A leader is a person who leads or commands a group, organization, or country. Becoming a good leader takes time and practice; however, you can start becoming a good leader immediately. One of the primary ways men can lead is through their example. When you strive to live a holy and virtuous life, you are providing an example for others on how to live properly. A good example for how to live a virtuous life is the Boy Scout law, which every scout must memorize:
A Scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent.
There are many other important virtues that make a good leader, such as humility, patience, perseverance, honesty, etc.
Now, think of the example you would be setting for your kids if you lived this virtuous life. They would truly love and respect you. They would trust you and always know that you are there to help them. Kids live what they observe in their parents. Thus, they will also grow up to be virtuous adults and good leaders. In addition, your wife will truly love and respect you. Think of it! What woman wouldn’t love to be married to a man who is: trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, reverent, patient, honest, etc. She would be proud to call you her husband. The same holds true for employers. Virtuous employees are hard to come by these days. When an employer finds one, you can be sure he/she will want to hold onto him. Customers will want to work with him. Virtuous men who lead by example are more likely to be promoted and succeed in their careers.
There are other important attributes of a good leader. He is a good listener. He strives to understand people and their needs. He does what he can to meet those needs. A good leader is not afraid to make tough decisions, even if he’s not too popular for making them. In the end, he knows those decisions will be best for everyone. A good leader also upholds his responsibilities. The buck stops with him. He takes responsibility for his actions. If he makes a mistake, he is ready to admit it and correct it. He does not let pride or selfishness get in the way of being a good leader. He adheres to the highest ethical standards in business.
A leader is not a quitter. When he makes a commitment, or sets out to accomplish a task, he sees it through to the completion. If he needs help, he asks for it from God and others. St. Paul writes that in his weakness he is strong (2 Cor 12:9-11). Thus, a strong man knows his weaknesses. He then seeks help for those areas so that, with others, he can be strong. One man cannot defeat an army; however, with the help of God and his own army, he can defeat his enemy. In addition to daily prayer, this help can come in many forms: calling a plumber when you don’t know how to fix a broken toilet, asking an accountant to help you with your taxes, and seeking the help of a therapist when struggling with an addiction or relationship issues. A strong man knows when to ask for help.
A good leader sets an example in his spiritual life. He fosters his own relationship with God through daily prayer, Scripture study, spiritual reading, and spiritual direction. At home, he leads prayers before meals and at bedtime. He prays with his wife and children daily. He engages in scripture study and spiritual reading with his family. He gets to mass on time and doesn’t leave early. He is active in his parish, sings at mass, and participates in men’s ministry. He is also active in his kids’ lives, attending school and extracurricular activities. He takes his wife out on dates and models for his kids a healthy marital relationship.
It takes a lot to be a good leader; however, if you make part of your mission to be the best leader you can be, you will eventually achieve your goal. You don’t have to be perfect. You just have to persevere. Don’t be afraid to ask you wife, kids, employer, friends, etc. how you are doing. Openly receiving constructive criticism will help you achieve your goal faster. With patience and perseverance, you can become a great leader!