My son and I were fishing a few months ago and talking about influential people in our lives. He talked about his Paw-Paw and one of his coaches. It was an interesting conversation about how he is observing leaders in his life. He already understands the attributes of a great leader that he wants to follow and that he wants to become.
So I asked him, “What makes a man a great leader?” I think he wanted some brownie points because he said, “Leaders just need to be like you, Dad.” I laughed—I’m far from a perfect leader. But I do strive to lead all areas of my life well. As dads, there is no way for us to avoid the fact that we are leaders. But we can choose what kind of leaders we want to be for our kids. Here are 5 attributes of a great leader, which are attributes all dads should work toward.Dads with character set the standards in their homes through their actions, words, and deeds.
When we talked about having character, I asked him to define it for me. He said, “It’s hard to describe, but you know it when you see it.” A dad with character leads his family from the front. He takes responsibility for his actions and keeps his word. A dad with character stands for what is right and defines what is wrong morally for himself and his family. Dads with character set the standards in their homes through their actions, words, and deeds.
There is a fine line between having courage and being dumb. My son talked about courage being the thing that makes people want to follow you. He said, “I don’t want to follow a guy who is scared of everything.” Coming from a 10-year-old brain, I don’t think he knew exactly what he was saying, but his statement was powerful. There will be moments in our lives when we feel scared and fearful, but good leaders do what they need to do, even when they are scared. John Wayne once said, “Courage is being scared to death but saddling up anyway.” A courageous dad is easy to follow because he is willing to face everything in front of him, even when it’s hard or uncertain.
Great leaders surround themselves with great people. Dads who lead well do not lead alone. I want my kids to see my friendships and for my friends to pour into my kids. Companions make you better instead of tearing you down. If you have situations or problems you need advice on, your buddies should be there to help you out. On your worst day, it’s powerful for your kids to see other men there to support you. This makes you a great leader because you are not trying to shoulder it all alone. It shows your kids the importance of community.
Our quick-moving world continues to break down our attention spans. This attribute came directly from my son because he struggles with focus. He said, “The great leaders in my life can do this, and I want to do it too.” Having concentration doesn’t mean you can’t do multiple things at the same time; it means you can see things through. You don’t leave projects undone or make empty promises. Leaders with concentration have the trust of those who follow them.
Being willing to stand in the fight no matter what is thrown against you is a sign of a great leader. “Cowards run and flee,” my son said. I want my kids to know that they never have to wonder if I’m going to be there for them. Commitment is vital to being a leader because it communicates that Dad is present and stable. When we can offer these to those who follow us, we can lead well.
Sound off: What are the other attributes of a great leader that you’d add to this list?
Huddle up with your kids and ask, “What are some signs that a person is a good leader?”