Last Wednesday evening Gary Neville was working as a football pundit for ITV during the England v Denmark semi-final. Neville played 400 matches for Manchester United at right-back and 85 times for England.  He is one of the shrewdest and most eloquent football pundits.  During the celebrations after England’s victory Neville dismantled any attempt by this government to cash in on the success of the England football team. Neville said: “The standard of leaders in this country over the last couple of years has been poor. Looking at Gareth Southgate, he’s everything a leader should be – he’s respectful, humble, tells the truth, and genuine.”

Neville’s brave and timely comments inspired me to think about leadership.

Here’s a list of people that I think have been or are brilliant leaders:

Jesus of Nazareth,

Alfred the Great,

Millicent Fawcett, (Suffragist leader & feminist who campaigned for women’s suffrage through non-violence).

Franklin D. Roosevelt,


Martin Niemoller & Dietrich Bonhoeffer, (Leaders of the Confessing Church in Nazi- Germany).

Don Robbins, (Vicar of St George’s, Leeds who founded St George’s Crypt in 1930).

Martin Luther King,



Jim Wallis, (Radical evangelical theologian, writer, political activist and leader of Sojourners Community in Washington D.C.).

Gareth Southgate, (England football manager).

Caroline Lucas (The UK’s only Green Party MP).

Jacinda Ardern (Labour Prime Minister of New Zealand since 2017. [Without doubt the world’s best Prime Minister/President of the last four or five years]).

Who do you rate as good leaders?

Here are some qualities that I think are vital for good leadership:

Integrity, truth-telling, compassion, competence, kindness, vision, empathy,

inclusivity, hard-working, being cooperative, being willing to listen to others.

(The first three are essential, the next five are very necessary.)

What qualities/values do you think are essential for good leadership?

What does Jesus say about leadership?

MARK 10: 35-45.

35 Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to him. “Teacher,” they said, “we want you to do for us whatever we ask.”

36 “What do you want me to do for you?” he asked.

37 They replied, “Let one of us sit at your right and the other at your left in your glory.”

38 “You don’t know what you are asking,” Jesus said. “Can you drink the cup I drink or be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with?”

39 “We can,” they answered.

Jesus said to them, “You will drink the cup I drink and be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with, 40 but to sit at my right or left is not for me to grant. These places belong to those for whom they have been prepared.”

41 When the ten heard about this, they became indignant with James and John. 42 Jesus called them together and said, “You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. 43 Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, 44 and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. 45 For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

It seems to me that Jesus’ leadership involved:

1 Always speaking the truth

2 His motivation was always love and compassion.

3 Jesus always acted as a servant.

4 Jesus encouraged people to grasp a vision of the Kingdom that was about equality and inclusivity.

5 Jesus always treated women as equals.

6 Jesus frequently offered a challenge.

7 He valued the outcast, the marginalised and the poor.

8 Jesus vision always included action, action that would make the world more just.

9 Jesus leadership required great courage and fortitude.