Saturday, February 24, 2007

Do you have Faith?

To be able to lead in any endeavor one must posses a number of qualities. You can gather with any school of thought you desire when it comes to leadership and you will most assuredly have many debates about the qualities of leaders. There will be valid points made on more topics than I can fill this page with. Indeed, there have been numerous books written on this topic. I dare say that you could fill libraries with books written on the topic of leadership. All of them make valid points. I very much enjoy studying the topic. In doing my studies I have come to a conclusion. One of the most vital elements of leadership is faith. I am not sure anyone can lead well without faith. So then, the question is, what is faith?

Merriam-Webster defines faith as follow: 1 a : allegiance to duty or a person : Loyalty b (1) : fidelity to one's promises (2) : sincerity of intentions 2 a (1) : belief and trust in and loyalty to God (2) : belief in the traditional doctrines of a religion b (1) : firm belief in something for which there is no proof (2) : complete trust 3 : something that is believed especially with strong conviction; especially : a system of religious beliefs

That is a great definition, but not what I was intending. I like the definition found at Hebrews 11:1 There it states "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. " Other versions read "The assured Expectation of things hoped for though not yet seen" That is the quality that I think leaders have to posses. They must have the assured expectation of things hoped for. All of the other qualities seem to be in support of this one quality. Or better yet, they are supported by this quality.

In my attempts with leadership I have never come up short on mission, vision, commitment, or any of the other important qualities. It has always been the faith or the assured expectation of reaching those goals. Especially when times seem the roughest. It is not the mission or vision that fails, it is the waning of faith. At least, that is how it is for me. I have to strengthen my faith by reminding myself that my faith has to support my sense of mission, my vision, my commitment. Faith has to be exercised with works or it becomes very weak. In fact, James 2:17 says that faith without works is dead. So, how far can leadership go without faith? How long will your faith hold up without supporting it with works? And when it is not going well, check to see where your faith is grounded.


Trevor Gay said...

Great discussion Rocky – faith is an interesting concept in leadership studies.

I think a good leader will always have faith that their goal is the right one. That can of course become ‘blind faith’ sometimes as thing change around them and they refuse to change with circumstances. There has to be some pragmatism about this and I generally admire leaders who display the ability to change their mind. There is nothing wrong with changing one’s mind as long as followers can understand why things have changed and that is primarily about good communication.

However out Christian faith can never change. God loves us whatever we do and faith in Him is the one constant faith that I have come across on my life.

Leaders who stick rigidly by their faith to one objective and not being prepared to consider alternatives may be missing a trick.

Rocky said...

Great comment Trevor,
I could not agree more. If a leader becomes rigid in his/her views and approaches that can spell disaster. I think we have all seen that before. That faith has to be grounded in the best interest of the endeavor. I think you are absolutely right in the notion that one cannot get married to a rigid set of rules or customs. A leader must have faith in their ability to navigate the turbulent times of change. Shackleton and Abraham Lincoln are great historical examples of this. Both faced extreme circumstances and had to change leadership style and direction many times. However, neither ever lost faith in the ultimate goal at any time.