Character in Leadership

A couple weeks ago, I went with a group of guys from the church to a leadership conference.  I expected it to be a fine experience, but I was surprised by how enjoyable and challenging the event actually turned out to be.  One of the speakers was a guy named Rod Hairston.  He came up and sat down with me and another guy while we were eating lunch.  It was really cool just to get to talk with him for a minute.  As it turns out, he is the chaplain/team pastor for the Ravens.  He’s a father of four and pastors a church in addition to that.  Needless to say, he’s a guy that I really wanted to hear speak because of the context in which he lives. 

The guys I went with wanted to sit on the second row and Daryl and I actually ended up on the front row.  So I was right beside the speakers which was awkward for me.  At one point, Rev. Hairston told everyone in the room, “Kyle, I’m going to tell everyone your secret. Kyle, you are insecure”. It was funny, but most of all, true!

Here are some of the thoughts I was really challenged by as he spoke:

  • Men are leaders by default because God made us men.
  • A good leaders should be about gathering influence and investing it in others for the glory of God.
  • No one thinks about character until it is absent
  • People of character usually fly under the radar
  • Sow a thought, reap an action; sow and action, reap a habit; sow a habit, reap a character; sow a character, reap a destiny
  • The definition of character is not simply what you are when no one is looking, but what one is in the broad daylight when pressure is applied.
  • You can only fake character for so long until the truth eventually comes through. Like the tea bag in hot water, eventually what is on the inside comes out.
  • We are defined by our customs; our customary way of living and decision-making
  • Character is a reflection of those customs.
  • The problem arises when those customs are out of character for a christian.
  • Character is best seen and understood over time.
  • Be careful of superstars, you need time to watch character. It is determined and assessed over time.
  • You just can’t tell someone you have character, they must watch your life and conclude for themselves.
  • As leaders, we should always assume our character is being tested and observed.
  • Character determines your destiny. A leader can only go as far as his character will sustain him.
  • How do we develop character? By giving attention to the inner life.  Most of us will not confront sin in our lives without the help of someone else – just like David and Nathan.
  • We develop character by giving attention to our thoughts, this is why no one else can develop your character, no parent, mentor, or friend
  • The practice of spiritual disciplines cannot be overstated or underestimated and is essential for leaders.
  • A christian without a confessional life is not doing well.
  • Practice a theology of emotion. Meet God in your emotions and he will develop your character there.
  • We, especially men, struggle to label and understand our emotions and we don’t know how to apply theology there.
  • We need to seek to overcome our insecurities and we do this by applying the promises of God.
  • I overcome my insecurity because God has anointed me and he has made promises to me.
  • “Suffering is God’s workplace for our character”
  • Character is seen over time as people show their customs.

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