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3 essential elements of good leadership

3 essential elements of good leadership

September 12, 2023
Harry Chapman

I recently was going through some of my books and came across one written by John C. Maxwell, an expert on leadership. The book is titled “The 21 Indispensable Qualities of a Leader.”

A quote in the chapter on generosity caught my eye. It says: “Your candle does not lose its light when it lights another candle.” I really like that quote! 

As we look around, some of the wealthiest people in the world are usually generous givers. And, as Maxwell points out, generosity is a key attribute of a good leader. 

Also among the qualities he lists, Maxwell writes that we should consider money as a resource. There are lots of trains of thought on money: If you don’t make any, you’re considered a loser. If you make a lot and spend it, you’re considered a spendthrift. If you don’t care about making any, you’re considered unambitious. And if you die with a lot of money, we all know you can’t take it with you! 

No need to worry about all that. Maxwell says, simply, be generous and accomplish things of value. 

We need to develop a habit of giving. In his essay “The “Gospel of Wealth,” Andrew Carnegie wrote the life of a wealthy person should have two periods: a time of acquiring wealth and one of redistributing it. 

Another leadership point to consider is to develop a winning attitude. Maxwell says if you won’t carry the ball, you cannot be a good leader.  

One of college football’s great coaches was Grant Teaff from Baylor University. In his book “Winning – It’s How You Play the Game,” Teaff points out that we become what we think about. 

“You must start looking, acting and thinking like a winner” he says. You must believe in yourself. 

Additionally, the late psychologist William James wrote that the greatest discovery of his generation is that humans can alter their lives by altering their attitude of mind. Think like a winner! 

Finally, a good attribute of a great leader is servanthood. A good leader serves people. That person is not looking for glory but is willing to listen to people. Stephen R. Covey said the biggest communication problem is we do not listen to understand – rather, we listen to reply! 

As you go about your daily business, think about these three points, among others. 

  • Be generous.
  • Believe in yourself
  • Most of all, be a good listener. 

These will help you “make your mark.”


Harry Chapman

Harry provides more than 35 years’ experience in development and communications. Harry formerly served as director of special projects and major gifts at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee. Before that, he worked at WTVF-TV as a news anchor, reporter, documentary producer, entertainment reporter and host of the top-rated show Talk of the Town. After retiring from WTVF, Harry continued to host the program Words & Music, produced in partnership with the Nashville Songwriters Association International. Harry serves on the Board of Trust at The University of Georgia’s Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication. He also is a board member for Cure HHT International. He is a member and past president of the Rotary Club of Nashville, a member of the 1994 Class of Leadership Music and a Life Deacon at First Baptist Church, Nashville. Harry is the recipient of the Country Music Association’s Media Achievement Award; the Stephen Foster Award from the Nashville Songwriters Association International; the John Holliman Jr. Award for Lifetime Achievement in Mass Media from UGA’s Grady College; and the Gospel Music Association’s WOW Partners Award for his support of Christian music media. Harry is a graduate of The University of Georgia. Harry’s favorite quote: “Whatever your are, Be a good one!” – Abraham Lincoln