Faith is a delicate subject these days. There is so much debate being derived from the religious extremists’ assertions of faith.
I want to dial it down a bit. I want to get more basic. I want to talk with you about faith as an essential element of effective leadership.
Here is my argument.
We all exercise faith every day. We have faith that the chair we are about to sit upon will hold. We have faith our car will start. We have faith the air conditioning will work. We have faith the lights will turn on when we flip the switch.
If we work for a larger company, we have faith the paychecks will not bounce each payday. Faith tells us we can do certain things without fear of failure; crossing at the light, taking a bath in clean water, finding food at our grocery stores, etc.
You get the drift. Faith is not such a hard concept to embrace. Yet if we dare apply the concept of faith to a higher purpose, a more divine entity, we somehow fall off the edge. All of a sudden faith is too hot a topic to discuss much less apply in our daily lives.
Faith becomes a private matter; something that shouldn’t be discussed among mixed company, and certainly not at work.
Therefore, for the sake of my discussion here, I am willing to allow faith to be declared a personal thing. Yet, I want to stress the significance of having a strong base of faith from which a manager or leader can draw so that the regular challenges of the position can be handled effectively.
The faith you hold gives strength. Think back to the chair. My regular and routine use of my desk chair builds my faith. It was strong yesterday, it has been strong for weeks, perhaps months, so I conclude it will be strong now.
Imagine my surprise one day when I went into my office with several employees following behind. I stepped behind my desk and tried to sit myself down in that faithful chair. It broke. The cushion assembly snapped off right at the base stem. I went sprawling. The people had a good laugh at my expense. No real problem, just a failed mechanism in my chair. My faith was destroyed. I bought a new chair.
Faith in things can (and usually will) fail, because things fail.
Chairs get worn out and break. Cars won’t start, water wont run, electricity can be turned off.
However, a deep personal faith in a force or power greater than those things can never fail. With a deep faith, a business leader can handle far more difficulty.
Abraham Lincoln, in the darkest days of the Union, held strong to his faith that told him there would be a tomorrow. Tomorrow could be better than today. Despite all of the hatred and bitterness hurled at him, he held fast to fundamental beliefs that drove his purpose, kept his mind clear, and allowed him to be the leader he needed to be in those horrific times.
Thankfully, most of us who assume a management role at work have far fewer challenges to face. Yet we too need a strong faith from which we can lead. I encourage you to explore or renew the basis of faith that might be in your life right now.
If there is an absence of faith, perhaps you need to reach out to someone you know who can introduce you to a new source of faith.
[reminder]How has faith impacted your business life lately?[/reminder]