Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Leadership and Faith

When you drive down a 2-lane road, do you think of it as an act of faith?

After all, what is faith? One definition of faith is "a set of strongly held beliefs." We gather many strongly held beliefs from our experiences over time. On that dark and winding 2-lane blacktop, we have different levels of faith (based on the speed at which we drive!) that the other drivers will stay on their side of the yellow lines. It's a simple example of faith in our daily lives. Secular and mundane, but it illustrates the point.

As a leader of others, creating strong beliefs in others about your ability to lead and your worthiness of the mantle of leadership can be a daunting task. There are so many aspects to every interaction with every one of your charges. Some people like to talk about "Situational Leadership" as a type of leadership. In my view, it is the only type of leadership!

Leaders must adapt to and be aware of all types of factors that could impact the faith that others have in them. Consistent behaviors, that is behaviors consistent with right principles, are the only way to gain the trust of those you lead. And it is very hard....because we're human.

That is also why not everyone is cut out to lead. Too many want the benefits of a leadership position, but are incapable or unwilling to do the hard work to set the right example every minute of every day in every interaction.

Remember, to lead you must always serve. If your first thought as a leader is not "how do I serve these people?," then you're not ready to lead. Find something easier to do or learn how to serve.

If you don't, you will never instill faith, a strong belief, in your leadership.

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