Paul’s shorter epistles: Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians,
Colossians, 1st and 2nd Thessalonians, 1st and 2nd Timothy, Titus, and
Philemon contain many lessons for leadership, followership, and life.
Three are crucial: (1) demonstrating Character, (2) working hard to
become Competent, and (3) and possessing Confidence.
Character. Character is who you are. Paul stressed the
importance of character. See: Galatians 5:22-23; Ephesians 2:8-10;
5:1-21; Philippians l 4:8; Colossians 3:12-14. For twenty five years I
was a civilian educator and administrator for the United States Air
Force Air University. The Air Force stressed three core values:
Integrity First, Service before Self, and Excellence in all we do. These
core values are at the heart of the character the Air Force expects each
person to demonstrate. Bruce Lee said, “Knowledge will give you power,
but character gives respect.” Quite simply, if followers don’t respect
their leader, the leader will lack effectiveness. But of course,
character alone is not enough, leaders must have competence. And
competence is the result of hard work.
Competence. Competence is what you can do. Paul taught the
importance of a strong work ethic so necessary for competence. See 1
Thessalonians 4:11; 2 Thessalonians 3: 6-12; 2 Timothy 2:6. By
definition, a lack of competence in important areas results in
incompetent leadership. Competencies include possessing necessary skills
and knowledge; understanding and being able to navigate the
organization; being able to lead change; and possessing the skills of
motivating, relating, and communicating. As I have written elsewhere,
“If you can’t communicate, don’t try to lead.”
Leaders must show
Confidence. Confidence is the belief you can lead others
and the organization. In First Corinthians 14:8 Paul asks who would
follow the sound of an indistinct bugle into battle. Ask yourself; are
you a willing to follow a leader who lacks confidence in accomplishing
the mission or knowing how to lead? If a leader possesses requisite
character and competence, then the needed confidence will follow. And
with each success, confidence will grow.
These are the three
pillars of leadership: Character, Competence, and Confidence.