Your Leadership List


I’ve been in plenty of job interview situations, both as the interviewer and the applicant. You know the scenario—conference room with a big table, three or four people sitting stiffly (of which two are bored), professional people in professional attire (with uncomfortable shoes and buttoned up collars), fresh notepads and sharpened pencils, and cheat sheets with lists of questions. After the niceties of offering water or coffee, asking attendees if all are comfortable (which they’re usually not, but they lie), and performing the mandatory chit-chat, the drilling begins (this somehow sounds like the exact scenario of my last root canal). The end goal for the hiring party on this journey is to mine the intellect, experience, and aptitude of the candidate, determining whether he or she has the necessary skills and values to be a good fit for the organization and the position. Inevitably, the dialogue jumps to a list of qualities or personal characteristics that the candidate touts as owning to some over-the-top degree.

Because the North American Baptist Conference is searching for a new executive director, I’ve been thinking about that list of qualities or personal characteristics that are essential for one who will lead a spiritual organization in today’s milieu of quickly changing religious and non-profit culture. Forbes broadcasted a list of their top ten characteristics. They included honesty, ability to delegate, communication, sense of humor, confidence, positive attitude, creativity, intuition, ability to inspire, and commitment. Other writers and groups have published similar lists. You perhaps have your own list.

I like these lists. They help me reflect on my own leadership abilities and what qualities I bring to the team in which I work. They help me isolate areas of growth and transformation. But these lists also force me to reflect on the qualities that don’t make the grade.

One quality never on the interview list, but that I think is essential for spiritual leaders, is the quality of . . . ready for this one

. . . repentance. With repentance, the transformative work of the Holy Spirit moves leaders toward greater oneness with Christ who then desire God’s best for people and organizations. In this oneness, leaders can direct others toward true spiritual ends. Without repentance, leaders accumulate the habits and baggage of sin that hinders their ability to help shape others.

Charles Finney wrote this about repentance:

Repentance is simply and precisely a change of mind. The original term denotes, a thinking again—a turning of the mind—as when one finds himself going wrong and turns about to pursue the opposite course. The term, when applied to evangelical repentance, means, not merely a turning of the mind, but a change of the entire purposes of action, change in the entire attitude of the will . . . [it] is the mind turning away from selfish attitudes to benevolent—from being selfish to being really benevolent.

So sit yourself down in your own inner interview room and ask yourself whether you are continuing to develop the qualities of a good leader. Are you honest? Do you delegate well? Do you seek to communicate well? Do you inspire others? Then, ask yourself the more important spiritual leadership question. Is there anything in your life from which you must repent—turn your mind and will—from today?

May God truly lead you as you lead others.

Dan Hamil, Ed.D.
Executive Director (Interim)
North American Baptists, Inc.

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