Sunday, December 20, 2009

The 4 C's of Leadership

From Regent University's Inner Resources:

Dr. Winton writes a very thought provoking article. Here are a few highlights worth pondering, he writes there are 4 essential aspects of leadership:

- Calling (doing what God wants you to)
- Competence (being good at what you do)
- Confidence (knowing what you can accomplish in the context)
- Character (“good” traits)

The point of contention is that he asserts that character is the least important of the four pillars of leadership (note: he is the Dean of the school of leadership at a Christian university). "The paper draws from both Old Testament and New Testament examples of success based on each of the four Cs. The premise of the paper is that with each successful level of the four Cs, greater success happens. An organization’s leadership development program may be informed by this paper in that developing-leaders should first be filtered/selected by their sense of calling, followed then by education and training to increase their competence. Then, developing leaders can receive counseling and education to increase their confidence and finally, developing leaders can be coached, measured, critiqued, and developed in character traits." I'd enjoy hearing your thoughts - he sure does make a Biblical case for his submission.

Read the full paper here:
The Four C's of Christian Leadership


  1. That's a great paper on the four C's written by Bruce Winston. I think that he is correct in that if there's no calling, then there's no success. I've watched people attempt to lead without calling or without passion for their area of responsiblity and it's been my observation that it absolutely does not work.

    That being said, where I disagree with Bruce Winston is his priority order of the four C's, especially placing Character in the fourth position. Character last? Really? Let's take a look at Winston's three examples of leaders who he proposes experienced calling before character. His examples are found on page 8 of his paper.

    The first was Moses. Yes he first demonstrated a passion for God's people when he killed the Egyptian to spare some Israeli men from a beating. However, God invested the next 40 years into forming Moses' character! And Moses' tenure as a leader could not even begin until, "the man Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth." Numbers 12:3

    The second was David. When God chose David to lead Israel, he chose him because he wanted, "a man after his own heart, and the LORD hath commanded him to be captain over his people..." 1 Samuel 13:14 David was a man of character as well as passion. His character is well demonstrated in the way he handled his persecution from Saul. 1 Samuel Chapters 18-24 Of course, mid career, he did fall horribly into sin however whatever lack of success David experienced was a direct result of his time of fallen character.

    The third was Ahab. Ahab! Ahab's reign was characterized by drought and corruption. He died, "...and the dogs licked up his blood; and they washed his armour; according unto the word of the LORD which he spake." 1 Kings 22:38

    In Jim Collins book Good to Great Collins did a study on the fortune 500 companies that outperformed the stock market by three or more times for at least fifteen years in a row. Not surprisingly they only found eleven companies that met that criteria. They never set out to learn about leadership traits but what they found was that all eleven leaders had similar styles that hinged on the same two traits: Humility and Passion.

    Yes, calling or passion is essential. But so is character or humility. To be a great leader you must have both. We can't prioritize one before the other. Although I do think that we could certainly prioritize both of these two C's above competence and confidence. I've seen many instances of successful leadership where calling and character came first, then competence and confidence followed. Isn't Moses an example of this? He first had Character as a result of 40 years of isolation Numbers 12:3, then Calling from the burning bush. Exodus 3:2 He was without confidence (he was afraid of public speaking), Exodus 4:10, and without competence (Jethro had to teach him about delegation later in his ministry) Exodus 18:`13-23 -- confidence and competence came later.

    Character (including humility) and Calling -- All truly great leaders have both. Given these two competence and confidence will follow.

  2. Kurt-

    Rock on! Your comments are great (very well written and thought out) and I look forward to more in the future. BTW, for all others check out Kurt's blog he has a post on the requirement of humility for effective leadership worth pondering.

    In Him-