Leadership Development: 10 Traits Your Next Leader Should Not Have

By Jocelyn Hu

Leadership makes all the difference. Have you noticed that?

A ship may be well-built with a great crew, but with the wrong captain, it's going to be hard for the ship to stay on course.

A lot of my friends are looking for the next leader of their church, their business, or their non-profit. As someone who has helped hire many people, here are 10 traits your next leader shouldnot have:

1. He should nothave to be a man.

Women are often overlooked for leadership positions, but they're often just as qualified-if not more-for the position. If you are only looking at men for your leadership position, you're going to miss out on some seriously qualified candidates.

2. They should not be narrow-minded.

Top leadership positions are not the place for narrow-minded agendas. Great leaders need to be able to see the big picture, accepting lots of different ideas and filtering out the best ones.

3. They should not have different values than your organization.

Having a leader with different core values is a nightmare waiting to happen. Before you get into serious talks about hiring, make sure this person's values line up with those of your organization.

4. They should not be too independent.

Leadership is not a solo-venture. Leadership implies, and rightly so, someone who is able to mobilize a group of individuals, teaching them to work as one. While independence often seems like an admirable trait, a great leader shouldn't be a one-person show. They should model interdependence and teamwork.

5. They should never be done learning.

The mark of a really good leader is a life-long dedication to learning. It takes humility for people to admit and understand that they don't know everything-and those are the kinds of people we want to follow: the people who are humble enough to know they don't know everything but are dedicated enough to continue to learn.

6. They should not be the same as the rest of the leadership team.

Just like in our government, a good leadership team reflects the diversity of interests in the community they're leading. When hiring someone new, you want to hire someone who represents a new perspective or one that's under-represented.

That way this person will round out your team, helping you be better as a whole, rather than just continuing to reinforce what you're already doing.

7. They should not just be a manager.

When hiring someone for your senior leadership team, you need someone who's going to be able to see beyond the daily details.

We need great managers. Nothing would get done without them. But your senior leadership is a place for people who think beyond the day to day, who can see where you are today and where you want to go tomorrow, and help figure out a way of getting there.

8. They should not lack that intangible leadership quality.

This sounds like an obvious one, but it isn't.

There's an intangible leadership quality gifted to some people that makes others want to follow them. Putting someone into leadership who lacks this is a recipe for disaster. If you want someone to be able to lead, people have to want to follow them. If this is not the case with this person, it's time to find someone new.

9. They should not be easily flustered.

There are going to be days in your ministry where things just aren't going well. The mark of a great leader is the ability to remain calm and confident, even when it seems like the ship might be going over. And this is something you want to look for in someone you're considering hiring.

Do you trust this person to be calm and confident when things aren't going well? Or are they going to get flustered, causing worry and panic in everyone following them?

10. They should not be a pushover.

You're inviting this person to the table because you want their input, because you think your organization will be better with them captaining the ship. You don't want someone who is going to roll over. You want someone who's going to speak up.


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