One of the most strategic pastors around today, Bill Hybels, developed a hiring process that he called the 3 C’s: Character, Competency, and Chemistry. All three are needed to lead effectively, and I believe all three of these categories can be developed and enhanced in each of us.
Character can be, and is, developed through perseverance in trials and temptations, Romans 5:4 explains, “And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation.” Developing a person’s character is not ever a quick fix. Character development takes time, energy, and commitment.
Character development must be embraced and desired, instead of the typical flight or fight response we tend to have when going through trials and temptations. There is often a waiting involved in this process since endurance takes time—a lot of time—to develop strength of character.
Competency, on the other hand, is developed by intentionality in learning and implementing best practices in leadership or a particular skill set. “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth,” 2 Timothy 2:15. Often we place a higher value on competency, when character development is so much more important. It is relatively simple to teach competency, but it is incredibly difficult to teach character. In fact, it is character that gives us intentionality.
The third characteristic, chemistry, is developed by learning how to enhance your “soft skills.” Some people believe chemistry cannot be developed or learned. But the truth is, your interpersonal leadership skills can be honed and strengthened through effort and determination to improve. Self-awareness is critical in learning where you need to develop further and grow in your leadership skills. Often the chemistry skills needing to be developed fall into the following three categories:
Listening skills: “My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry,” James 1:19.
A light heart and cheerful attitude: “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones,” Proverbs 17:22.
Humility: “Humility and the fear of the LORD bring wealth and honor and life,” Proverbs 22:4.
How can you know which of these three areas needs the most attention? Pray and ask God, ask others for feedback, and listen to your instincts. Most of us are already aware of our deficiencies in these three areas. In fact, sometimes we are harder on ourselves than we need to be. God is the one at work in you, and he will bring it to pass. “For it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose,” Philippians 2:13.