Leadership: An Act of Faith

Leadership: An Act of Faith

5 Tenets of faith embraced by all effective and admirable leaders.


NO 1: Faith in the Cause

Even for-profit enterprises have a cause and it usually is not limited to making money. Profit is important (without it the enterprise ceases), but it is not the only reason organizations exist and certainly not the only reason why leaders lead. We believe in the utility and value of the product or service we offer. Indeed, if we don’t, we will not last long, and we certainly will not enjoy our work. Tenet No. 1 is faith in the cause. We believe in what we do, in whom and what we represent. (Hint: If you don’t, why do you stay at that company?)

NO 2: Faith in Yourself

Struggling with self-doubt is not all that unusual, but confident leaders inspire followers to follow, to participate enthusiastically and to make personal sacrifices for the sake of the cause. Further, there is a sense of self-confidence, faith in one’s ability to carry out the task successfully, to comprehensively meet expectations and to fulfill the position completely that contributes to a person’s sense of success. Armies cannot respond to an uncertain trumpet call.

NO 3: Faith in Others

The sooner you can learn to trust others, the happier everyone will be. No one is suggesting that a leader or manager abandon all devices of accountability. I am suggesting that you allow people to do their jobs. If you’re uncertain, build in accountability points that are independent of you. Schedule dates and times for reports. Look for natural and normal events that demand a check, like incremental development dates for a project. However, leaders of faith simply do not pester people. You have enough to do without trying to do what everyone else does, too. And if a person you’ve employed simply fails to meet the job requirements, there is someone out there who can. Find them.

NO 4: Faith in Proven Methods

When I turn the key in the ignition of my car, I expect the engine to start. The first person who started an internal combustion engine was not so certain. I can be certain because I have a history of trying certain things and know they will work. I accept them because they’ve worked.

NO 5: Faith in Tomorrow

John Wayne had a great way of looking at this. He said, “Tomorrow is the most important thing in life. Comes into us at midnight very clean. It’s perfect when it arrives and it puts itself in our hands. It hopes we’ve learned something from yesterday.”

Some are fearful of the future (lacking in faith) others are resentful of the past (lacking in forgiveness and forgetfulness). Great leaders are neither. They aren’t naïve; they learned yesterday’s lessons. But, they are optimistic because they’re ready to try out the lessons of yesterday on tomorrow’s challenges.

Leaders without faith seem to experience self-fulfilling prophecies. They can recount horror stories of how their faith let them down and how they had to respond negatively. I don’t even try to change their minds. Their belief is in unbelief. I chose to be a leader of faith. It’s a lot nicer place to live.