoned and perhaps your time is now in higher demand – to those who have known you a long time you are still the person they always knew. When people meet you in a cafe or on the street, they are impressed with just how down-to-earth you are. You are consistently and quietly generous and polite to waiters, or those who serve you in the gas station and supermarket. Other leaders will follow ‘real-deal, genuinely humble leaders’ quicker than a know-it-all who is filled with their own importance. Prominent people need to be wise about security, but bodyguards or an entourage is never as impressive as a highly successful leader who simply carries themself with genuine confidence, humility and authenticity.
#7 Leaders are SECURE about your MOTIVES.
It is appealing to others that your commitment to them goes beyond building your own world, and that you are genuinely committed to enhancing their world. You encourage others to dream big dreams, and your interest is clearly not for the sake of ‘building empires’. While you may be fiercely committed to your own God-given vision, and clearly intentional in your own call, your commitment to other leaders is unselfish and unfettered by personal motive or agenda. Many may want to join your network, come under your umbrella or lean into your leadership and vision – but they can sense that your interest in them goes far beyond yourself.
#8 Leaders are COMMITTED to your PROTECTION.
If you are a leader of leaders, you will naturally attract loyalty. Though opposition may come, you will forever be surrounded by people who have got your back. However, not everyone is going to like you – just like not everyone liked Jesus. Religious people were in fact the most outspoken against the Saviour. And while that still might be true for you and me, and even while the silence of some of your peers may roar loudly; there are plenty of leaders who will stand with you in the trenches, and protect your credibility and character. You never have to demand respect or honour, because you naturally attract it and you carry it with dignity and class. You also honour those above, beside, and below you – always recognising that honour is a two way street. You attract loyalty because you’ve always lifted the ceilings for others and are quick to recommend and promote their cause, as well as your own.
#9 Leaders are BETTER because of your INFLUENCE.
Leaders of leaders leave an imprint on others and many will testify that they are better leaders simply because of you. Those who lean into you and your leadership have ‘caught’ your spirit and the fruit of that can be seen in and through their endeavours. The impact of your life on others has sparked health, momentum and growth; and while you don’t always need the credit, your imprint and influence is clear to see.
#10 Leaders are TESTIMONY to your LEGACY.
“Instead of Your fathers shall be Your sons,
Whom YOU shall make princes in all the earth.”
Psalms 45:16 (my emphasis).
Of course, a true leader of leaders does not only attract other leaders, but they have a long-proven track record of raising up even more leaders. They become a spiritual ‘mum’ or ‘dad’ to others who may even surpass them in stature and measure – and their ‘ceilings’ becomes another generation’s floor.
You see, the greatest testimony to a true LEADER OF LEADERS, is found in the honour of watching your leadership legacy lived out by the next generation of leaders of leaders.