What Does Faith Have to Do with Leadership


Trust is the real leverage in effective leadership. When we trust people, we want to respond favorably to them.

We are all inclined to live in silos—keeping various roles and aspects of our lives 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 request a favor, we try our hardest to fulfill it. If they want us to follow them, we’re willing—even eager—to do it.

Studies show that we tend to trust another in direct proportion to how much we think they care about us and are putting our long-term interests first and foremost in our relationship. Conversely, if we sense that someone is out only to get what they want for themselves, we don’t trust them and focus on looking after our own interests. With everyone focused on their own interests, no one looks after the organization’s mission—which explains why self-centered leaders struggle to succeed in the long-term.

Despite the obvious benefits, it’s difficult to transcend a preoccupation with looking after ourselves first. Often we are blinded by pride, focused on feeding an exaggerated image of ourselves. Just as often, we are fearful of what will happen to us if we are not vigilant about protecting ourselves. Either way we make it difficult for people to trust us and to follow us.

This is where trust in God’s unconditional love plays such a crucial role in how we relate to others. When we experience the security of being loved completely and unconditionally by our Creator, we’re freed to rise above self-centeredness and to focus instead on the needs of our neighbors.

That’s when we inspire commitment to a common mission, a common vision, common goals and a concern to serve the common good.

That’s why we encourage people to foster good habits that enhance their relationship with God. In their book Lead Like Jesus, Ken Blanchard and Phil Hodges suggest several habits to help us grow closer to God and to become a more effective leader: Why not pick one and make a special effort to practice that habit every day for a month.

That will go a long way toward making you a better leader because constant improvement extended over the long-term achieves incredible results.

Written by Owen Phelps

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