Character Traits of a Leader

Scripture: Genesis 42-50

Learning Objectives:

  • Students will identify Joseph’s key character traits, and how those traits contributed to his leadership skills.
  • Students will use examples from the story to support their reasoning for assigning certain character traits to Joseph.
  • Students will review how Joseph’s gifts and talents were God-given and used to serve God’s plan.

Guiding Questions:

  • What key character traits contributed to Joseph’s good leadership skills?
  • How do we back up our opinion of a character with key examples from the story?
  • How do character traits effect how we serve God?

Materials: Life-size outline of a person cut out of bulletin board paper, markers

Procedure: Review the story of Joseph. Discuss the meaning of a character trait. Character traits describe a person. Give an example of traits of a common story character that students are familiar with. Ask students what traits they think a good leader should have. Then ask students if they thought that Joseph was a good leader in Egypt. Explain that character traits describe how we think and how our heart feels. We then show the traits through observable actions.

Show students a cut-out outline of a person. Students can then raise their hand and tell character traits that Joseph had. As each student gives a trait, ask the class to come up with an example from the story. Write the traits on his head and upper torso to represent that they originate in his mind and heart. Write the examples on his appendages to signify that is how he demonstrates his traits through action. You may want to color-code each trait with its example so that students visually see the correlations.

For example: A trait is that Joseph was “brave”. (Write this on his head/torso in blue). An example was that he did not become depressed when he was sold by his brothers or when he was in prison. (Write this on his arm in blue.)

Depending on your group, this is something that can be done in a whole group, small groups, or independently. If you do it in small groups or independently, monitor their progress to insure that they are grasping the concepts. Also have students present their results at the end of the session and discuss it as a whole group so that students can learn from each other’s insights.

Traits and examples you may want to highlight:
1. Brave: He did not get depressed or angry as a slave and prisoner
2. Trusted and Listened to God: He relied on Him to interpret dreams.
3. Humble: He respected Potiphar, the jailor, and Pharaoh
4. Wise: He did not let negative emotions rule his life.
5. Resourceful: He helped Egypt store grain during the years of plenty
6. Organized: He managed the storing and then distribution of grain and directed many workers
7. Generous: He gave food to other nations and gave gold to his brothers.
8. Forgiving/ Merciful: He did not deny food to his brothers and actually gave them gifts even though they had tried to harm him.

Take time to emphasize that good leaders do not just boss people around. Ask students what type of person they would want to follow. Tell them to be the type of leader that they would want to follow and not one that they would resent. Remind them that Joseph was humble and forgiving. The goal of a leader is to always serve others not just yourself. Good leaders always look to the greatest leader, God.

Additional Questions:

  • What leaders do you admire in your community? How do they show some of the same traits as Joseph?
  • How can you be a good leader and serve God?
  • How can someone show leadership without just bossing others around? Can a leader be humble?

Supplemental Activities:

  • Students can write a list of character traits that they have and journal about how they can use them to serve God.
  • Students can make a character diagram of another one of their favorite story characters.
  • Students can read about other important leaders in the Bible and use the traits from Joseph’s story to analyze whether the leader was good or bad.

Written by: Savannah Negas

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