Foundational Qualities of Good Leaders (That Might Surprise You)


It needs to be said that the foundational character quality of a good leader, a godly leader, a gospel fruit-producing leader, is humility. No, I don’t mean a sort of feigned public humility; I mean humility that has captured a leader’s heart. Humility means the awareness of my own sin, that I care more about my sin than I do about the sin of others. It means that every morning I wake up and I pray that God would rescue me from me, that he’d send help my way because I need help. It means I don’t mock the weakness and failure of other strugglers because I am one. It means I couldn’t possibly preach or teach anything that I know I don’t desperately need myself.

Fruits Produced by Humility

Think about this: when you see yourself as desperately in need of grace everyday, you will then give grace to other people who desperately need grace. Out of humility comes kindness and gentleness and tenderness. Out of humility comes patience. Out of humility comes the fact that I find it more joyful to comfort than to condemn. Out of humility comes the fact that I know that I should not be the only gift in the room; I want to be surrounded by strongly gifted people, and I’m not intimidated by those gifts. Out of humility comes my willingness to suffer. If my Lord suffered even to the point of death, why should I want a life free of suffering?


Paul David Tripp

Best-selling author Paul David Tripp offers 12 gospel-centered leadership principles for both aspiring leaders and weathered pastors as they navigate the challenging waters of pastoral ministry. This resource shows the vital role that the leadership community plays in molding leaders.

Out of humility, entitlement is destroyed because I don’t think this thing is about me, it’s about him. Humility means I’ll never be a glory thief. I won’t steal glory that belongs to the Lord. I won’t take credit for what I couldn’t produce on my own. Humility means I won’t minimize my sin and be defensive when people point out things that I haven’t seen or that are not fun to see. The kind of leader we all want to lead us, the kind of nobility in leadership, only ever grows in the soil of humility. Humility is the most important characteristic in a leader because it causes me to run to Jesus and it causes me to love people. That’s what you want for a leader.

Paul David Tripp is the author of Lead: 12 Gospel Principles for Leadership in the Church.

Related Articles

Related Resources

Crossway is a not-for-profit Christian ministry that exists solely for the purpose of proclaiming the gospel through publishing gospel-centered, Bible-centered content. Learn more or donate today at