What great leaders consistently do

By Jim LaDoux
Listed below are the traits and practices I see exemplary leaders consistently demonstrate. Consider which traits you model well and which ones may need further attention and improvement.

1 | Great leaders define reality.

Author Warren Bennie is known for saying that the first task of a leader is to define reality.  This involves assessing situations, noticing what's working and what's not, what's paid attention to and what isn't, what assets are available and shortcomings exist. Good leaders don’t stick their head in the sand. They embrace their opportunities and face problems head on when dealing with people, programs, processes, and practices.  They ask artful questions and take time to notice and interpret what's actually going on.

2 | Great leaders view situations bi-focally.

Effective leaders see situations from a balcony viewpoint as well as from the street level. They paint a picture of a preferred future while also paying attention to the present moment and the next faithful steps. Thinking bi-focally allows leaders to alternate from keeping the big picture in mind as they navigate the logistics of their next faithful steps.

3 | Great leaders build trust and transparency.

Leaders who cultivate trust build up others, schedule time with their team, provide opportunities for people to grow. They keep their word, live out of their commitments, and squash gossip and triangulation. They create a culture of trust as they model trust and extend trust to others.

4 | Great leaders delegate.

Great leaders share ministry by sharing power, responsibility, and authority. They don’t try to do it all themselves and are not threatened when someone else can do a ministry better than they can. Great leaders recognize that delegating tasks to others lightens their load so that they can use their greatest gifts more often.

5 | Great leaders keep the main thing the main thing.

Great leaders help people connect what they do with what matters most - the mission, the core values, and where the organization is going. They recognize that good is the enemy of great and guard against the temptation to say yes to every good idea.

6 | Great leaders make difficult decisions.

Great leaders welcome others into the decision making process and the execution of ministry. They welcome input. The Apostles had the group select seven godly men to take on this task. Although they themselves posed the solution, they welcomed the input from the others to choose the seven.

7| Great leaders set norms and standards that reinforce culture.

Great leader strive for clarity related to the organization's mission, its values, its direction,  and the roles that each contributor plays.  They also clearly define what is acceptable and what is not which shows up in meeting agendas, what's measured, and what's celebrated.


  1. Which traits listed above to you consistently embody?
  2. Which traits do you need to pay closer attention to?
  3. Are there other traits you believe are essential for exercising great leadership?
  4. What's one thing you can do this week to improve your leadership?
Posted in

No Comments