11 Characteristics of a Future Leader Who Will Lead Well

Sometimes you just know that a future leader will lead well when they are given the opportunity. There’s just something about them that makes you think, “yeah, they’ve got it.” But what is it that they have? Is it a lot of charisma, a lot of passion, a lot of confidence? It’s more.

11 Characteristics of a Future Leader Who Will Lead Well

One of the jobs of any leader is to identify future leaders who you can invest in, develop, and help guide toward maturity in the faith and in their leadership. If you can do this well, you’ll solve the problem that most churches face – a lack of leaders. As you are looking for a future leader who will lead well, consider the following characteristics.

11 Characteristics of a Future Leader Who Will Lead Well

1. A future leader who will lead well is an OBSERVER… Another way to look at this is that they are a learner. They are constantly observing what is working, what others are doing, they are always reading, always listening, always taking in new and helpful information. In order for a future leader to eventually be a present leader, they must be a constant observer.

Want to develop your observation? Listen to these podcasts.

2. A future leader who will lead well is SELF-AWARE… They are aware of their own shortcomings in every area of their lives. They know what they’re good at, they don’t try to be well-rounded, and they do their best to manage their weaknesses. They have identified their social tendencies and know if they have developed habits that push people away from them.

Want to develop your self-awareness? Read Leadership and Self-Deception by The Arbinger Institute

3. A future leader who will lead well is a SERVANT… They are one of those people who will jump in because something needs to be done and they don’t ask for something in return nor do they secretly expect something in return. They serve before they have a title and not because they’re searching for one. It’s out of their desire to serve Jesus that they serve. A person who serves well is a person who will lead well.

Want to develop your servanthood? If you’re not already in one, join a ministry team at your church.

4. A future leader who will lead well is PATIENT… This may be the hardest one of all these characteristics to develop. But where does patience come from? A bold and firm trust in God’s timing. They are aware that their preference of timing don’t always and may never win out in God’s economy. They continually preach this to themselves and pray continuously for it.

Want to develop your patience? Ask God for the supply, nothing else will do.

5. A future leader who will lead well is a COURAGEOUS RISK-TAKER… While they are patient, they are also willing and able to courageously follow what they sense God calling them to. They are willing to try different things and see if those things work out. I could be wrong, but I think this is what God wants me to do is their rallying cry for most things. They’re not afraid of giving something they strongly sense they should do a shot.

Want to develop your capacity for courageous risk-taking? Read The Faith of Leap by Michael Frost and Alan Hirsch then consider what God would have you do if He removed the barriers you see.

6. A future leader who will lead well is a FOLLOWER… They will, one day, be a leader, however, in the meantime they are a follower and they do it well. They understand that this is the way of discipleship. Jesus had followers who followed Him before they went out and led the movement we know as the Church. They see their following as formative for their future leading.

Want to develop your ability to follow? Read Next Up: 8 Shifts Great Young Leaders Make by Jonathan Pearson.

7. A future leader who will lead well is a HERALD OF THE VISION… They take the vision of their organization, church, and leader who they are following and they adopt it as theirs. They don’t stop there, though. They adopt it as their own AND they are the unofficial proclaimer and pusher of that vision. They leverage every opportunity to bring that vision to the hearts and minds of others.

Want to develop your ability to herald the vision? Open your ears to what the vision is and open your enthusiastic mouth to others about the grand vision.

8. A future leader who will lead well is a DOER… They can be depended upon to simply get done what needs to be done. They will take a project and see it through. They will take a task and make sure it’s done on time and with excellence.

Want to develop your ability as a doer? Ask for something to do and then go do it. Or better yet, see something that needs done and go do it.

9. A future leader who will lead well is an INNOVATOR…They are not going to be content with how things have always been done. If they see inefficiencies, they will innovate and make things better. They will think outside of the proverbial box that so often plagues leadership as leadership gets further and further into the organization they lead. They bring new ideas and new ways of accomplishing the mission.

Want to develop your ability as an innovator? Read Culture Making: Recovering Our Creative Calling by Andy Crouch then go innovate and create something.

10. A future leader who will lead well is PASSIONATE… They bring energy to whatever they do. They see what they do, every day, as worship to God. They don’t do what they do haphazardly, but with purpose and intent.

Want to develop your passion? Begin seeing each day as opportunity for God to continue His work on earth by working in you and through you.

11. A future leader who will lead well is LOVING… They see that no matter what their spiritual gifts are, those gifts are meaningless without this one thing – love. Everything they do and say should be filtered through love. This is the case because they are followers of Jesus who follow Jesus. If you want to see a leader lead well, then you’ll want to see that they love people and they love God.

Want to develop your ability to love? Read 1 Corinthians 12 and 13 over and over again then go practice it. Also, Perry Noble recently wrote a book on the subject as it relates to leadership. You may want to grab The Most Excellent Way to Lead: Discover the Heart of Great Leadership.

What About You?

What have you observed that are characteristics of a future leader who will lead well? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below or on social media (Facebook Group, Page | Twitter).

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This post does contain affiliate links which means that if you click on one of the book links, I’ll receive a few pennies. (I’ve gotta save for college for my two little girls!)

Written by Brandon Kelley

Brandon Kelley is the co-founder of Rookie Preacher and the author of Preaching Sticky Sermons and Crucified to Life. He serves as the Lead Pastor of First Church of Christ in Bluffton, IN. He also writes at BrandonKelley.org. You can follow him @BrandonKelley_. Watch his sermons here.


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