5 Traits Great Spiritual Leaders Have in Common
There often comes a time in a follower’s life when they’re starting to consider seeking a leadership position. Being a spiritual leader is much like being a parent, and you’ll have a major say on your followers’ lives and decisions. You cannot take this position lightly, as you may have a direct impact on your followers’ relationship with the world, their close ones and friends, and on their everyday choices including everything from what type of education they will give their children, to even their finances. This is why it’s essential that you know if you actually have what it takes to take such a role in someone else’s life and spiritual salvation. Here are some of the traits most great spiritual leaders have in common...
They Are Great Administrators
Before we can even talk about interpersonal skills, we have to talk about administrative duties. As a spiritual leader, you’ll have to be able to administer the affairs and finances of the place of worship you’ll be leading. This means making sure that your parishioners’ donations are used correctly, and that you do not misappropriate funds or spend irresponsibly.
So, while you might not need a full formation as an accountant, you’ll still have to have some sort of foundation. Also, you’ll have to know how to manage your church, mosque, synagogue, or temple’s overheads, like energy among other things. Tools like Utility Bidder could help you save on mosque energy prices for instance, and make sure that all expenses are justified. Being a sound administrator will allow you to gain the trust of your followers, and make sure that financial worries about the appropriation of funds aren’t taking away from the message.
They Guide, Not Direct Their Followers
Most great spiritual leaders were rebels, and took the road less travelled. They also often rebelled against societal norms. Great leaders find a way to inspire, and don’t have to force believers. Instead, they guide them using their own experiences and conclusions. So, you have to be able to do the same for your flock. You cannot force someone into realising spiritual clarity - this is something they’ll have to do on their own, with your assistance.
A truly great spiritual leader is selfless, and will base their value as a person on how much they can help others, not by how much they are exalted for their wisdom. And they don’t wait to be showered with praise for their followers. As a matter of fact, many great spiritual leaders have a tendency to shy away from it. They don’t want to be revered, they want their followers to reach their path and empower themselves instead.
The real goal of any spiritual leader should be the growth of their followers, nothing else. They should work towards helping them discover their true identity and purpose in life, and give them assistance in times of distress and confusion.
They often say that when you stop learning, you stop to grow, and this applies to leaders as well. While they may have a lot of knowledge, great leaders are always ready to be taught, even by some of their followers. They also know their limits, and know when they need to ask for help. They are open to being mentored themselves by someone with more experience than them. Great leaders are always open to new ways to grow, and in return, benefit their followers.
Great leaders also know how to delegate. They can assess their own strengths and weaknesses, as well as in others. This allows them to appoint the right people in the right positions, and make sure that they ensure their own succession within their organisation.
If you look at the history of most great spiritual leaders, you’ll notice that many had one thing in common: courage in the face of adversity. No matter your organisation, chances are you’ll have detractors. You may even have to deal with the threat of physical violence. This is a serious role you’re about to embark on, and you’ll have to be ready to not only face adversity, but make sure that you protect and reassure your followers in the storm.
You’ll also have to be able to know when things are too much to handle, and find someone to replace you in times of need. Much of your followers will derive their strength from you, and it will be your responsibility to show a strong face even when the house is on fire.
Being a great spiritual leader takes more than faith and a good heart. Remember that you’ll become the most important person in many people’s lives, so make sure that your good intentions are backed by actual competence before you take on this journey.