Seven Things I’ve Learned About Inspiring Leaders
I was a 17 year old teenager who went to college as far away as I could go and stay within the mainland. Here was a typical kid from Bronx, New York, with all the common traits of kid growing up in that environment (I won’t explain – to protect the guilty). I believe it was God’s provision that I ended up under the tutelage of my teacher and pastor, Robert W. May. His life and ministry has continued to impact my life for the last 30 years.
The traits I mention below were clearly evident in this inspiring leader. I’ve observed each of these while I was a student and even afterwards. We kept in touch by phone over the years, and I made it a point to visit him several times within the last three decades.
I love to be around people who are excited about things that are important to them. Within the first few minutes of your conversation, you know what moves their heart. Every time I am around someone like this, I am truly inspired.
Some people are like a sealed safe with a six inch steel casing. There is no imagining what lies within them. They may talk a lot, but reveal nothing. It’s difficult to trust and follow such leaders.
Leaders who are transparent have nothing to hide. Their openness allows for people to come close to them and to trust them. These are the leaders one naturally will want to follow.
The generously kind leader opens up the hearts and minds of those they lead. As their kindness opens up the hearts of people, they will have more influence to impact change.
As a young man with numerous flaws, I’ve experienced kindness in amazing ways. It was that kindness that gave me hope to look forward and to move forward.
Be a Learner
The problem with diplomas, certificates, and degrees is that it creates the false assumption that we have completed our studies. It also creates a qualitative divide between formal and informal learning.
I suppose it’s true that yesterday’s successes can be our greatest hinderance in the future. We need to constantly find new ways to accomplish our mission. This is true for individuals as well as institutions. Once we become resistant to change, we begin on the road to failure.
There will be plenty of people to oppose you in whatever you set out to do. But you, you must be determined. Know your purpose, and “do what your hand finds to do” on a consistent basis. Be open to ideas and opinions of people, but ultimately you’ve got to listen to the voice within you.
Be a Mentor
As a leader, be consistent in mentoring others. Pour your life into others who will become leaders. Be a resource, guide, and encourager. You should be able to look back and see a trail of leaders who have been impacted by your mentoring. Turn around now. Look back. How many do you see?
As mentioned earlier, these are some of the leadership qualities that I’ve observed in the life of pastor Robert W. May, whom I call “brother May.” I just called him on the phone now to tell him about this article. At various stages in life I’ve called him to let him know the updates. Every time, I’ve been privileged to receive his kindness and blessings. Since 1983, I’ve been blessed to have this mentoring relationship. He and his wife Norma (with the Lord now) were an inspiration to me as they loved and cared for a young confused teenager from the Bronx.
Would you be willing to share about someone in your life that had an inspiring and mentoring relationship? It is your choice if you want to mention that person’s name. Please share briefly in the comments bleow.
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