12 Leader Habits that Can Change the World

Leader Habits in 90-Word Nuggets

Each of the following 12 headings starts with a letter that when put together spells “Leader Habits.” Each of these habits affects your leadership and the people you lead. When you change the world for one person, you change the world for all of us. How do I know these habits will change the world? Because these habits are based on the life and ministry of Jesus–and we’re still talking about them! 

This is a compilation of the past 12 weeks of the Women’s Ministry Coach blog posts. Would love to hear your comments and questions about these habits. Chime into the conversation in the comments section below.

I hope your school year is off to a great start. Our hearts and prayers are with our family and friends in Texas in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.


Leaders Learn

How to Transform Your Leadership

Read in [this Instruction] every day . . . learn to revere the Lord . . . by keeping all the words of this Instruction. . . . He will ensure lasting rule . . . for himself and for his successors. (Deut. 17:19a, 20b)

Leaders learn from the Source – both the written Word and the Holy Spirit –

FIRST, who they are to be on the inside;

SECOND, how they are to work with others; and then

THIRD, where God is challenging them to direct their group, organization, or ministry.

Lasting legacies depend on a faithfulness to this process.


Encourage Excellence

How to Increase Your Influence

Increase your influence by encouraging excellence.

“Whatever is true, . . . noble, . . . right, . . . pure, . . . lovely, . . . admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. (Phil. 4:8-9 NIV)

Encourage excellence by your example:

1. Acknowledge publicly the excellent work of others.

2. Be the leader you would want to follow. Others will follow the leader’s example (good or bad).

3. Praise others’ hard work to be a leader who is loved.


Act with Discernment

How to Know What to Do Next

Truly seeking God’s will? God will guide you.

This verse is my reminder:

“For we are of God’s making, created in union with the Messiah Yeshua for a life of good actions already prepared by God for us to do” (Eph. 2:9-10, CJB)

Trusting that God already has a plan for you will help you discern your next step.Then, ask yourself, Will my actions . . . 

1. Honor God?

2. Help others?

3. Allow me to care for myself?

4. Use my gifts effectively for a noble goal?

If yes to all four, proceed in faith.


Determine Your Perspective

How to Have Lasting Joy as a Leader

Success in your work is not the source of lasting joy.

An excited group of 70 disciples returned from their powerful mission trip. Jesus joyfully heard their report, celebrated with them, and acknowledged their success. His wise counsel then still works today:

“Nevertheless, do not rejoice at this, that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven” (Luke 10:20 NRSV).

Determine your perspective from an eternal vantage point. Today’s successes are temporary; it’s the assurance of eternal life which brings lasting joy to a leader.


Educate Effectively

How to Develop Faithful Followers

Leaders with faithful followers have learned to educate effectively. To educate effectively, you address your followers’ specific needs. To know your followers’ needs, you spend time with your followers.  

The leaders I follow educate me effectively by helping me:  

1. Belong to a community

2. Find practical solutions

3. Have opportunities to fulfill a meaningful responsibility

The Greatest Leader said, “Come to me . . . and learn from me. . . . And you will find rest” (Matthew 11:28-30 CEB). Leaders who educate effectively make the challenges of their followers easier.


Reciprocate Responsibility

How to Earn Respect

Respect is not bestowed along with a job title. Respect is earned. Great leaders demonstrate what they are asking others to do by serving them. Regardless of how menial, difficult, or inconvenient the task, great leaders know how to reciprocate responsibility. They do for others what they want done. They know the power in serving others.

“If I, your Lord and teacher, have washed your feet, you too must wash each other’s feet. I have given you an example: Just as I have done, you also must do.” (John 13:14-15, CEB) 


Honor Your Sheroes and Heroes

How to Leave a Legacy of Valuable Lessons

Can you still hear the advice and encouragement in your heart from the sheroes and heroes who have shaped your life? Giving them credit for their contributions to your accomplishments is a way to express humble gratitude. Here are 3 ways (among many) you can honor the memory of those who came before you: 

1. Mention the person’s name from which you learned a valuable lesson.

2. Make them proud by striving for excellence in all things.

3. Share your best ideas with others, knowing there’s always more where that came from.


Advise the Potential

How to See the Future in Others

Her whole story is often overlooked. Mary Magdalene is first introduced to us as a suffering woman healed by Jesus (Luke 8). The last time we see her in scripture, Jesus has commissioned her to be the first person in history to share the Resurrection News (John 20). What a transformation! By advising her potential, Jesus teaches us how to see the future:

1. Trust the working of the Holy Spirit in others’ lives.

2. Involve others in your projects/ministry by using their unique skills/gifts.

3. Entrust others with life-giving information to share with others.


Befriend the Younger Generation

How to Ensure Your Legacy

Investing in the younger generation is the best assurance you can have that the good work you’ve started will continue. Here are three ways to ensure your legacy intentionally by befriending the younger generation already eager to make a difference:

1. Spend quality time with someone much younger. Listen!  

2. Ask them to teach/advise you about something to earn the opportunity to teach/advise them.

3. Involve them in your work/ministry and show them your methods for success.

Jesus demonstrated his methods to a few women and men followers–and that strategy still works!


Invite Constructive Criticism:

How to Develop Humility

Have you ever known a leader who never faced criticism? Leaders who invite constructive criticism from their followers, and then receive it graciously and act on it productively are leaders with a growing, appreciative following. Develop your humility by:

1. Asking for anonymous feedback so people can be honest.

2. Listening to the feedback with an open mind, considering their experience that prompted the opinion.

3. Stopping, breathing, and praying for wisdom before responding to criticism.

Criticism may not always be constructive, yet great leaders choose to be instructed by the well-spoken word.


Train Your Successors

How to Leave Your Mark

How do you want your leadership to be remembered? Answering that is a good exercise. Preparing for that is a sacred duty. Jesus said expectantly, “The one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these, because I am going to the Father” (John 14:12 NRSV). Jesus prepared them for the day he would be gone. We can do likewise by:

1. Distilling our successful methods into reproducible steps and processes

2. Delegating responsibilities to others

3. Departing with confidence in them


Serve Others Out of Love

How to Amaze Your Audience

Great leaders know how to love those with whom they work. Whether you work/serve in the secular world or in a Christian environment, the way you treat others reveals your true colors.

The crowds were amazed at Jesus’ teaching because he taught with authority, not as their teachers of the law (Matt. 7:28-29). His teaching authority was based in his love for the people. He demonstrated that love by giving his life for us. When you bring love into your workplace/group by selflessly serving others, you will amaze your audience.

Laura Savage-Rains--coach, speaker, writer--is the founder and author of WomensMinistryCoach.com who is using her 30+ years of ministry and leadership experience to teach women how to lead with passion. She is a native Texan who has also lived in foreign places such as Alabama and Romania. She makes her home in Lakeway, Texas, with her husband, Mark. She loves to write, speak, and teach the Bible. She is also a women's ministry team member, choir member, stepmom, and Grammy to 3 little girls. She loves dark chocolate with caramel, "The Sound of Music" movie, and Barbra Streisand's music.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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2 thoughts on “12 Leader Habits that Can Change the World

  1. Laura, the two posts that were most meaningful to me (at least at this time) were “Act with Discernment” and “Serve Others Out of Love.” I’m sure that when I look at this list again in the future, others will be my “special message.” Just like with scripture, these posts are new every time I read them, reflecting what is happening in my life at a particular time. Thanks so much for sharing them!

    • You’re more than welcome, Marilyn! Thanks for being such a faithful reader and commenter. I can certainly relate to how scripture gives us a fresh message with repeated readings of the same passage. My friend Esther Burroughs says, “The Bible is the only book that every time you read it, the Author shows up!” With the Holy Spirit as our Teacher, that is always true!