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Follow to Lead


Have you ever wondered if you were a great leader? There are many great characteristics to a wonderful leader and there are many bad characteristics to a toxic leader. I think the good ones can be seen very easily but sometimes the toxic ones are not as easy to notice. They can appear to be a normal or good quality if you are not aware of the underlying effects that come from toxic leadership.

1. They do not allow others to grow.

2. They rarely demonstrate the fruit of the Spirit. Paul notes those specific attributes in Galatians 5:22-23: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness, and self-control. You won’t see them much in toxic leaders.

3. They seek a minimalist structure of accountability. Indeed, if they could get away with it, they would operate in a totally autocratic fashion, with heavy, topdown leadership.

4. They expect behavior of others they don’t expect of themselves. “Do as I say, not as I do.”

5. They see almost everyone else as inferior to themselves. You will hear them criticizing other leaders while building themselves up.

6. They show favoritism. It is clear that they have a favored few while they marginalize the rest.

7. They have frequent anger outbursts. This behavior takes place when they don’t get their way.

8. They say one thing to some people, but different things to others. This is a

soft way of saying they lie.

9. They seek to dismiss or marginalize people before they attempt to develop them. People are means to their ends; they see them as projects, not God’s people who need mentoring and developing.

10. They are manipulative. Their most common tactic is using partial truths to get their way.

11. They lack transparency. Autocratic leaders are rarely transparent. If they get caught abusing their power, they may have to forfeit it.

12. They do not allow for pushback or disagreement. When someone does disagree, he or she becomes the victim of the leader’s anger and marginalization.

13. They surround themselves with sycophants. Their inner circle thus often includes close friends and family members, as well as a host of “yes people.”

14. They communicate poorly. In essence, any clarity of communication would reveal their autocratic behavior, so they keep their communications unintelligible and obtuse.

15. They are self-absorbed. In fact, they would unlikely see themselves in any of these symptoms.

The greatest quality one can learn about being a leader is that in order to lead one must follow. We must follow after Christ the same way in order for God to place us in a leadership role for His kingdom. We must be kingdom minded. We have to submit ourselves to Jesus Christ and follow after Him. Be the leader that God called you to be!

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