Leadership styles have always amazed me. Some leaders I’ve admired have executed their style flawlessly and others have miserably failed at the style they’ve attempted to emulate. Both the excellent and the terrible leaders were permanently etched into my mind. The good news is that I know exactly what not to do and what to strive to achieve.
However, I never knew what leadership style I emulated naturally until this past weekend. For the first time, I heard about the Redemptive leadership style, which rang true in my heart and mind. The style is designed for leaders who need to meet the challenge of drawing a person in from the outer fringes, help them to get well connected, and then draw them further into the core or the heart of the ministry or business.
The redemptive leader has four key qualities that help him or her to encourage others to their next level in life, business, or ministry. None of these elements can be easily taught, but are extremely valuable in leading others. The four qualities include: Competence, Principles, Character, and Transformation.
1. Competence – This is all about a person’s skills. While it might take into consideration natural inborn talent, it’s focused more on the cumulative effect of the leader’s education, life experiences, practical skills that bring opportunity, and intuition. It’s all about that inner drive or call in a person’s life being matched to a strong desire to learn whatever it takes to get to the next level. However, having just the desire is not enough. It must be proactive and proven out through life’s natural struggles and circumstances.
2. Principles – This is the core element that drives who we are. It is the underlying truth that transcends situations. Regardless of what we face, we find ourselves locked into living according to our deepest principles. It is the very reason we do what it is that we do.
3. Character – This is far more than knowing right and wrong. It’s about knowing who we actually are. The real you and me. It’s about being able to accept our strengths and weaknesses, and then choose to discipline ourselves to live in a positive heart changed manner. If a self-help book were written on this topic it would include chapters on self-awareness, self-management, and self-development.
4. Transformation – This is where the rubber meets the road. The leader’s life has to display actual change and growth. There is no faking it until you make it. Being able to see actual heart changes in yourself and watching yourself become what you’re meant to be is critical to achieving the final elements of this leadership style. It is also the one thing that will allow the leader to directly relate to the people that he or she might influence.
Unfortunately, transforming moments can only come out of pain or insight. Those of us who went through the school of hard knocks, felt the heat of the situation and then changed. A few people were fortunate enough to have an inspired “ah, ha” moment that led to change. Either way, the leader gains the final elements that bring success through this leadership style.
Most of the leaders I know, who lead with the redemptive leadership style, gained their ability after facing great tragedy in their life. They were good people who had to work through significant pain by gaining the skills that would get them back to some sense of normalcy. During the struggle back, their metal was tested. They also learned who they were and the bottom line of their principles. As they emerged from the ashes of their devastating circumstances, they stepped up with strong character and the skills necessary to lead others through anything.
If there were a 5th element that these leaders share, it’s their ongoing commitment to speak hope and healing into the lives of others. They have tasted some semblance of death and renewal, and they all have the passion to share what they’ve gained.