There is at least one thing Mitt Romney and Barack Obama agree on: there is much work to be done to help our country regain the strength and stature we’ve enjoyed in the past. Our decision as citizens will rest upon our response to one question…“Which candidate do we believe can best accelerate the journey?”

As we go to the polls on Tuesday, I’m convinced we’re not voting on a skill set. Both the candidates have demonstrated adequate skills to lead. I believe an entirely different factor will determine the success of our next president – the strength of his HEART.

How do you ascertain the heart of a leader? It’s actually a difficult thing to do but not impossible. The last time I did a stress test, the EKG produced a report revealing the strength of my heart; I just needed someone to translate the strange lines on the page.

I’ve studied leaders for many years and believe there are signs present in a leader’s life that help us discern the strength of his heart. Perhaps these signs can help us as we decide who is better prepared for the challenge of leading our nation. (The same attributes may also prove helpful for any of us who feel called to lead.)

Hunger for Wisdom – Is this leader willing to grow, or too proud to recognize the need for growth? Really pursuing wisdom, or convinced that he already knows all the answers? I believe pride causes more leaders to fall than anything else. It’s like heart disease; if we don’t diagnose it early, it will take us out.

Expecting the Best – Is this leader optimistic or pessimistic? The most successful leaders believe the best about people and circumstances. They have an optimism that is founded in reality and fueled by the confidence that we can create a better tomorrow. Their optimism generates confidence, success and followship.

Accepting Responsibility – Does this leader blame others? The best leaders assume responsibility for their actions and the actions of those they lead. The psychologists call this an internal locus of control. Leaders who constantly blame others not only reveal their heart, but also limit their leadership effectiveness.

Responding with Courage – Is this leader courageous? Leaders go first – they don’t wait on others. Courage is a response to challenge. Where there is no challenge, there’s no need for leadership. Leaders also have the courage to stand alone. Leaders aren’t necessarily stronger or smarter; they do, however, demonstrate more courage.

Think Others First – Is this a serving leader or a self-serving leader? Is it his first instinct to serve or be served? It’s uncanny how transparent this is to those we lead. The best leaders constantly look for ways to leverage their power and influence for the good of others. Great leaders are servants first.

Which of the candidates has the strongest heart? That’s for the American people to decide. At the end of the day, I pray we’ll choose wisely. A leader without the requisite HEART is a dead leader walking.[GLS_Shield]

 

Author: Mark Miller

Mark is a business leader, author, communicator, photographer, husband, and father. He spends his time helping leaders grow.