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The Six C’s of Leadership

Trying to find the right leaders for our teams can be a challenging task, but there are ways to make that process less daunting. Knowing the qualities to look for in a leader removes some of the guesswork and allows you to pick a good leader with confidence.

I remember a time when I had to really evaluate our church— where it was at currently and where it needed to go from there. The organization was stuck in a proverbial rut and needed to be changed from the inside-out.

Leadership expert John Maxwell is widely known for saying, “Everything rises and falls on leadership.” I knew that if I wanted the church to make big changes, I had to make sure I had the right leaders in the right places.

Over the following eighteen months, many of our top positions experienced a change in leadership, and this not only included staff positions but volunteer positions as well. It was during this time of great change that I stopped to look at the qualities that all good leaders needed to demonstrate, my “Six C’s of Leadership.” If someone is to succeed in a leadership position, they must demonstrate these characteristics. Let’s take a look at those characteristics.

The Six C’s of Leadership

1. Character

This is the most vital of the six characteristics, and the one that can hurt the most if you overlook it. The person you choose will be representing your church, business or cause, and you don’t want someone who will harm your reputation as a damaged reputation takes a long time to rebuild.

Resist the temptation to ignore serious character issues in a person simply because they are good producers. You may gain in the short term, but you will lose in the long term.

Do your due diligence in the interview process and ask any potential leadership candidate tough questions that reveal their true nature and character, and don’t forget to check with their references.

2. Competency

Simply put, you always want to find the very best person for the role you are attempting to fill. You may not always be able to afford the very best person, but there is no reason not to aim high. If you are only looking for someone to settle on, you will never find that true gem.

Companies and churches often overlook competency because they are trying so hard to relieve the pain of a vacancy in their organizations. But if you simply fill the position with a person that is unqualified, you will inevitably have to deal with the same problem again in the very near future.

The person you consider hiring should be capable and passionate about the role they are filling. People are less likely to burn-out and get frustrated in areas of personal passion.

3. Culture

If your organization has a healthy culture, it is often ideal to promote someone within the organization that understands the culture and could develop into the leader you need. I truly believe that instead of trying to find a superstar, we need to develop superstars.

Not everyone will be the right fit. In fact, they can have the other five C’s and still not be the right person. I have seen leaders who truly love God, have a calling in their area of service, love people, but still were not the right fit.

And sometimes promoting from within is not always the best decision, and we need to hire from outside the company. If you are hiring from the outside, it is important to make sure that the person is not only capable of performing their role well, but also able to fit well with your culture.

4. Capacity

Ideally, you want to hire a person who has the ability to grow and develop as the organization does. If they hit their leadership peak early and fail to grow, they will slow down the pace of the entire organization.

There are those who simply can do a task, others who can lead a team, and even those who are leaders of leaders. Which one do you need?

5. Calendar

In the church world, much of the significant work done for God is done by volunteers. This may not be the case for you, but you still need to make sure the person has the right calendar to handle the role, meaning they have the time to devote to the role they are filling.

I have hired dynamic people who have had the other C’s in spades but lacked in time. The result was that their performance suffered, simply because they couldn’t put in the time to get the job done.

For those leading churches, this factor is especially important. I learned from Bill Hybels to make sure the work people are doing for God is not killing the work God is trying to do in them.

6. Chemistry

Can you and your team work alongside this individual? You have probably heard of countless professional sports teams who have the best talent but still can’t win the championship. One of the reasons for that is a lack of true chemistry.

Before you move forward with a candidate for a particular role, get to know them in a professional and personal setting. Have them meet the rest of the team. Do they naturally seem to get along well, or does there seem to be tension or awkwardness? Some people might take a bit of time to warm up, but you can usually tell right away if someone is a bad fit. It makes a difference not only to the candidate’s performance but to the performance of the entire team.

Early on in my career, I made some poor decisions when putting people on my team.  I believe many of these challenges could have been avoided by going through each one of these C’s and asking myself, “Do they have the ____________ for the role/position?” We want to make sure potential team members have each of the qualities leaders need before moving forward with them. It will help us choose leaders with confidence and conviction.

Which of these qualities is the hardest to find in a leader? How could you use these six qualities as a guide in the future?
Photo courtesy of Adobe Stock

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