Quotes about Leadership-Character


Do you wish to rise? Begin by descending. You plan a tower that will pierce the clouds? Lay first the foundation of humility.


Spiritual leadership is not won by promotion, but by prayers and tears. It is attained by much heart-searching and humbling before God; by self-surrender, a courageous sacrifice of every idol, a bold uncompromising, and uncomplaining embracing of the cross, and by an eternal, unfaltering looking unto Jesus crucified. This is a great price, but it must be unflinchingly paid by him who would be a real spiritual leader of men, a leader whose power is recognized and felt in heaven, on earth and in hell.  


But the greater [a person] appears to be; the more humble he ought to be, and the more ready to seek the common good in preference to his own.


The fact is, the higher up we find ourselves in terms of power, influence, and wealth – the more people look up to us – the more vulnerable we are to pride and self-deceit, and the more prone we are to be blind to our spiritual needs and deficiencies. Once we are established in a position of influence, we have a reputation to maintain. We have a lot to lose if we get honest about our real spiritual needs. For most of us, the subtle encroachment of pride is more dangerous, and more likely to render us useless to God and others, than any other kind of failure.


A leader should be able to communicate in a nonargumentative, nondefensive and nonthreatening way – demonstrating gentleness, patience and teachability without compromising the message of the Word of God.


God has not given us one set of leadership principles for marriage relationships, another set for biological family relationships, and yet another for relationships in the larger (church) family. Though each sphere of influence broadens in terms of function and responsibility, the basic leadership principles are the same. A husband is to be a servant-leader to his wife, a father is to be a servant-leader in his family, and elders/overseers are to be servant-leaders in the family of God.


According to Scripture, virtually everything that truly qualifies a person for leadership is directly related to character. It’s not about style, status, personal charisma, clout, or worldly measurements of success. Integrity is the main issue that makes the difference between a good leader and a bad one.


Character is indispensable to credibility, and credibility is essential to leadership.


Leaders of character produce organizations of character because character, like conviction, is infectious. Followers are drawn to those whose character attracts them as something they want for themselves.


Forgiveness does not restore credibility, and character must be seen as something that can be lost far easier than gained, much less restored.


It is very rare for the spirituality of a group of Christians to exceed that of its leaders (John Benton).


Elders “[lord] it over those allotted to [their] charge” (1 Pet. 5:3) when they think the church is there to serve them, place demands on the church that are unprofitable, desire personal fame and glory from the ministry, add or subtract from Scripture making their word more important, dominate others through power and intimidation, sinfully use the church, have a haughty demand for compliance or drive the church versus leading the church.


Do not desire to be the principal man in the church. Be lowly. Be humble. The best man in the church is the man who is willing to be a doormat for all to wipe their boots on, the brother who does not mind what happens to him at all, so long as God is glorified.


A true and safe leader is likely to be one who has no desire to lead, but is forced into a position of leadership by the inward pressure of the Holy Spirit and the press of the external situation.


A ministry mentor, John MacArthur, has said to me on numerous occasions that “when a man falls, he doesn’t fall far.” In other words, a serious breach of leadership integrity does not occur in a vacuum. Men who have, by the grace of God, forged a pattern of moral veracity are not suddenly seduced by a life of lies and hypocrisy. Betrayal of this sort slowly percolates out of the heart over time with a host of smaller, virtually undetected compromises. When an integrity scandal breaks, the fall of that leader is more like a short hop!


Spiritual credibility springs from a holy and pure life. Righteousness may not get the popular vote, but it should have no rivals in the preparation of an effective leader. From the pulpit to the pew, nothing is more stabilizing, more admirable, more compelling among the leadership qualifications than our personal holiness.


In spite of grand accomplishments and a large following, a leader without character is just another image, a cultural icon for the moment that is sure to crash and burn, replaced by tomorrow’s new and improved version.

Recommended Books

Exemplary Spiritual Leadership: Facing the Challenges, Escaping the Dangers

Jerry Wragg

Spiritual Leadership: Principles of Excellence For Every Believer

Oswald Sanders

Elders and Leaders: God’s Plan for Leading the Church

Gene Getz

The Conviction to Lead: 25 Principles for Leadership

Albert Mohler