Consensus in Virtuous Leadership

Over the course of the last one hundred plus years of leadership study, the number of ways to finish the sentence “Leadership is…” is as numerous as the number of people that have attempted to finish it (Northouse, 2013). So, to assume there is a great deal of consensus in particular areas of leadership study is probably wishful thinking, primarily when it comes to the ethical standards necessary for leaders to possess. As in many other areas of life, effective success is the bedrock for consensus.

As a Christian leader, virtuous living should be the foundation leadership is built upon. Since society is demanding greater integrity and character among leaders (Northouse, 2013), Christian leaders should be poised to be effective agents of change due to the call to virtuous living Jesus has given his people. If Christian leaders will heed the call by Paul the Apostle to apply virtues such as the gifts of the Spirit (Gal. 5) diligently, then it would make a strong case that the ethics of a follower of Jesus should be the backdrop of all leadership.

Jesus called his people to a higher level of living, not for personal satisfaction of gain, but for the betterment of others as collective members of God’s Kingdom (Wright, 2010, p. 36). Virtues are conducive to the betterment of ‘me’ and ‘we’ providing opportunity for happiness, productivity, and harmony to individuals and society as a whole (McCullough and Snyder, 2000, p. 3). If Christian leaders lead from their personal virtuous lifestyle and prove to be effective, leaders outside of the Christian faith may embrace the virtues of a Christian lifestyle, and may possibly enter into a relationship with Jesus as a result. It may not lead to strong consensus, however it may have an eternal impact.


McCullough, M. E., & Snyder, C. R. (2000). Classical Sources of Human Strength: Revisiting an Old Home and Building a New One. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 19(1), 1–10.

Northouse, P. G. (2013). Leadership: theory and practice (6th ed). Thousand Oaks: SAGE.

Wright, N. T. (2012). After You Believe: Why Christian Character Matters. New York, NY: HarperOne.


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