Leadership . . . A Potent Combination of Character & Strategy


We've all heard it: What you do speaks so loudly that I cannot hear what you are say. When it comes to leadership, character is key.

Albert Schweitzer noted, “Example is not the main thing in influencing others, it is the only thing.” This week's Quips and Quotes explore some key thoughts about the leader's character.

 Think about it:

  1. “If my people understand me, I’ll get their attention. If my people trust me, I’ll get their action.” Cavett Roberts
  2. “In order to be a leader a man must have followers. And to have followers, a man must have their confidence. Hence, the supreme quality for a leader is unquestionably integrity. Without it, no real success is possible, no matter whether it is on a section gang, a football field, in an army, or in an office. If a man’s associates find him guilty of being phony, if they find that he lacks forthright integrity, he will fail. His teachings and actions must square with each other. The first great need, therefore, is integrity and high purpose.” Dwight Eisenhower
  3. But select capable men from all the people--men who fear God, trustworthy men who hate dishonest gain--and appoint them as officials over thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens. Exodus 18:21 NIV
  4. "Alas! The beard of reputation once shorn is hard to grow again." Charles H. Spurgeon
  5. "When they arrived, Samuel saw Eliab and thought, "Surely the LORD's anointed stands here before the LORD ."  But the LORD said to Samuel, "Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart."  1 Samuel 16:6-7 NIV
  6. "Take heed to yourselves lest your example contradict your doctrine, … lest you unsay with your lives, what you say with your tongues; and be the greatest hinderers of the success of your own labours." Richard Baxter to pastors, in 1656.
  7. "I believe there is no more powerful leadership tool than your own personal example." John Wooden
  8. "It turns out that the believability of the leader determines whether people will willingly give more of their . . . support. Only credible leaders earn commitment." Kouzes & Posner
  9. "Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood." Acts 20:28 ESV
  10. “Basketball is what I do, it’s not who I am.” Bill Russell
  11. "At issue here is the question: “To whom do I belong? To God or to the world?” Many of my daily preoccupations suggest that I belong more to the world than to God. A little criticism makes me angry, and a little rejection makes me depressed. A little praise raises my spirits, and a little success excites me. . . . Often I am like a small boat on the ocean, completely at the mercy of its waves. Henri Nouwen

Recapping the week:

This week we have been exploring the leadership axiom, Leadership is a potent combination of character and strategy. If you must be without one, be without the strategy. If you missed a post, you can click on the title to get it:

  • Monday: Is Your Life A Book Worth Reading? Every leader's life is a book. Our character is on display for all to read. Here are five insights from Richard Baxter (1656) for setting a great example with your life.
  • Tuesday: Criticism -- The Leader's Friend A leader's character is tempered by criticism. This post examines three benefits of criticism. It also explores five ways to make criticism your friend.
  • Wednesday: Adversity -- The Leader's Shining Time The poet Edward Young said, "Adversity is a good man's shining time." It is! This post discusses how God uses adversity to grow the leader's character.
  • Thursday: Insecurity: A Leader's Achilles Heel Every leader has an Achilles heel, a vulnerable weak spot that can sabotage his or her character. This post examines seven things insecure leaders cannot do. Using the ministry of John the Baptist, the post helps leaders learn how to overcome insecurity.

Looking Ahead To Next Week:

In God In The Dock, C.S. Lewis writes, ". . . You can’t get second things by putting them first. You get second things only by putting first things first." Next week, we'll explore the necessity of "putting first things first" to be at our best in on our leadership for God.

Two books worth reading:

The Reformed Pastor
The Reformed Pastor

Publisher's Description: Richard Baxter (1615-1691) was vicar of Kidderminster from 1647-1661. In an introduction to this reprint, Dr. J. I. Packer describes him as 'the most outstanding pastor, evangelist and writer on practical and devotional themes that Puritanism produced.' His ministry transformed the people of Kidderminster from 'an ignorant, rude and reveling people; to a godly, worshipping community. These pages, first prepared for a Worcestershire association of ministers in 1656, deal with the means by which such changes are ever to be accomplished.


Publisher's description: In these turbulent times, when the very foundations of organizations and societies are shaken, leaders need to move beyond pessimistic predictions, trendy fads, and simplistic solutions. They need to turn to what's real and what's proven. In their engaging, personal, and bold new book, Kouzes and Posner reveal ten time-tested truths that show what every leader must know, the questions they must be prepared to answer, and the real-world issues they will likely face.

Based on thirty years of research, more than one million responses to Kouzes and Posner's leadership assessment, and the questions people most want leaders to answer.


1. From Developing The Leader Within You, by John Maxwell, page 39. 2. From Developing The Leader Within You, page 48 6. From The Reformed Pastor, page 33. 7. From Wooden On Leadership, page 20. 8. From The Truth About Leadership, by Kouzes and Posner, page 16. 10. From Russell Rules: 11 Lessons on Leadership From the Twentieth Century’s Greatest Winner, page 14. 11. From The Return of the Prodigal Son: A Story of Homecoming, page 42.