According to the Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, to excel means to be superior to; to surpass in accomplishment or achievement; to be distinguishable by superiority; surpass others.
According to The Complete Christian Dictionary for Home and School it means to be outstanding; to do or be better than.
To be outstanding in our context means to be marked by eminence and distinction, and that is excellence. Eminence is a position of prominence or superiority.
To be excellent means to be unusually good; of very high quality, according to The Complete Christian Dictionary for Home and School. And according to the Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary excellent means superior; very good of its kind; eminently good; first class. So in summary will be talking about first class leadership.
One can have an excellent (first class) leadership irrespective of size, status or level of group or affairs. You do not have to be leader of a big or well-known organization to be able to have an efficient, effective and excellent leadership. One can start to effect excellent leadership even from the point you are at the moment.
Excellence in leadership has to do with a) one’s ability to command a following. b) one’s ability to bring the followers to the point where they ought to be or come to, and this is the most important of the two. Isaiah 46:10 says God knows the end from the beginning. That means He knows the end we should come to. You can say He has gone or been there, and comes to the present to take us to that expected end if we are in agreement with or let him. So should every leader if he should provide excellent leadership. He should be able to know the point the group should come to at a certain point in time and look for efficient and effective ways to bring all who are willing to that point. This is called visionary leadership.
Leadership is influence, which is the ability or power to get results from someone without using apparent force or authority, or to have him think and behave in certain way. And influence like almost every other thing is a tool and can be used for positive and negative ends.
You cannot really divorce true excellence in leadership from the purpose of God, which is positive. I use ‘true’ in this context to represent anything in agreement with God, His righteousness and purpose. Paul the apostle made a very profound statement. He said, “Follow my example as I follow the example of Christ.” – 1 Corinthians 11:1(NIV). This is because true leadership is by inspiration. Leadership generally is by inspiration. The one who is following made the decision to, whatever influenced that decision.
Leadership has a lot to do with what we do, but more with who we are or become. The Bible says that Daniel distinguished himself by his exceptional qualities. “It pleased Darius to appoint 120 satraps to rule throughout the kingdom, with three administrators over them, one of whom was Daniel. The satraps were made accountable to them so that the king might not suffer loss. Now Daniel so distinguished himself among the administrators and the satraps by his exceptional qualities that the king planned to set him over the whole kingdom. At this, the administrators and the satraps tried to find grounds for charges against Daniel in his conduct of government affairs, but they were unable to do so. They could find no corruption in him, because he was trustworthy and neither corrupt nor negligent.” – Daniel 6:1-4(NIV).
Matthew 18:1-4 says, ‘At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” He called a little child and had him stand among them. And he said: “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter kingdom of heaven. Therefore whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”’ – (NIV). Matthew 20:25-28 buttresses that fact, ‘Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave – just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”’ - (NIV).
Daniel distinguished himself, not by his strength, age (he was in his eighties then), experience, gender, family background, intellectual accomplishments, wealth, connection, or by the extra hours he worked or by being seen as busy or available, but by his exceptional qualities. Each of these ‘advantages’ can be brought in where needed for accomplishment of tasks given to him, but it was by his exceptional qualities that he distinguished himself, set himself apart for a greater leadership responsibility. The King James Version of the Holy Bible says he had an excellent spirit in him. It was this excellent spirit that manifested in the needed intellectual accomplishments, that created the experience, that encouraged the extra hours worked to achieve the necessary goals, that created the wealth, that got the needed connections and so forth. It was by his exceptional qualities that he distinguished himself. This is the easiest way to go about it because true leadership is by inspiration – be what you want the people to become and do what you want them to do. That is taking the lead.
The qualities which form your character determine your deeds; they determine how you respond to demand placed on you, for demand will be placed on you as a leader. The sponge brings out what is soaked up on its inside when squeezed. You will bring out what you are made of when pressured. It is your character traits that will show through your deeds when demand is placed on you. And the demand can be very great. It was the same situation the king and soldiers of Israel found themselves in, and David reacted differently and killed Goliath because he was a man courage and faith in his God (1Samuel 17).
Though someone can claim the science of leadership, leadership is an art. It is a skill, something you do. Your actions and reactions depend on the current situation or challenge and the person you are or have become.
So if you must have excellence in your leadership you must begin to build yourself to be a person of excellence. This is how excellence will manifest in whatever you do, including your leadership.