Biblical Masculinity: What is a leader, anyway?

You cannot become what you cannot define.

What makes a great leader?

When I ask my clients this question, I get all kinds of answers. Unfortunately, most of them are overwhelming and unattainable.

They will say things like…

“I think a great leader is someone who is charismatic, strategic, empathetic, humble, strong, develops others, and communicates well.”

“I think a great leader, is someone who is decisive, hardworking, smart, great with people, disciplined, visionary, and galvanizing.”

“I think a great leader is someone who motivates people, focuses on results, sees the big picture, but is also willing to get into the details.”

These answers make sense, but there they are unhelpful. These answers don’t describe a human being. They describe a superhero. When I ask my clients if they’ve ever met or worked for the leader they just described, they blankly stare at me.

So why do I get these answers? I believe it’s because most people don’t have a solid working definition of the word “leader.” They really don’t know what a leader is, anyway.

This lack of a definition is a big deal. How can you be a great leader, if you don't know how to define what a leader is in the first place?

It’s impossible to become what you can’t define.

In a moment, I’m going to share what I believe, is the greatest and most helpful definition of the word “leader.” My hope is this definition will do two things.

One, relieve pressure. Achieving superhero status is not necessary for great leadership. If you are carrying the burden, it’s time to set it down.

Two, inspire you to act. Clarity is the most inspiring force in the world. When you hear this definition, it will be so clear, you can’t help but act upon it.

If there was ever group of people who could use a little pressure relief and inspiration, it’s men. Scripture is clear men are to lead (Ephesians 5:23, 1 Timothy 3:2, 1 Corinthians 16:13).  But, again, how can you lead if you don’t have a solid definition?

So, what is a leader, anyway?

A leader is someone who chooses to take initiative for the benefit of others.

That’s it. It’s that simple.

Decide to lead, take initiative, act, and do all of this for the benefit of others, not yourself.

A leader is not a superhero. Not someone with a title. Not someone with a fancy degree. Not someone with a lot of money. Not someone who looks a certain way.

A leader is the person who looks around, sees what needs to be done, and acts. Initiative makes you a leader. Not a title.

Leadership is simple. Simple is hard. But you can do it.

Men, you don’t have to wait for someone to call you a leader before you start to lead. You can lead from anywhere in life. 

Great leaders don’t have superpowers. Great leaders wake up each day and ask, “What can I do to take initiative for the benefit of others?” Great leaders act.

Men, the world needs you. Go take initiative for the benefit of others today. Go lead.


Adam lives in Dallas, TX with his wife and two sons. Professionally, Adam is a leadership development consultant. He has also been the host of The BetterMan Podcast since 2020. You can connect with Adam at