A Leader's Most Important Trait

I’ve meditated quite a bit on this question: What is a leader's most important trait? Is it charisma? Is it intelligence? Is it wisdom? Is it people skills? Well, while I believe there are many traits and qualities a great leader must possess, there’s one that stands out among all others. In fact, the longer I think about it, most every trait builds on this one trait!

A leader’s most important trait is discipline.

Discipline allows me to:

Block out distractions
Manage emotions and impulses
Overcome bad habits and addictions
Manage myself and others
Lead by example

Whether it’s meditation, fitness, reading, writing, studying, preparing, speaking, scheduling, calendaring, or managing relationships or priorities...discipline is needed!

“OK, Shawn, I’m convinced. I need more discipline in my life. How can I become more disciplined?"

How do we get it?

1. Start with one area of discipline.

Don’t try to get better at everything overnight. Start with becoming more disciplined in your fitness, or your reading, or your studying, or your __________. Just become more disciplined in one area! Here’s why that’s important:

One area of discipline tends to flow over into another area.

2. Plan your calendar.

Spend some time each week and a few moments each day planning and reviewing your calendar.  Block out chunks of time to allocate to your priorities and don’t allow anything to get in the way.

If we don’t plan our day, our day will plan us.

Be unavailable and inaccessible sometimes. We can’t be available to everyone all the time. We can be available to everyone, just not all the time!

3. Say NO to the GOOD and YES to the BEST

Learn to say No. Go to the mirror right now. Look in that mirror and say” No, I’m not going to be able to do that.” There. You needed to stretch that muscle. Keep stretching it!

Don’t just focus on trying NOT to do something. Focus on saying YES to something better!

4. Ask God for it.

Self control is a FRUIT of THE SPIRIT (Gal 5:22-23). Ask God to fill you new with His Holy Spirit and help you lead yourself. Start praying for self control. Ask God to help you order your days in way that honors Him!

When it becomes a spiritual enterprise for us, it becomes more urgent to us.