John Mott on Leadership Traits – Part 1

Earlier this week I read some of the wisdom of John R. Mott, former President of the YMCA World Committee and recipient of the 1946 Nobel Peace Prize.

As you’d probably guess, Mott spent a vast majority of his time developing young leadership around him.  He put together a list of eight traits that he believed should be found in all young leaders.

This list was eye-opening for me as I saw a lot of truth and practicality in this list that still applies today.  I’m going to list the first four today along with some of my reactions and then talk about the other four tomorrow.

Mott believed that a leader should…

1.  Do the little things well. This echoes what Jesus teaches about the faithful servant (Matt. 25:20-21) — being faithful with few things will open up greater doors of opportunity in the future.

2.  Focus on priorities. In the words of Stephen Covey, “…keep the main thing the main thing.”  The leaders who reach that level of great impact are the ones who maintain that laser-like focus in their life and perspective.

3.  Use leisure well. For a lot of leaders, it can be easy to ignore your need for rest.  I fall into the trap of living 100 mph and realize that I’ve started to fray and wear.  You can get sick, lose your edge, and eventually not be as effective as you can be in the work that God’s called you to do.  Work hard first.  Rest when you need it.

4.  Have intensity. If you don’t have passion for the area that you lead, the passion to make a difference, it won’t translate to your team dynamics.  The great leaders of the Bible (David, Moses, Joseph) were passionate about their roles.  David showed his passion for justice against the Amalekites, Moses when he asked God to spare the Israelites, and Joseph with sparing his brothers and showing grace to them.  That takes passion.  That takes intensity.

More to come tomorrow…

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