2 Qualities in All Great Leaders

Great leaders are both intentional and intense. Great leaders bring focus and fury, precision and passion, wisdom and work ethic. With wisdom and discipline, they identify what matters most. And with passion, they continually pursue what matters most.

Intentionality coupled with intensity makes a leader very credible and very effective.

We see both intentionality and intensity in the biblical account when God first gave humanity the responsibility to lead. God told Adam and Eve to “be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth, and subdue it” (Genesis 1:28). After God created the creatures in the sea and in the sky, He told them to be fruitful and multiply (Genesis 1:22), but He did not tell them to subdue and lead. God reserved that command for the crowning work of His creation—humanity. God placed Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden with the instructions to “work it and watch over it” (Genesis 2:15).

God-given leadership, before sin tainted everything, was simply watching over and working. And still today, effective leadership requires both intentionality and intensity.

Watching over requires intentionality.

Leadership without intentionality results in chaos for the people on the team and for those being served. Leadership without intentionality wastes an incredible amount of energy and resources. Intentionality means having a clear understanding of your mission, your culture, and where you are headed. Great leaders fight the drift away from intentionality and toward a plethora of competing directions.

Working requires intensity.

The passion of the team will rarely rise above the passion of the leader. Leaders who work hard will likely lead teams that work hard. Leaders who struggle with apathy for the task and mission will likely lead apathetic teams.

Leaders must not choose between intentionality and intensity. Both are essential.