A Leader's Most "Effective" Character Quality

  • 14 June 2016
  • Randy Wollf

I’m convinced that character is foundational to long-term leadership effectiveness. The link between a person’s character and their influence is too strong and too consistent to be ignored. Character is not only one of seven key dimensions of leadership, I believe it is the defining characteristic of leadership. As Wayne Cordeiro has said, you can teach others what you know, but you can only reproduce what you are. 

Yet, the specific character qualities that most greatly impact a leader’s effectiveness are unknown. This is why I’m conducting an online survey on the character qualities that contribute to long-term leadership effectiveness. The results will help me develop a "character map" that I can help leaders follow as they seek to strengthen the character qualities that are essential for leadership over the long haul.

I would like to invite you to take the survey. If you choose to participate, you will be asked to articulate 10 character qualities that you believe are important for long-term leadership effectiveness. You will also be asked to prioritize them and describe how each one looks in the life of a leader. The online survey will take about 20 minutes to complete.

As a small "thank-you" for the time given to this strategic study, you can choose to enter into a random draw for one of two $25 Starbucks gift cards (provided you participate by June 30, 2016 and choose to provide your e-mail address). 

Thanks for considering this request. To participate, click here, read the consent form, and proceed with the survey.

Randy Wollf is the Director of MinistryLift and Associate Professor of Practical Theology and Leadership Studies at MB Seminary.  

The Question Great Leaders Choose To Ask

  • 11 April 2016
  • Keith Reed

Great leaders ask great questions. They seek feedback from their team before making decisions. In fact, they value feedback so much that they pursue it even though they might hear something they don’t like.

I listened to an Andy Stanley leadership podcast several months ago that provided me with a valuable question that leaders can use in virtually any setting. It can be applied by a youth sponsor, a hockey coach, a parent, or a senior pastor. 

The question was developed by Clay Scroggins and it emerged from two observations he made. Here’s a summary:  

Everyone has an opinion

People want to feel heard. But notice that listening is different than implementing. Most people know it’s not reasonable for their boss to implement all of their ideas, but it makes a tremendous difference when leaders actively listen to the ideas that others have. It provides the team with confidence that their leader is aware of their perspective and it gives everyone value. 

Everyone has an opinion. Don’t you think it would be valuable to know what your teammates are already thinking? 

We live in the evaluation-age 

Social media is proof that people are quick to evaluate others. Even if evaluation isn’t a stated value in your setting, you can be assured that people have an opinion of your leadership and effectiveness. Your actions are constantly being assessed by the people around you (moms and dads might be the biggest victims here!). If you don’t give others space to share the criticisms they have of you, they’ll either share them when you’re not around or keep their thoughts bottled up inside. Neither option is healthy. 

This brings us to the question that great leaders should choose to ask of their team: If you were me, what would you do differently? 

This question invites open-ended feedback while encouraging others to consider the position that the leader is in. Plus, when leaders open themselves up to the opinions of others, it makes it far easier for them to act on what they hear. Asking this question with regularity will develop a culture of healthy evaluation and constructive team-building. 

Most leaders don’t want to receive feedback, but every leader needs it. I encourage you to begin posing this question to the people you are currently leading. 

- Keith Reed

Four Strategies for Growing Your Small Group

  • 9 January 2015
  • Randy Wollf

Small group Bible study
A study on small groups entitled, Small Groups - Big Impact: Connecting People to God and One Another in Thriving Groups (2011) by Jim Egli and Dwight Marable, discovered that groups that see people accept Christ, increase in size, and multiply into additional groups have four things in common. These groups have small group leaders who model and facilitate prayer, outreach, care and the empowerment of group members.


The study found that 83% of groups that had a leader who modelled and facilitated prayer saw someone come to Christ in the past nine months (versus 19% of groups that did not have a praying leader). Praying leaders spend time with God. They actively pray for group members and group meetings. They pray for unsaved people in their lives and in the lives of others within the group. As the leader and others in the group engage in a lifestyle of prayer, people sense God’s presence in the group. Life change happens. People get saved. Who wouldn’t want to be part of that kind of group?


When group leaders and their groups have an outreach focus, they are much more likely to see people come to Christ. The study found that 90% of groups with this kind of focus saw someone come to Christ in the last six months (versus 11% of groups without this outreach emphasis). In the book, Egli and Marable talk about the five I’s of reaching out: 

    • Investment - Members spend time with friends in order to share Christ
    • Invitation – Leaders encourage members to invite others
    • Intention - Outreach is a stated purpose of the group
    • Intercession – Group members pray during their meetings for unsaved friend 
    • Imitation - Leaders model relational outreach

If we want to grow our small groups, outreach needs to be an important part of group life.


A strong caring orientation is another key strategy for growing our small groups. The study showed that 44% of caring groups added at least four new members since starting (versus 18% without this emphasis). Caring groups spend time with one another outside of group meetings. They pray for each other, support each other and have fun together. Group members function like a family.