Genuine Leadership is Always Spiritual Leadership
This post is part of our Sunday Series titled “Articles of Faith.”
We investigate leadership lessons from the Bible.
See the whole series here. Published only on Sundays.
On Motivation and Values
A leader today is motivated by inner values in which he or she has faith. Generally, these values are the result of a profound personal experience—what we can call a conversion.
I find the word “leadership” is overused today and often for mediocre people who have neither the vision nor the courage to do what needs to be done.Many like to see leadership as a search for excellence, but let’s face it, we have mediocrity everywhere.
I only consider genuine leadership to be spiritual leadership, an approach to life that is based on inner values of mind, heart, and spirit.
So, a leader is a person of faith, they have faith in these values or this way of life. A person could have faith in a religious tradition but also, and nowadays with so much failure in organized religion, more so in basic good human values that can guide us in all we do.
The Heart of Leadership
The heart of leadership includes a changed approach to life
Anyone who wants to be involved in leadership today must be ready to approach the vocation in a radically different way than has been done in the past.
The heart of leadership is:
- Not discovered in new skills (although these will be needed)
- Nor in a new paradigm of dealing with others (although this will result)
- Nor in the acquisition of new techniques of collaboration, team building, and consensus discernment (although all these will all be required)
Rather the heart of leadership is a changed attitude towards others, a conversion, and a new way of looking at the world.
Leadership is not achieved by “adding on” to our administrative know-how. Rather it is achieved by journeying inward and discovering values in one’s own heart.
The only acceptable leadership today is spiritual leadership, and good leaders have faith in these inner values.
On Faith and Belief
“Give an account of the hope within you.”
Faith should not be confused with belief; the former is an inner motivating force that remains with us in all we do, the latter is an articulation of faith and changes over time. However, as leaders we have to articulate our faith otherwise it remains inside us with no impact on others.
Our articulation of faith is adapted to language, culture, and local values.
When these change, so does our articulation of those inner values that motivate our life otherwise they lose relevance.
The New Testament says “always be ready to give an account of the hope within you” (1 Peter 3:15).
This is precisely what leadership is—articulating in contemporary society those perennial values which form the basis of our committed lives.
On Theology and Life
Theology creates interruptions in life
Theology mediates between faith and culture; it helps us present our values in changing situations. It is not simply “God talk” but it is a form of faithfulness in conversation with contemporary life and values. All faith is that deep unknown experience that gives rise to talk about religion in contemporary life.
Many individuals are so hung up on the unexplained faith that their lives become irrelevant. Others are so hung up on the changing and relative aspects of modern life that they lose the rooted values of faith.
Theology dialogues between the two and makes inner values relevant to changing times; it gives importance to what is deep in a leader’s heart and spirit and has no fear of modernity, knowing each end of the spectrum needs each other.
Doing theology means making sense out of life, making sense out of relationships, and all this is done in light of those inner transforming values that motivate us in all we do.
So, theology is not just the work of theologians, it is what each one of us does every day in the dialogue between our values and our working responsibilities.
Some people say that the shortest definition of theology is that it is “an interruption.”
Leaders must interrupt daily events, the way we have always done things, or the way modern society expects us to do things, and give a different interpretation or explanation in light of the values of faith that a leader cherishes deep in his or her heart.
Great leaders are always interrupting us and making us think differently.
On Society and Technology
So, leaders approach all modern-day technological developments with a desire to bring the power of their convictions to bear on these changes in our contemporary life, to interrupt changing technological developments and dialogue with them in light of unchanging inner values.
Technology deals with attaining practical ends in contemporary life through industrial and computer arts, the skills of applied science, and contemporary engineering.
- It takes society to new levels, new ways of living, new forms of community and social life.
- It leads to new structures in organizations, new styles of working, new support systems, and new working conditions.
However, technology can enhance or diminish human interaction, creativity, and consciousness. It has given rise to extraordinary growth and wonderful creative crises for humanity. “Crisis” is a Greek work meaning judgment, and sure enough technology calls forth from leaders new judgments, new interruptions, new dialogues between faith and culture.
Leaders reinterpret inner values for changing society
As we welcome and at the same time confront contemporary technological developments we must continually interrupt these developments, bring faith values to bear on the changes so that there is no crisis of spirit, no erosion of values, no loss of spiritual energy, no losing touch with our inner selves.
Leadership uses theology to reinterpret values to changing society and technology to enhance their application.
So, as a leader, do you know your true core values? Do you know the values of the people you lead, those of your department, and those of your overall organization? Are you ready to speak your faith? Are you ready to interrupt? Are you properly using today’s technology in conjunction with your leadership to affect the kind of change that has lasting meaning? I would love to hear your thoughts!
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- Articles of Faith: 10 Key Attributes of a Spiritual Leader (linked2leadership.com)
- Article of Faith: 10 Core Values of Spiritual Leadership (linked2leadership.com)
- Articles of Faith: Intentionally Unintentional (linked2leadership.com)