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Faith Is One of Leadership’s Most Important Aspects
Faith is what powers leadership. Unless you plan to doom your organization by adopting authoritarian leadership, your top priority should be to earn faith. You should also develop faith in your own abilities to bring about a better future.
“Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.” – Martin Luther King Jr.
Leadership is about trust and faith. This axiom is valid from many angles. From the perspective of the leader, faith affects several aspects of leadership. Leaders must earn the faith and trust of followers. Without trust, leadership devolves into an exercise in futility at best and authoritarianism at worst.
Faith and successful leadership are inextricably intertwined.
Leaders must also have faith in their abilities to lead. As I stated in my leadership coaching books and posts, leaders are the agents of change in their organizations. Embracing change and leaving the comfort zone requires faith. Leaders must have faith in their abilities to walk up those stairs even if they don’t see the end of the staircase. They have to trust followers and stakeholders in their leadership journeys.
From the perspective of followers, having faith in leaders’ abilities to guide them to success is paramount. Faith gives employees motivation and empowers them to assume responsibilities.
The Nature of Faith
Trust may be the hard currency of leadership, but faith is the promise that makes it all possible.
Faith permeates every aspect of our lives. Would you get in your car early in the morning and navigate the infernal traffic to go wherever you have to go without having faith in your vehicle and your ability to get from point A to point B?
In the context of leadership and leadership coaching, faith makes it possible to create visions and paths for reaching those visions. Leaders must believe in the purposes of their organizations and visions for their futures. They must also have faith in teams’ abilities to fulfill those purposes and visions.
Strong leaders inspire faith in followers. There’s no other way to secure the buy-in of the workforce. Employees who don’t believe in an organization’s vision will find it impossible to achieve alignment. They’ll fail to do their best and may even sabotage the efforts of others.
How do leaders earn the faith of their followers? From the perspective of the executive coaching professional, here’s a summary of the faith-earning process:
- Start slow and small.
- Achieve results.
- Prove your capabilities and dedication.
- Be consistent about your alignment with your organizational values.
- Earn confidence.
- Learn how to truly listen to people.
- Be empathic.
- Exercise critical thinking and think before you talk.
This is the gist of faith-based leadership success. Immature leaders may fall into the trap of charisma. They may think that being the smartest person in the room is important or that being loud and wealthy makes them influential, but none of these things matter.
Leadership has little to do with money. Some organizations may use material gains as a metric to gauge the effectiveness of leadership, but profits provide superficial snapshots of leadership success.
Real servant leadership is about making a difference. Even if it only impacts the lives of a handful of employees, real leadership leaves unmistakable marks.
Leadership is about making a difference.
Executive coaching understands there are no shortcuts to earning faith. Faith is a precious commodity because it’s difficult and time-consuming to earn, yet easy to squander.
Once you earn the faith of your followers, don’t turn into an ego-driven superstar. When you stop earning faith, you begin squandering the capital you’ve accumulated.
Only genuine servant leaders find it natural to retain the faith they’ve earned. Once you understand how faith drives leadership and how it works in human relationships, you will find it easier to earn and hold. Business coaching can help you understand why faith is one of leadership’s most important aspects.