Trust is the real leverage in effective leadership.
Through him you have come to trust in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are set on God (1 Peter 1:21, NRSV).
We are inclined to live in silos, keeping our various roles as separate and distinct from one another as possible. So it’s not unusual for people to wonder what their faith has to do with their leadership.
The short answer is, everything.
Trust is the real leverage in effective leadership. When we trust people, we want to respond favorably to them. If they want us to follow them, we’re willing—even eager—to do it. We wonder: How can we be that kind of leader?
Studies show that we tend to trust others in direct proportion to how much we think they care about us. Conversely, if we sense that others are out only to get what they want for themselves, we reply in kind by looking out for ourselves. When leaders and followers all focus on their own interests, there’s no one to look after the organization’s mission. That’s why self-centered leaders struggle to succeed in the long-term.
Despite the obvious liabilities of being self-centered, it’s difficult for most of us to transcend a preoccupation with looking after ourselves. Often we are blinded by pride, focused on feeding an exaggerated image of ourselves. Just as often—perhaps even more so—we fear what will happen to us if we’re not vigilant about protecting ourselves. Either way we make it difficult for people to trust us and to follow us.
This is where our faith in, love for, and trust in God can play such a crucial role in how we relate to others. A relationship with the Father and Son in which we experience the security of being loved completely and unconditionally gives us the confidence to transcend self-centeredness and to focus instead on others and our common mission to serve the common good.
The more we can trust in the unconditional love of God, the more trustworthy we can be—and the more trust we can inspire in those we are graced to lead.
Pray today for the grace to trust God more. In fact, do it everyday. As the Lead Like Jesus movement teaches, daily prayer is a key habit to acquire.
Written by Owen Phelps