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Over the years in ministry I have had the privilege to work with many great leaders. In my observations I try and soak up as much as I can from those people. I often find myself asking them a ton of questions and picking their brain on how they lead and what habits they have as a leader. I am not shy to learn new skills when it comes to leadership and leading those around me. One of the greatest leaders I know once asked me a question that I ask myself almost daily.  

 “What would a good leader do?” This question digs in deep for me, and I have found three insights within this question that all leaders must understand.

In this question I am making the statement to myself that I want to be a good leader. In this question I am also acknowledging that I don’t have all the answers and may need to seek advice for specific situations. Lastly, this question challenges me to NOT take the easy route when things get hard. Here are the three insights from the question “What would a good leader do?” 

1. Identity of a Good Leader 

I want to be a good leader, so what do I do to make this happen? James Clear in his book, Atomic Habits, argues that habits are the path to changing your identity. What this means is that if you want to identify as a good leader, your habits must reflect it. We all would say that we want to be known as a good leader, right? You must decide who you want to be. If you are an athlete, you make choices in your day that reflect your identity. An athlete takes care of his body. An athlete stays hydrated. An athlete is known as an athlete. In the same way, you must ask yourself daily, what would a good leader do? A good leader doesn’t react to a nagging parent, they pick up the phone and speak with grace. A good leader doesn’t brush hard conversations to the side, they go after them. A good leader doesn’t lose their temper easily. When we start to see ourselves as a good leader, or strive to be one, we talk as a leader, we walk as a leader and respond as a good leader because that’s what we are.  

2. Get Advice from Good Leaders  

Early in ministry I had a hard situation that was way over my head. The first thing I did was reach out to one of my volunteers who was an amazing leader and ask him for advice. He helped me process and ultimately lead through this situation in a healthy way. Sometimes asking the question means we recognize we really don’t have the answer and need to reach out to other good leaders for help. If you are in a situation and you ask yourself, “What would a good leader do?” and internally you are freaking out and unsure of what the next step should be, then you need to ask for help. A good leader knows how to ask for helpSurround yourself with leaders who are safe for you to ask for advice and receive honest feedback from.  

3. Don’t Take the Easy Route  

Asking this question in the middle of every situation allows you a few moments to step back and assess what is actually going on. Too many leaders talk themselves out of doing what good leaders do. We avoid the conflict. We do not try and do new things because we are scared to upset that one person who is not going to like it. We lead from a place of fear instead of from a place of strength. When you are scared to have a conversation with an upset person, ask yourself, “What would a good leader do?” When you are passionate about making changes but are concerned with the pushback, you must ask yourself, “What would a good leader do?” As a ministry leader, the enemy wants you to believe that you are a bad leader and wants you to make poor leadership choices. When you fail, he wins. A good leader does hard things because they are what good leaders do.   

So, every day this week I challenge you when you pour your first cup of coffee or on your way to work, ask yourself this question and be the leader God has called you to be. A good one. What would a good leader do?  

Bobby Cooley
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