The Heart of A Leader

True leadership always begins with the inner person.”

John Maxwell
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I watched my teacher as she made her way from across the room, stopping at each group to give out instructions. When she paused beside my group, she looked at me and said, “Beth, I want you to be the leader of your group.”

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Not again, this happened over and over as I made my way through elementary and middle school. By high school, I’d just go ahead and volunteer to be the leader when the teacher asked, whether I wanted to or not. It was better than sitting in that awkward silence while the other group members looked like a herd of Meerkats trying to look anywhere but at the teacher.

You may have heard the saying “He/She is a born leader.” Sounds good, but I agree with John Maxwell when he said, “True leadership always begins with the inner person.” The keyword to me is “Begins.”

In my case, a much smarter student was present in the group, but I would still be chosen. Why? There was something in me. Not greatness mind you, but I believe it was because I was someone the teacher could count on—because honestly, I was too afraid not to mind her, I followed directions well, I wasn’t afraid to talk (yes, I’d gotten in trouble more times than I can count with this one), and I got along with most people. These were things that were “in” me.

That still doesn’t automatically make me a good leader . . . but it is a beginning, and it was already in me.

John Maxwell and his team have trained more than 5 million leaders in 180 countries. He once listed his top 5 Attributes of Inspirational Leaders:

  • Attitude of Service
  • Affirmation
  • Attentiveness
  • Availability
  • Authenticity

Greg Stier, a Ministry leader who is mobilizing others to reach the world for Christ, says that the 5 Marks of a Great Christian Leader are:

  • Great leaders lead.
  • Great leaders model.
  • Great leaders pray.
  • Great leaders learn.
  • Great leaders love.

If we take into account these two men’s ideas of a good leader and compare them to scripture, we see that Jesus was, and always will be, the best leader, One in whom we can all model ourselves after. But, we also need to take a look at what is in our own hearts and what we can build upon that is already in us.

Proverbs 4:23 says, “Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life.

Want to become a better leader?

We can read all the books we can get our hands on from successful and dedicated men and women, but if we don’t have our hearts right, then it will be difficult for us to be the leader God is calling us to be.

So, what needs to be in our hearts? I can think of no better check-list than what we read in Philippians 4:8:

Finally, brethren, 
whatever things are true, . . .
whatever things are noble, . . .
whatever things are just, . . .
whatever things are pure, . . .
whatever things are lovely, . . .
whatever things are of good report, . . . 
if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—
meditate on these things.

Scripture from the NKJV of the Bible.
Images of check mark by Tumisu from Pixabay
Images of birds by dayamay from Pixabay

Beth Fortune

Beth has a passion for God's Word. Through her writing and speaking she allows the heartbeat of the Father to flow through her words. As an award-winning writer she’s a contributing writer with Christian Devotions and has had stories published in two "Chicken Soup For the Soul Book" Series in addition to other anthologies. Some of her articles have been published in Focus on Family’s "Thriving Family" magazine and Dr. Charles Stanley’s "In Touch" magazine. With a degree in Ornamental Horticulture she loves gardening and enjoys giving gardening talks to churches, schools, and community groups but her real enjoyment comes from sharing God's truths and encouraging others. She and her husband live in Mauldin, SC where they are in a season of caregiving for her father-in-law in the home. A diffiult season, but one in which God continues to show His grace. You can visit her at

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