The Cultures Leaders Create
The best leaders work intentionally to build healthy environments
A few years ago a mentor of mine gave me this advice: “What leaders do in moderation, the people they lead will do in excess.” I’ve often come back to this wisdom as I’ve had the opportunity to lead and as I’ve observed leaders up close. There is a reason Paul said to Timothy, “set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, and in purity (1 Timothy 4:12).”
I had a conversation recently about a particularly polarizing leader. My conversation partner had some experience in this orbit and said something like this, “My experience with him was great. He was so gracious and kind. But the people around him and the people he sends out into ministry are really hard to deal with.”
I’ve had this conversation more than once, about Christian ministries, non-profits, businesses, churches, academic institutions, and other organizations. I think it gets at an aspect of leadership that often goes unnoticed: tending to the culture of the organization. Leaders are responsible for the cultures they create. This kind of intentionality requires leaders who possess emotional and spiritual health. Of the leaders I’ve seen do this well, there are a few common traits:
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