By Vickie Kopf, Vice President of Kopf Logistics Group
There are four elements of leadership I view as important in leading our Kopf Logistics Group team: courage, character, competence, and conversation. I call these the four “C’s” of leadership.
First, leadership takes courage. I like the story of Deborah and her courage and wisdom in the book of Judges in the Bible. God gifted and used her in many different ways to help her people, the people of Israel. Deborah loved God, her people, and her country, and she stood firm in her convictions. She was a woman of exceptional achievements!
She had excellent speaking abilities and a knack to motivate and encourage people to get closer to God, instilling in them the confidence to trust God and believe that He would act on their behalf. In addition, Deborah trusted in God’s Word even if the circumstances around her were not going well. She honored God in all of her relationships. Deborah’s story encourages me very much and I can only strive to lead even a little bit like her.
Second, leadership requires character. Having a good reputation is important, but our character defines who we are by how we respond to the situations and circumstances of life. It shows us how we deal with things and how we deal with others. When considering my own character, these questions come to mind:
- How do I treat those around me?
- Do I love them or retaliate against them?
- Am I a blessing to others or a stumbling block?
Character is something that should be held tightly on the inside, but others will see on the outside. My daily prayer is that God would build distinctive qualities within me that will help determine my positive response to situations regardless of my circumstance.
Third, leadership must include competence. Competence is the quality of being able to perform an allotted function and the ability to do something well. These are dictionary definitions of competence. They all involve a certain amount of knowledge and skill. However, I think competence should also come with a certain amount of wisdom as well.
You see, knowledge and wisdom are very different things. Knowledge is information gathered through experience or reasoning. Wisdom, on the other hand, is the ability to discern or judge what is true, right, and lasting. How we use the knowledge we have been given and how we apply it to our lives is wisdom in action.
To demonstrate this, I like to use the following example that I recently heard from one of my mentors. Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit, and wisdom is knowing not to put a tomato in a fruit salad. So, here is my prayer: “Lord, please help me to never put a tomato in my fruit salad!”
Lastly, leadership involves open conversation. Conversation is so important in the workplace and also in leadership. It connects, aligns, and makes us accountable to ourselves and others. It gives everyone a voice and can get us moving in the same direction. During conversation, we can learn and discover things about ourselves and others. I like to listen and then ask questions including:
- What happened?
- What are you learning from that experience?
- How can you take that to heart?
Open-ended questions create space for personal discovery and can help address the motives and roots of behavior. As a leader, its power should not be underestimated.
Final Thoughts on Leadership
While I am not an expert, I believe combining the four elements of courage, character, competence, and conversation yields effective leadership. I am humbled to lead such an incredible team at Kopf Logistics Group.
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