By me kings reign and rulers decree justice. Proverbs 8:15 AMP
God holds all men accountable for their choices and actions. Those in leadership are held to an even higher standard. We should expect our leaders to demonstrate the following characteristics, and if they don’t, we should hold them accountable.
Leaders should be trustworthy
Moreover, you shall choose able men from all the people — God-fearing men of truth who hate unjust gain — and place them over thousands, hundreds, fifties, and tens, to be their rulers. Exodus 18:21 AMP
A leader should be trustworthy — honest, faithful, dependable and reliable. The people should be able to safely put their confidence in their leaders.
Furthermore, he must have a good reputation and be well thought of by those outside [the church], lest he become involved in slander and incur reproach and fall into the devil’s trap. 1 Timothy 3:7 AMP
A leader should have a good reputation inside and outside the church. He should personally submit himself to God’s word in every area of his life. He should avoid the very appearance of evil.
Leaders look out for the people’s best interests
And Moses said to the Lord, 16 Let the Lord, the God of the spirits of all flesh, set a man over the congregation 17 Who shall go out and come in before them, leading them out and bringing them in, that the congregation of the Lord may not be as sheep which have no shepherd. Numbers 27:15-17 AMP
As I live, says the Lord God, surely because My sheep became a prey, and My sheep became food for every beast of the field because there was no shepherd — neither did My shepherds search for My sheep, but the shepherds fed themselves and fed not My sheep. Ezekiel 34:8 AMP
A leader’s responsibility is to look out for the best interests of ALL the people. He should never think that the people are there merely to serve him and his interests, but he should give himself to serve the people and put their interests ahead of his own. Many leaders have become dictators out of selfish ambitions. A leader should not play favorites either. Some leaders take from some to give to others — this is not biblical and it is a system doomed to fail.
Leaders should represent God in their decisions
He appointed judges throughout all the fortified cities of Judah, city by city, 6 And said to the judges, Be careful what you do, for you judge not for man but for the Lord, and He is with you in the matter of judgment. 7 So now let the reverence and fear of the Lord be upon you; take heed what you do, for there is no injustice with the Lord our God, or partiality or taking of bribes. 2 Chronicles 19:5-7 AMP
Leaders should remember that they are accountable to God and they should govern humbly and in the fear of God, looking to Him and His word for wisdom and guidance.
Leaders should receive advice
Where no wise guidance is, the people fall, but in the multitude of counselors there is safety. Proverbs 11:14 AMP
An arrogant leader is a bad leader. A good leader has wise counselors and is not too proud to admit that they don’t know everything or that they were wrong about anything. A good leader is willing to change to be better.
Leaders must serve others
And Jesus called them to Him and said, You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men hold them in subjection [tyrannizing over them]. 26 Not so shall it be among you; but whoever wishes to be great among you must be your servant, 27 And whoever desires to be first among you must be your slave — 28 Just as the Son of Man came not to be waited on but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many [the price paid to set them free]. Matthew 20:25-28 AMP
A good leader serves the people and does what is good for them. A bad leader serves himself, by giving the people what they want, even if it’s not good for them. A dictator dominates the people and does only what is good for him.
Leaders should sacrifice for others
I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd risks and lays down His [own] life for the sheep. 12 But the hired servant (he who merely serves for wages) who is neither the shepherd nor the owner of the sheep, when he sees the wolf coming, deserts the flock and runs away. And the wolf chases and snatches them and scatters [the flock]. 13 Now the hireling flees because he merely serves for wages and is not himself concerned about the sheep [cares nothing for them]. John 10:11-13 AMP
Leadership requires many sacrifices and you should not seek a leadership position unless you have counted the cost. A bad leader will sacrifice the people and their interests to further his own.
Leaders should be obeyed
Let every person be loyally subject to the governing (civil) authorities. For there is no authority except from God [by His permission, His sanction], and those that exist do so by God’s appointment. 2 Therefore he who resists and sets himself up against the authorities resists what God has appointed and arranged [in divine order]. And those who resist will bring down judgment upon themselves [receiving the penalty due them]. 3 For civil authorities are not a terror to [people of] good conduct, but to [those of] bad behavior. Would you have no dread of him who is in authority? Then do what is right and you will receive his approval and commendation. 4 For he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, [you should dread him and] be afraid, for he does not bear and wear the sword for nothing. He is God’s servant to execute His wrath (punishment, vengeance) on the wrongdoer. Romans 13:1-4 AMP
God gives us leaders so that there can be order and peace in the nations. These leaders in turn must lead in a good and honorable way.
Leaders give an account to God for their actions
Obey your spiritual leaders and submit to them [continually recognizing their authority over you], for they are constantly keeping watch over your souls and guarding your spiritual welfare, as men who will have to render an account [of their trust]. [Do your part to] let them do this with gladness and not with sighing and groaning, for that would not be profitable to you [either]. Hebrews 13:17 AMP